Table 1

The preliminary set of outcomes that was presented to the stakeholders prior to the first discussion

Stage of work participation—interventions and study populations for which outcomes are relevant within the stageOutcome to be voted on during the Delphi
Stage 1: Initiating employment:
Interventions aiming to help unemployed people with distance to the job market due to a health problem get work
1. Skills for job procurement. Total work-related network, engagement in work seeking activities, job interview skills, work-related benefit of vocational training
2. Self-efficacy. Self-efficacy for job procurement, hope, optimism and self-efficacy for achieving vocational success, social/interpersonal self-efficacy
Stage 2: Having employment
Relevant for any intervention and any type of health problem. Any type of health condition may impair work participation at the most elemental level, having work
3. Employment. Having any type of employment including self-employment
4. Employment. Having met a predefined status of employment; part/full time, competitive work in a mainstream setting, performing the same tasks as non-disabled workers
5. Employment. Predefined type or amount of income
6. Employment. Duration of employment
7. Employment. Having lost employment
8. Work disability. Permanent and complete inability to engage in any work participation
9. Work disability. Permanent partial disability to engage in work participation
Stage 3: Increasing or maintaining productivity at work
Interventions expected to help workers who are not on sick leave to maintain or increase productivity at work despite a health problem
10. Work productivity loss (economic evaluation). Overall loss of productivity at work (in terms of quality or output at work) resulting from presenteeism or absenteeism regardless of cause. Typically used for economic evaluations
11. Presenteeism. Not being productive while at work due to health problems. Typically used to evaluate the effect of health interventions for individuals
12. Work ability. Current self-rated physical and mental work ability compared with lifetime best.
13. Work activity impairment. Experienced functional impairment of performing work activities due to a health problem
14. Perceptions affecting productivity. Possible constructs: beliefs in working capacity, motivation for work, vocational commitment, job coping, contentment with work, need for recovery
Stage 4: Return to employment and sick leave from work
Return to work:
Interventions expected to help people who are on sick leave return to work
Sick leave from work:
  1. Interventions including people at risk of (frequent) sick leave due to a health problem, for example, chronic conditions or recovery after an injury or procedure

  2. Interventions aiming to prevent overall sickness absence among all workers

15. Return to work—proportion of workers that return to work after being absent because of illness
16. Return to work—time to return to work or duration of sick leave after being absent because of illness
17. Sustainable return to work. Proportion of workers that return to work and remain at work for a specified amount of time
18. Sustainable return to work. Time to return to work in workers absent because of illness and who do not relapse within a specified amount of time
19. Return to work—the worker’s perceptions. Time it will take to return to work as perceived by the sick worker also described as self-efficacy for return to work, return to work expectations or intention to return to work
20. Sickness absence among all workers in an organisation/ group expressed as lost working days or lost sick days
21. Sick leave duration. Working days absent because of illness averaged over all workers
22. Sick leave frequency. No of episodes of sick leave per worker expressed as percentage
23. Sickness absence among absent workers in an organisation/group expressed as lost working days or lost sick days
24. Sick leave duration. Working days absent because of illness averaged over all workers
  • Item generation was based on the systematic review on how work participation outcomes are currently measured. Online supplemental file 3 contains the full overview with examples of how the outcomes could be measured.