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Exploring the Psychology Behind Return-to-Work

May 04, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • Lengthy disability leaves may have more to do with how an employee is feeling mentally vs. physically.
  • Both employers and employees should focus on nurturing the right “return to work” mindset.
  • The appropriate motivation may help a returning employee feel more satisfied and productive.


It’s no secret that disability costs can have a major impact on employers’ bottom lines--so it’s vital to safely return employees to work as soon as possible. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) productivity losses from missed work cost employers $225.8 billion, or $1,685 per employee, each year.1 Given this trend, employers are likely seeking innovative solutions and guidance to help them manage costs.

Prudential’s research discusses how coping with a disability involves more than physically adapting to an injury or illness that leaves employees unable to work. They also struggle with the psychological aspect of being disabled, and this can greatly impact their ability to return to work.

Reading this white paper will help you:

  • Understand the RTW thought process
  • Recommend best practices based on our research’s insights
  • Understand the employees’ mindset, as it relates to coping with a disability, to achieve more positive outcomes


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Workplace Health Promotion, 2016, https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/workplace-health.htm   Opens in a new window, retrieved 3/7/2019.


The Prudential Insurance Company of America (Prudential), Newark, NJ.

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