Friday, 27 July 2012

The future of health and wellbeing in the workplace

This paper is one of a series commissioned by Acas to address the future of workplace relations. It follows a publication in January 2011 The Future of Workplace Relations: An Acas View which addressed the wider terrain of employment relations including the drivers for change and the key future challenges. All papers in the series can be found at

This Acas Policy Discussion paper was written by Emma Donaldson Feilder, Chartered Occupational Psychologist, Affinity Health at Work and Sarah Podro, Acas Senior Policy Adviser. The views expressed are those of the authors and not the Acas Council.

Series editors Sarah Podro and Gill Dix. We welcome your comments and opinions. These should be sent to

Whilst physical health and safety in the workplace remains a paramount concern, more recently there has been a growing recognition of the importance of psychosocial issues, with a focus on both the psychological and social elements of work. An exploration of work and well-being touches on a vast array of employment relations issues from leadership to job design, organisational policy to workplace culture.

The authors review the broadening of the health at work agenda and the link to the concepts of good work and engagement.

The paper then goes on to highlight the future challenges to health and well-being such as the ageing workforce and economic austerity measures. It then turns to government policy in this area with a focus on the outcomes of the initiatives set in train by Dame Carol Black and her team in addressing absence and return to work strategies, and considers what future policy and workplace initiatives might best address well-being at work.

Full text (PDF 15pp)

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