Programmes directed at encouraging a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing can improve self-reported health, productivity and reduce absence

Evidence into action: For employers and occupational health/wellbeing service providers

  • Wellbeing does not sit within one programme. The day-to-day activities of workers and their interactions with colleagues and managers are all important for wellbeing – as is targeted support for those who might be struggling. However, many organisations do offer programmes to promote a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing - programmes concerned with taking more exercise, reducing alcohol consumption, better eating and other ‘healthy’ activities
  • There is generally consistent evidence that organisational health and wellbeing programmes have a positive influence on health and can reduce absence from work. Programmes can also include wellbeing related training and other steps to help those who are struggling or who might be struggling. However, some programmes work better than others.
  • What appears to matter is how the programme is implemented, factors that can influence how well a programme works include:
    • limiting deployment of resources and lack of fit with procedures and processes
    • management and worker commitment & motivation – a good culture for making changes to improve health and wellbeing

Exploring the Evidence: What Do Employers Do?

AstraZeneca’s programme is designed to improve physical and mental health, and includes a wide range of actitivies.

The programme focuses on quitting smoking, eLearning and face‐to‐face stress management training, healthy eating, participation in the Global Corporate Challenge, home‐work balance initiatives and health assessments. The programme also includes support to those who are struggling through provision of an employee assistance programme and a structured rehabilitation/return to work programme involving occupational health and line managers. There is also an initiative centered on building design so work environments are safe and comfortable.

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Source: Employee Safety and Wellbeing; Healthy people=Healthy profits