wellbeing workplace wellness

Study: ‘Whole-system approaches’ Improve Health, Wellbeing

We have previously noted that no two worksites are they same. As a result, a well-run workplace wellness program must integrate flexibility into its approach — customize solutions based on culture, individual needs, and more — to drive wellbeing.

In the study “Strategies for Worksite Health Interventions to Employees with Elevated Risk of Chronic Diseases,” the authors catalogue “common intervention and evaluation strategies used when implementing and assessing those interventions,” and offer recommendations for future practice.

Now a new study — “Whole-system approaches to improving the health and wellbeing of healthcare workers: A systematic review” — looks at one particular sector — healthcare workers — and “aims to identify whole-system healthy workplace interventions in healthcare settings that incorporate (combinations of) [various] recommendations and determine whether they improve staff health and wellbeing.”

The recommendations studied were based on a “systematic review commissioned by the United Kingdom’s (UK) Department of Health reviewed a large number of international healthy workplace interventions and recommended five whole-system changes to improve healthcare staff health and wellbeing: identification and response to local need, engagement of staff at all levels, and the involvement, visible leadership from, and up-skilling of, management and board-level staff.”

The authors reviewed 11 studies. Interestingly, few of them integrated all of the recommendations.

However, “all studies were deemed by their authors to be at least partly effective. Two studies reported statistically significant improvement in objectively measured physical health (BMI) and eight in subjective mental health. Six studies reported statistically significant positive changes in subjectively assessed health behaviours.”

The conclusion: Implementing a “whole-system approach” was beneficial for healthcare staff: This systematic review identified 11 studies which incorporate at least one of the Boorman recommendations and provides evidence that whole-system healthy workplace interventions can improve health and wellbeing and promote healthier behaviours in healthcare staff.”