Academic research is an important source of evidence and we have compiled a collection of scholarly papers which examine the available proof behind various well-being interventions or approaches offered.

Please use the tabs on the left to find your area of interest.
A tick or a cross indicates whether the authors find evidence that supports the type of initiative or not.

Employee Engagement

The Future of Engagement

University of Bath by Rob. B Briner (September 2015)

The author surmised that from an evidence-based practice perspective there was something odd going on! Whilst employee engagement proponents held strong views and offered definitive practical suggestions, these did not appear to be informed by a reasonable quantity of good quality relevant evidence.

Exercise Programmes at Work

Effectiveness and economic benefits of workplace health promotion and prevention: summary of the scientific evidence 2000 to 2006

Iga report 13e, Ina Sockoll, Ina Kramer, Wolfgang Bödeker (2009)

Research showed that work-related exercise programmes increased the physical activities of employees, prevented MSDs and decreased fatigue and exhaustion. These were especially effective when scientific behaviour change theory was incorporated and when sports facilities were provided.

Flexible working practices

Flexible working conditions and their effects on employee health and wellbeing

Cochrane Database of Systematic Studies, by Kerry Joyce et al (February 2010).

This review suggested that flexible working interventions which increased worker control and choice (such as self-scheduling or gradual/partial retirement) were likely to have a positive effect on health outcomes. In contrast, interventions that were motivated or dictated by organisational interests, such as fixed-term contract and involuntary part-time employment, found equivocal or negative health effects. Given the partial and methodologically limited evidence base these findings should be interpreted with caution.

Happiness and output

Relationship between job satisfaction and job performance

Journal of Occupational Health Psychology Vol. 12, No. 2, 93–104(2007) by Wright, Cropanzano & Bonett (2007).

In this paper, the evidence supported the incorporation of both employee personal well-being (PWB) and job satisfaction in the future consideration of the happy/productive worker thesis. Outcomes indicated that PWB moderated the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance, with job performance being highest when employees reported high scores in both PWB and job satisfaction.

Happiness and Productivity

University of Warwick, by Oswald, Proto and Sgroi (February 2014)

This research provided evidence that happiness made people more productive. In three different styles of experiment where randomly selected individuals were made happier or sadder, those in the former cohort were 12% more productive.


Mindfulness Goes to Work: Impact of an Online Workplace Intervention

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol 56, Issue 7, by Aikens et al (July 2014).

The results indicated that the online mindfulness intervention seemed to be both practical and effective in decreasing employee stress, while improving resilience, vigour, and work engagement, thereby enhancing overall employee well-being.

Musculoskeletal conditions

Musculoskeletal Disorders, Workforce Health and Productivity in the United States

The Work Foundation, by Summers et al (June 2015)

This paper reviewed musculoskeletal conditions (MSDs) in the context of employment. The authors demonstrated that MSDs were highly relevant in the context of work and the current economic and social implications of these conditions were sizeable and often underestimated.


Obesity and sickness absence

Occupational Medicine, CHAP study, by Harvey et al (August 2010)

This study investigated whether obesity was associated with short and long-term sickness absence and the mechanisms that underpinned any association. Findings indicated that obese employees took significantly more short and long-term sickness absence compared to workers of a healthy weight.

Physical environment

The impact of physical environment on employee commitment in call centres: The mediating role of employee well‐being

Team Performance Management: An International Journal, by McGuire et al (2009)

This study examined the effect of the physical environment on employee commitment. It explored how favourable working conditions affected an employee's sense of well‐being which in turn generated higher levels of employee commitment. Statistical analysis confirmed that employee well‐being mediated the relationship between physical environment and employee commitment. absence system in Great Britain

Resilience training

Workplace resilience interventions show some evidence of positive effects, particularly on mental health and well-being

Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, by Haracz and Roberts (8th February 2016).

This review examined existing eligible studies to determine the effects of workplace resilience interventions on: personal resilience outcomes, mental health and wellbeing outcomes, physical/biological outcomes, psycho-social outcomes and job performance outcomes. The review indicated that there was some evidence that resilience training for workers had beneficial effects, particularly on mental health and well-being outcomes such as stress, depression, anxiety and negative mood.

Stand-up desks

Workplace interventions for reducing sitting at work

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, by Shrestha et al (March 2016)

This review indicated that there was low quality evidence to prove that sit-stand desks, which decreased workplace sitting between thirty minutes to two hours per day, had beneficial effects on well-being in the short or medium term. There was no evidence regarding the effects in the long term.


Beacons of excellence in stress prevention

Research Report 133, Robertson Cooper Ltd and UMIST, Jordan J et al (2003)

The research indicated that a combination of individual and organisational approaches to workplace stress was the most effective. Important success factors included participation of employees in planning, implementation and evaluation of changes, and the role of management in supporting employees through effective communication.

Reducing work related psychological ill health and sickness absence: a systematic literature review

Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Michie S and Williams S (2003)

This review concluded that psychological ill-health was prevented or improved by interventions that combined personal stress management with organisational efforts to participation in decision-making and problem-solving, increased social support, and improved organisation communication.

Supervisor Training

Development of an evidence-based guideline for supervisor training in promoting mental health

Literature Review. Journal of Occupational Health, 53; 1-9, Tsutsumi A (2011)

This literature review concluded that supervisors who were provided with necessary skills and information on mental health, including relevant occupational stressors, had a favourable effect on workers' mental health, at least in the short term.

Wearable technology

The effect of wearable technology combined with a lifestyle intervention on long-term weight loss

JAMA, by Jakicic, Davis & Rogers et al (September 2016)

The study indicated that among young adults, the addition of a wearable technology device to a standard behavioural intervention resulted in less weight loss over 24 months. The findings suggested that devices that monitor and provide feedback on physical activity may not offer an advantage over standard behavioural weight loss approaches.