Wellbeing strategies in the workplace

This post looks at what companies could be doing through their wellbeing strategies and highlights approaches to tackling three key issues which cause problems at work….. 

  1. Our Chair, Dr Paul Litchfield recently spoke at the University of Manchester Alliance Business School‘s first Vital Topic lecture of 2016 on Building Mental Resilience.  He said

“we need to think beyond the health of individuals in the workplace to address wider wellbeing issues.  That means encouraging employers to organise work in a way that promotes the health and happiness of their people. Work that is fulfilling and has purpose drives good health for employees and profitability for companies – a real win/win.  Occupational health schemes that only focus on traditional activities like health surveillance and sickness absence management are failing the firms that pay for them and the employees they serve.  We need to become advocates for wellbeing in the workplace and influence the way organisations are managed – that’s tough but it’s what we need to do if we are to remain relevant in the decades to come.”

Here, Paul and Oliver Heath, founder of architectural practice Heath Design talk about what companies need to do:

We have  found that many different people in the UK, including managers, see job quality as integral to promoting wellbeing. That is secure and interesting jobs with decent pay and that provide opportunities for taking decisions, using skills and working with others.

 → Public dialogue and consultation findings summary 

We need to test different approaches….  and we’re happy to help

→ Evaluating wellbeing impact guidance  

→contact us  

Reposted from The University of Manchester Alliance Business School site

2. HSE report on Stress, mental health & musculoskeletal health at work 

picjumbo.com_HNCK1218Musculoskeletal, mental health and stress complaints are some of the most frequently reported health complaints in the population. These account for a large proportion of sickness absence, loss of productivity, care-seeking and health-related benefit claims.

Prof Kevin Daniels, lead investigator of our Work and Learning team has co-authored a new report from the Health and Safety Executive  which outlines an approach to managing musculoskeletal, mental health and stress complaints in the workplace.

The intention of the report is to help those with specialised interests in health at work to minimise the occurrence of such work-based common health problems and look to reduce avoidable sickness absence, healthcare use and long-term disability.

The report provides information on:

  • the importance of managing common health complaints
  • the features of good jobs that can protect against common health complaints
  • evidence-based guidance for occupational health and human resources specialists for developing processes to manage common health complaints.

→The full report from HSE 




Culture and sport public dialogues

Our public dialogues looked a the impact of drummingculture and sport on our wellbeing.

Here, participants from London share their thoughts in the excitement of culture and sport  

Culture and sport have an impact on our wellbeing by providing fun activities, enjoyment, friendship and a feeling of belonging.

Cultural and sporting activities are felt to be at the heart of quality of life, part of our way of life and core to social interactions. We learn, we take notice, we get active, we connect and we give. Most of all we develop our interests and with it our initiative and confidence.

  • We understand Culture  very broadly sport inspiredand beyond traditional arts and music
  • Spectating, participating and volunteering are all  equally valued.
  • Culture and sport help us through difficult times

→ See summary of the findings

→ Download full Culture and sport public dialogue report 

Public dialogues bring together members of the public and policy makers to discuss wellbeing and understand what matters to people.We spoke to a range of policy makers on:what works

  • why it’s important to talk about wellbeing
  • why are we talking about work and learning
  • about the value the centre can have across the UK
  • importance of dialogues with the public

→this week is National Museums and wellbeing week


What we are saying about Community Wellbeing counts

Our Public Dialogues looked in part at community
Community wellbeing

Here, the participants from Belfast reflect on discussing community wellbeing in a dialogue setting and the how the findings should be used:


Community wellbeing is about support, belonging, safety.

As members of the public we understand community wellbeing as the links between people living in an area with family, friends, school and work providing the backbone. Community resilience is a sense of pride and belonging to a place with positive interaction between people who help each other, are supportive, respectful and have friendly relationships.

Our community wellbeing includes:active communities

  • Basic needs for good quality of life
  • Our connections with others
  • Practical and emotional support especially when negotiating key life stages
  • Effective communication so we are heard, have a voice and stand for something
  • Feeling inspired, pride and part of something bigger

Public dialogues bring together members of the public and policy makers to discuss wellbeing and understand what matters to people.We spoke to a range of policy makers on:

  • why it’s important to talk about wellbeing
  • why are we talking about community,
  • about the value the centre can have across the UK
  • importance of dialogues with the public

→ Discover more about our Public Dialogues:

→ Findings summary

→Community Public Dialogue

→Technical Appendix

Summary Community Evidence Programme Voice of the User report– Short

→ Community Evidence team Voice of the User Detailed report – Long


Talking about wellbeing – Does your organisation have public dialogue expertise?

Wellbeing is about people and what matters to us.  The What Works Centre for Wellbeing are looking forward to continue the dialogue  and  hearing from the public about what wellbeing means to them and their ideas for how policies could be designed to support wellbeing.

Watch the video from the most recent public dialogues on wellbeing Sciencewise

A generous grant from BIS through the Sciencewise programme has made the project possible and we are now inviting bids from organisations with expertise in conducting public dialogues. During the spring and summer, we will be bringing together members of the public and policy makers to discuss what really matters to wellbeing and how we can take that into account across a range of policy areas.

Public dialogues Ewen-blog-DSCF3352-620x322Does your organisation have pubilc dialogue expertise?

Yes? Have a look at the Invitation to Tender and submit a bid by 9th of March (10:00 am).

If you’ve got an idea for a policy issue to include get in touch (whatworkswellbeingdevelopment@phe.gov.uk).

Follow the blog to hear more about the project.

Ageing Better

Last week we talked about out wellbeing for children and young people, this week we’re thinking about older people.

Yesterday saw the launch of the Centre for Ageing Better, a fellow What Works Centre who have received £50million from the Big Lottery Fund. The Centre’s primary aim will be to support a good quality of life in older age and promote the benefits of an ageing society by bridging the gap between research, evidence and practice.

Our pioneer case study  this week focuses on wellbeing for older people, showcasing the Age UK project Fit for Future based in Rotherham.

→ be one of our wellbeing pioneers


Videos from our launch events 29th October – Part 2 Bristol

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing was announced by our interim Chair Lord Gus O’Donnell on 29th October 2014 at twoKnowleWestMediaCentre events, in London and Bristol. Here are the video of the speakers from the Bristol part of the day with sessions from:

  • Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson
  • Lord Gus O’Donnell Chair of the What Works Centre’s Development Group
  • Ed Humpherson from UK Statistics Authority
  • Liz Zeidler from Happy City Bristol
  • Dr Shona Arora Centre Director of the Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Public Health England Centre
  • Q&A from the audience at Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol

Also published to coincide with the announcement of the What Works for Wellbeing Centre on 29th October was a new dataset from ONS combining the first three years of national personal wellbeing data to enable a more robust local level analysis and the ESRC specifications for the Centre’s evidence programme.

→what can I do?

Today we have also added a new pioneer case study to the site:

Our pioneers are short case studies of real projects, real places, real people and their evaluations.

→ be one of our pioneers

Welcome and Bristol context Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson 

Wellbeing – the new currency of impact Lord Gus O’Donnell

Measuring What Matters Ed Humpherson  

Happy City – What has worked in Bristol? Liz Zeidler 

Wellbeing and local public health Dr Shona Arora

Q&A with the speakers

Videos from our launch events 29th October 2014 – Part 1 London

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing was announced by our interim Chair Lord Gus O’Donnell on 29th October 2014 at two events, in London and Bristol.  Here are the video of the speakers from the London part of the day with sessions from:

  • Lord O’Donnell chair of the centre’s development group
  • BIS Minister Jo Swinson
  • BT’s Group Director Wellbeing Dr Paul Litchfield
  • Professor Kevin Fenton from Pubilc Health England
  • Government’s National What Works Advisor Dr David Halpern
  • Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council Professor Jane Elliot

Also published for the London part of the event on the 29th was BIS research into the drivers of workplace wellbeing and its links with business performance and the ESRC specifications for the Centre’s evidence programme.

What can I do?

Announcement of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing Lord Gus O’Donnell, Chair of development group for the Centre

Employee wellbeing and productivity  Jo Swinson, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs

Wellbeing – A company approach  Dr Paul Litchfield, Group Director Wellbeing, BT  

Wellbeing and public health  Prof Kevin Fenton, National Director Health and Wellbeing, Public Health England 

What works centres  Dr David Halpern, What Works National Advisor 

Getting impact from research Prof Jane Elliott, Chief Executive Economic Social Research Council