MAKE A DIFFERENCE | workplace culture / mental health / wellbeing

The Value of Occupational Health to Workplace Wellbeing – December 2019


The purpose of this report is to examine how occupational health practitioners and providers can add value to workplace wellbeing initiatives by focusing on the knowledge, skills and competences required to introduce workplace health and wellbeing programmes.

We argue that wellbeing is a composite construct, comprising many elements in addition to a core of
subjective wellbeing. We note that the distinction between health and wellbeing is fuzzy. We propose that workplace health and wellbeing programmes require co-ordinated initiatives addressing: management capabilities, improving job quality, enhancing social relationships at work, workplace health promotion and providing support for workers coping with health conditions and/or life stresses.

To identify the areas of knowledge, skills and competences required, we draw on three sources of evidence: survey data collected by the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM); the available but limited scientific literature; and interviews with 11 expert informants. We identify four major areas of knowledge, skills and competences with more specific elements: these are summarised in the figure below.

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