James Dunningham: Which wellbeing initiative has the biggest impact on the workforce?

There are a number of initiatives that can be implemented to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace. From exercise classes to promoting healthy eating, employers are finding that a healthy workforce is often a happy workforce.

However, we find that the initiative that has the biggest impact on workplace wellbeing is the training that line managers receive. The quality of line managers or supervisors and the training they receive will have a bigger long-term impact on the workforce, more so than just an exercise session here and there.

There are a number of facets to health and wellbeing that need to be considered, and education is a key topic. If the person in charge knows exactly what they are talking about, can have a constructive conversation with staff and understands the significance of health and wellbeing and everything that comes with it, then they are far more likely to instil a level of culture change within the workforce.

There are multiple factors to consider when working on the wellbeing of staff. Topics such as alcohol awareness, mental health and general absence management all come under that remit. The training a supervisor or line manager receives needs to cover these areas to ensure they can deal efficiently and effectively with all features of wellbeing.

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The Workplace Wellbeing Charter is a national accreditation scheme that was developed and piloted by Liverpool Public Health and Health@Work in 2010. The charter is designed to provide employers with ways of working that actively improve the health and wellbeing of organisations.

James Dunningham is operations director at the charity Health@Work