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New HRB evidence review spotlights workplace health and wellbeing

The latest evidence review conducted by the Health Research Board (HRB) identifies key factors in improving overall wellbeing and health outcomes in the workplace.

Photograph of colleagues in an office setting

Job control, information flow and supervisor support are among the cultural drivers that mediate the impact of work interventions designed to enhance wellbeing, according to the review. The HRB is set to present its findings in full at a workplace seminar at the Department of Health on 23 May 2022.

This HRB evidence review follows on foot of a departmental review and an extensive public consultation run by the Institute of Public Health, both of which had identified a need for change in workplace culture. It was found that workers believed organisational culture to be one of the most important factors that could influence health and wellbeing in their jobs. 

In order to provide an evidence base for further measures to support wellbeing at work, the Department of Health requested the HRB to conduct a systematic review of all relevant studies investigating the effect of workplace culture on employee health and wellbeing.

The HRB evidence review takes a closer look at how such cultural factors mediate the impact of a range of workplace interventions designed to enhance wellbeing, including interventions targeting physical activity, leadership support, flexible working and emotional well-being. The review finds that the following ten key cultural drivers can influence the success of these interventions: 

  • job control
  • information flow
  • job demands
  • organisational support
  • work climate
  • work–family conflict
  • supervisor support
  • line managers’ attitudes and actions
  • justice of leadership
  • feedback

Positive changes in these cultural drivers can therefore lead to positive health outcomes in the workplace, and interventions aiming to improve health outcomes are most successful when these factors are taken into account. 

By identifying these cultural drivers that impact on wellbeing, the review will support and inform the action plan as the Department of Health in partnership with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and other stakeholders progress the implementation of the National Healthy Workplace Framework as part of the Healthy Ireland Initiative. 

Read the evidence review in full.