Sustaining employee well-being in the 21st Century

  • Loretto, Wendy (Principal Investigator)
  • Redman, Tom (Co-Investigator (External))

Project Details


Seminar series:
Well-being is a topic of increasing interest to individuals, organisations and societies. Conceptually at its broadest level it
combines 'feeling good' with 'effective functioning'. This has prompted attention to a variety of facets, from macro level (e.g.
OECD's focus on economic indicators of well-being such as GDP and the current UK Government's creation of a 'national
well-being index') to concerns over individual physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being. This seminar series will
focus on a key aspect of well-being, that of well-being in the workplace, often termed employee well-being.
A plethora of research evidence indicates that poor well-being at work can lead to adverse physical and mental health
consequences for individuals and negative organisational outcomes such as increased sickness absence and reduced
productivity of workers. In particular, stress and mental health issues are now cited as the primary cause of long-term
absence from work. As such, this seminar series will focus predominantly on psychological well-being, aiming to add
insight and understanding into the ways employee mental health and well-being can be managed and sustained.
The increase in interest in employee well-being sits within the context of changes to working lives and experiences.
Globalisation, work intensification and increased job insecurity are all indicative of 21st century work. Furthermore, we are
changing how we work (i.e. the increased use of mobile technologies and less face to face interaction), where we work (an
increase in home or mobile working and an increase in the geographical mobility of workers), when we work (e.g. flexible
working regulations and work life balance issues) and who works. For example, there are now more female workers, more
international workers and more older workers in the UK. In addition, the economic downturn has also contributed to the
challenges in managing well-being at work, as employers, HR managers and occupational health professionals are being
expected to deliver more, in less time but with fewer resources.
Given the significance of the topic, a seminar series which highlights the importance of sustaining employee well-being is
justified and timely. The series aims to provide greater understanding of the nature of well-being, how well-being can be
measured and how it can be fostered. In doing so, awareness will be raised of ways in which employee well-being can be
managed in a holistic and sustainable way. The series will draw upon international, sector and life stage differences to
consider ways in which the needs of employees can be balanced with organisational performance. It will also bring together
non-academic stakeholders from diverse backgrounds with both early career and established academic stakeholders from
a range of disciplines, thereby offering opportunities to bridge the gap between academic research and organisational
practice, as well as facilitating research capacity building.
Eight of the one-day seminars will each focus on distinct, but inter-related, aspects of sustainability of employee well-being.
The themes will encompass: reconsidering the nature of well-being; reviewing current opportunities and challenges in
sustaining employee well-being; exploring mechanisms for sustaining well-being in the workplace; learning from
international approaches; revisiting ways in which well-being is measured and ways in which workplace interventions are
monitored and evaluated; and thinking about challenges associated with well-being extending across a longer working life.
The final seminar will take the form of a one day mini conference, the purpose of which will be to utilise more formally the
inter-relations between the previous seminar sessions by inviting delegates to reflect on the discussions from the previous
seminars and to work together to forge new partnerships to take the employee well-being agenda forward.
Effective start/end date1/11/1331/12/15


  • ESRC: £29,090.00


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