IGLOO: An integrated framework for sustainable return to work in workers with common mental disorders

Current research on return to work (RTW) for employees with common mental disorders suffers from two limitations. First, research mostly focuses on the influence of resources during the absence period ignoring the resources which may facilitate sustainable RTW, i.e. employees continuing to work and thrive at work post-return. Second, research tends to view the work and non-work domains separately and fails to consider the interaction of resources at the individual, group, leader and organisational levels, once back at work. In the present position paper, we present an integrated framework and a preliminary definition of sustainable RTW. Based on current occupational health psychology theory and existing research on RTW, we develop ten propositions for the resources in and outside work, which may promote sustainable RTW. In addition to the individual, group, leader, and organisational levels, we also argue for the importance of the overarching context, i.e. the societal context and the culture and legislation that may promote sustainable RTW. Our framework raises new questions that need to be addressed to enhance our understanding of how key stakeholders can support employees with common mental health disorders staying and thriving at work.