Indicators of a healthy workplace

Public Finance | June 2019 | Indicators of a healthy workplace

Managers have a vital role to play in promoting day-to-day health and wellbeing at work and supporting a cultural shift that will benefit both individuals and the organisation,  Alison Sweeting, of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy, highlights six indicators of a healthy workplace.

  1. Line managers are confident and trained in people skill
  2.  Employees feel valued and involved in the organisation
  3. Managers use appropriate health services to tackle absence and help people get back to work
  4. Managers promote an attendance culture by conducting return-to-work discussions
  5. Jobs are flexible and well designed
  6. Above all, be sure to promote the use of annual leave

Read the full article from Public Finance

 

 

JAMA: Trial finds workplace wellness program has no significant effects on clinical measures of health, health care spending and utilization, or employment outcomes

Song, Z., &  Baicker, K. | 2019| Effect of a Workplace Wellness Program on Employee Health and Economic OutcomesA Randomized Clinical Trial | JAMA |321| 15 | P.1491-1501. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.3307

A US study used a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate a multicomponent workplace wellness program resembling programs offered by US employers

Using data from 160 workplaces the research team 20 randomly selected treatment worksites which received a wellness program which 8 modules focused on nutrition, physical activity, stress reduction, and related topics implemented by registered dietitians; the 140 randomly selected as control worksites received no wellness program.

 

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Key Points

Question  What is the effect of a multicomponent workplace wellness program on health and economic outcomes?

Findings  In this cluster randomized trial involving 32 974 employees at a large US warehouse retail company, worksites with the wellness program had an 8.3-percentage point higher rate of employees who reported engaging in regular exercise and a 13.6-percentage point higher rate of employees who reported actively managing their weight, but there were no significant differences in other self-reported health and behaviors; clinical markers of health; health care spending or utilization; or absenteeism, tenure, or job performance after 18 months.

Meaning  Employees exposed to a workplace wellness program reported significantly greater rates of some positive health behaviors compared with those who were not exposed, but there were no significant effects on clinical measures of health, health care spending and utilization, or employment outcomes after 18 months

Question  What is the effect of a multicomponent workplace wellness program on health and economic outcomes?

Findings  In this cluster randomized trial involving 32 974 employees at a large US warehouse retail company, worksites with the wellness program had an 8.3-percentage point higher rate of employees who reported engaging in regular exercise and a 13.6-percentage point higher rate of employees who reported actively managing their weight, but there were no significant differences in other self-reported health and behaviors; clinical markers of health; health care spending or utilization; or absenteeism, tenure, or job performance after 18 months.

Meaning  Employees exposed to a workplace wellness program reported significantly greater rates of some positive health behaviors compared with those who were not exposed, but there were no significant effects on clinical measures of health, health care spending and utilization, or employment outcomes after 18 months

Abstract

Importance  Employers have increasingly invested in workplace wellness programs to improve employee health and decrease health care costs. However, there is little experimental evidence on the effects of these programs.

Objective  To evaluate a multicomponent workplace wellness program resembling programs offered by US employers.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This clustered randomized trial was implemented at 160 worksites from January 2015 through June 2016. Administrative claims and employment data were gathered continuously through June 30, 2016; data from surveys and biometrics were collected from July 1, 2016, through August 31, 2016.

Interventions  There were 20 randomly selected treatment worksites (4037 employees) and 140 randomly selected control worksites (28 937 employees, including 20 primary control worksites [4106 employees]). Control worksites received no wellness programming. The program comprised 8 modules focused on nutrition, physical activity, stress reduction, and related topics implemented by registered dietitians at the treatment worksites.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Four outcome domains were assessed. Self-reported health and behaviors via surveys (29 outcomes) and clinical measures of health via screenings (10 outcomes) were compared among 20 intervention and 20 primary control sites; health care spending and utilization (38 outcomes) and employment outcomes (3 outcomes) from administrative data were compared among 20 intervention and 140 control sites.

Results  Among 32 974 employees, the mean participation rate in surveys and screenings at intervention sites was 36.2% to 44.6% (n = 4037 employees) and at primary control sites was 34.4% to 43.0% (n = 4106 employees) (mean of 1.3 program modules completed). After 18 months, the rates for 2 self-reported outcomes were higher in the intervention group than in the control group: for engaging in regular exercise and for actively managing weight (69.2% vs 54.7%; adjusted difference, 13.6 percentage points; adjusted P = .02). The program had no significant effects on other prespecified outcomes: 27 self-reported health outcomes and behaviors (including self-reported health, sleep quality, and food choices), 10 clinical markers of health (including cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass index), 38 medical and pharmaceutical spending and utilization measures, and 3 employment outcomes (absenteeism, job tenure, and job performance).

Conclusions and Relevance  Among employees of a large US warehouse retail company, a workplace wellness program resulted in significantly greater rates of some positive self-reported health behaviors among those exposed compared with employees who were not exposed, but there were no significant differences in clinical measures of health, health care spending and utilization, and employment outcomes after 18 months. Although limited by incomplete data on some outcomes, these findings may temper expectations about the financial return on investment that wellness programs can deliver in the short term.

The article is available in full from JAMA 

In the news:

The Independent Workplace wellness schemes don’t improve productivity or cut absences, trial finds

Staff wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility at Islington iCope

NHS England | n.d | Staff wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility at Islington iCope

A case study from NHS England highlights how a team at Islington iCope considered and introduced measures to support their own wellbeing. To help patients improve their mental health, NHS staff also need to take care of their own wellbeing. A team of Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs) at Islington iCope therapies service was keen to think about how they could support their own wellbeing among the pressures and challenges of delivering Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. Starting with a Wellbeing Action Day, the PWP team worked with managers to bring about a number of meaningful changes (Source: NHS England).

Staff wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility at Islington iCope

The health care workforce in England

The health care workforce in England: make or break | The Health Foundation |  King’s Fund | Nuffield Trust 

This briefing highlights the scale of the NHS workforce challenges and the threat this poses to the delivery and quality of care. It sets out the reasons why the NHS long-term plan and a supporting workforce strategy must address the urgent and mounting challenges facing the health care workforce. 

The authors suggest that if the substantial staff shortages continue, they could lead to growing waiting lists, deteriorating care quality and the risk that some of the £20.5bn secured for NHS front-line services will go unspent: even if commissioners have the resources to commission additional activity, health care providers may not have the staff to deliver it.

The briefing will be followed in the coming weeks by a more in-depth report that explores five key levers available nationally and locally that could help ameliorate the workforce crisis affecting both health and social care.

Full briefing available at The King’s Fund

Related:  Staffing shortfall of almost 250,000 by 2030 is major risk to NHS long term plan | The Health Foundation

It’s okay to ask for help

NHS Employers | August 2018 | It’s okay to ask for HELP

NHS Employers have published  a case study from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which  successfully embedded its health, employee, learning and psychotherapy services (HELP) into its staff wellbeing programme to ensure more members of staff were getting the help they need and to reduce sickness absence.

help

Since BSUH implemented HELP, the service supports around 500 members of staff
every year with individual psychotherapy and counselling.
• 18 workshops and 28 incident debriefs have taken place each year.
• 44 staff members have benefited from specialist EMDR trauma therapy.
• By offering the services internally the trust is reaching more people for the
same cost.
• 98 per cent of staff said the sessions helped them to stay in work, or return to work sooner from sick leave. HELP also runs a placement programme for honorary psychotherapists from Brighton, Sussex and London universities.

This new approach to counselling and psychotherapy services for staff included sessions on trauma as well as  stress management workshops. Since its implementation the service has supported 500 members of staff, with 98 per cent of those who attended saying the service has meant they did not need to take time off work.  (Source: NHS Employers).

Read the full case study at NHS Employers 

NHS Health and Wellbeing Framework

NHS Employers | May 2018 | NHS Health and Wellbeing Framework
NHS England has worked with twelve NHS organisations to create a new Health and Wellbeing Framework and accompanying diagnostic tool to help NHS organisations plan and implement their own approach for improving staff health and wellbeing. This framework has been developed by NHS Employers, NHS England and NHS Improvement with support from partners across the NHS, voluntary sector and government to bring best practice, research and insights together in one accessible place for the first time for NHS organisations.

workforce health
Image source: nhsemployers.org

The Health and Wellbeing Framework in an interactive document that makes the case for staff health and wellbeing, sets out clear actionable steps for each of the 14 areas and includes guidance on how organisations can plan and deliver a staff health and wellbeing plan.

The framework and diagnostic tool have been designed to be used in a flexible way to meet the needs of your organisation. You can use these resources in total or in part to start, revise or re-launch a programme. The framework is divided into two sections, organisational enablers and health interventions.

(Source: NHS Employers)

Current approach to managing winter pressures has become unsustainable – NHS Providers

Pressures being experienced by front-line health and care services this winter “are a watershed moment for the NHS” | NHS Providers

In a letter to Jeremy Hunt, NHS Providers has outlined concerns over the pressures being experienced by frontline health and care services this winter. The letter warns that the government must accept that the service can no longer deliver what is required of it within current funding, and calls for urgent decisions on long-term funding for health and social care to be taken.

NHS Providers is also calling for a full review of how well the NHS handled this winter, looking at: adequacy of bed numbers and staffing levels; efficacy of the new national planning approach; adequacy, timing and allocation of extra winter funding; system resilience; process and impact of cancelled elective operations; and the role and availability of primary care and social care, and their involvement in winter planning.

NHS Providers said that despite the NHS planning for winter more thoroughly and extensively than before, this still hasn’t been sufficient as rising numbers of flu cases and more respiratory illness have placed ‘intolerable pressures’ on staff.

Read the full letter to health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt.

More from NHS providers here