Enhancing workplace wellbeing impact case study

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    A positive impact on workplace wellbeing

    The 2017 Stevenson-Farmer independent review into workplace mental health estimated that poor mental health costs the UK economy between £74 billion and £99 billion a year. This is a significant figure which rightly places workplace well-being high on the Government’s policy agenda.

    Based at the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Norwich Business School (NBS), the Workplace Wellbeing Research Group led by Prof Kevin Daniels has contributed significantly to public understanding of the subject, helping shape organisational well-being programmes for the NHS, Civil Service, and police forces across England and Wales. Their research has also influenced Government policy frameworks and internationally recognised industry standards.

    Impact on standards, guidance, and practice

    Is it possible to actually measure workplace wellbeing? Prof Daniels believes so and was the academic consultant for the What Works Centre for Wellbeing’s (WWCW) workplace assessment tool, a tool subsequently adopted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Department for Transport (DfT) and Ministry of Defence (MoD). The same wellbeing assessment tool was responsible for informing OFSTED’s research on teacher wellbeing.

    Prof Daniels is also a member of the British Standards Institute (BSI) committee that developed the latest guidance on managing occupational health for International Standard 45001, with the UEA team’s research informing the standard’s definition of wellbeing.

    Impact on the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

    Prof Daniels’ research into what works best to improve workplace wellbeing has impacted across all sectors, even helping shape the Department of Work and Pension’s (DWP) new reporting standards and guidance.

    "The work of the team has been influential on DWP recommendations for reporting standards for disability, mental health and wellbeing, and our guidance for Disability Confident Leaders scheme."

    - Dr Laura Adelman, Deputy Director of Analysis, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

    Impact on the National Health Service (NHS)

    It was also UEA research that informed the earlier Stevenson-Farmer independent review, a review whose recommendations for workplace mental health were accepted by the Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary for the Civil Service as an employer, with the NHS soon following suit.

    "Civil service organisations and the NHS have agreed to follow the recommendations of Stevensen-Farmer in respect of the management of workplace mental health."

    - Nancy Hey, Executive Director, What Works Centre for Wellbeing (WWCW)

    Impact on police forces across England and Wales

    In terms of evidence-based changes to organisational practices, Prof Daniels and the team of researchers at the Norwich Business School (NBS) helped effect a nationwide shift of attitudes and behaviour in police forces across England and Wales, evaluating elements of a new police wellbeing service, ‘Oscar Kilo’. Some of his research also informed decisions made by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) regarding their own wellbeing offering.

    An ongoing impact

    When people ask what we can do to enhance workplace wellbeing, it’s Prof Daniels and his team of researchers at Norwich Business School (NBS) who are finding the answers, helping develop new national policy frameworks, initiating changes in organisational practices, and influencing standards and professional practice across multiple bodies. As a direct result of this research, for example, a new web-enabled toolkit, calculator, and free online professional development course has been created, helping businesses evolve and thrive.