Benefits of working

Working, whether paid or unpaid, is good for our health and wellbeing. It contributes to our happiness, helps us to build confidence and self-esteem, and rewards us financially. Because of these benefits, it is important to return to work as soon as possible after an illness or injury.

Why work?

Being in work:

  • keeps us busy, challenges us and gives us the means to develop ourselves;
  • gives us a sense of pride, identity and personal achievement;
  • enables us to socialise, build contacts and find support;
  • provides us with money to support ourselves and explore our interests.

Health benefits of working

People in work tend to enjoy happier and healthier lives than those who are not in work.

Our physical and mental health is generally improved through work – we recover from sickness quicker and are at less risk of long term illness and incapacity.

Because of the health benefits, sick and disabled people are encouraged to return to, or remain in, work if their health condition permits it.

Health benefits of returning to work

Being out of work has a negative impact on your health and wellbeing. People who are unemployed:

  • have higher rates of physical and mental health problems;
  • take more medication and use more medical services;
  • have a shorter life expectancy.

Returning to work after a period of unemployment results in significant physical and mental health improvements, reversing the negative health effects of unemployment.

Evidence

In 2006, the Department for Work and Pensions published an independent review of the evidence supporting the relationship between work, health and wellbeing. This review sets out to answer the question ‘Is work good for your health and wellbeing?’

Read the ‘Is work good for your health and wellbeing’ report on GOV.UK.