Wellbeing at work: more than just free fruit

Wellbeing means physical, emotional and mental health, and there’s growing public awareness about the importance of this to individuals, organisations and society.  

But when an organisation responds to this and adopts workplace health and wellbeing initiatives, such as subsidised gym membership or free fruit, how is the impact of these policies being measured?

Last year, a Health and Wellbeing at Work report [pdf] by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that only one in six organisations evaluated the impact of their health and wellbeing initiatives. 

A recent British Safety Council (BSC) report used current literature on occupational health and wellbeing, with the findings used to recommend how to implement and sustain wellbeing policies across an organisation. Among the BSC's key findings and recommendations:

  • Workers' wellbeing is fundamentally linked to job quality. Popular health promotion initiatives can only be beneficial when the quality of the work itself takes precedence. Alongside a safe and healthy working environment, fair wages, relationships with managers and colleagues, job design, degree of responsibility and authority, workload, working hours and career development are vital components of workers’ wellbeing.
  • Employers should invest in workplace health and wellbeing to create better working lives, better work performance, reduced staff turnover and increased productivity, no matter the size or sector of the organisation.
  • The leadership of health and wellbeing must come from the highest, most senior management level.
  • Workers must be given the opportunity to participate fully in the creation and development of initiatives designed to improve their own health and wellbeing, beyond staff surveys.
  • All line managers must be appropriately trained in mental health awareness and the relevant support mechanisms.
  • Organisations should evaluate the impact and efficacy of their health and wellbeing interventions on a regular basis, to ensure they adapt and respond to the changing needs of their workers.

Find out more and download the report: British Safety Council: Not just free fruit: wellbeing at work

See also

Mental health is everyone’s business