18 Jan 2024

Working on wellbeing

Workplace wellbeing programmes that aim to boost mental health by offering interventions such as mindfulness and wellness apps may make no difference to staff. Researchers looked at individual-level interventions and found they didn’t improve the wellbeing of workers and could sometimes have a negative effect.

But what can make a positive difference are interventions such as providing more staffing resources, improving job design and giving employees more volunteering opportunities. The research, which involved data about 46,300 individuals from more than 230 organisations, was published in the Industrial Relations Journal.

Author William J Fleming, of the University of Oxford, said the findings “pose a challenge to the popularity and legitimacy of individual-level mental wellbeing interventions like mindfulness, resilience and stress management, relaxation classes and wellbeing apps. I find little evidence in support of any benefits from these interventions with even some small indication of harm.”

He added: “Future research ought to evaluate if individual‐level interventions are effective alongside organisational change, or whether improvements in working conditions are a superior alternative. A combination of approaches could benefit workers by, if implemented well, enhancing job resources whilst also mitigating job demands.”

Read the full article.

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