Health, work and wellbeing

We have helped employers and policy agencies make the workplace healthier and safer. We have evaluated the impact of numerous interventions and unpicked the processes and practices that contribute to employee wellbeing.

Our expertise in this area focuses on three main topics: 

Find out more about each work area below and please contact Sally Wilson to discuss working with us in this area.

Wellbeing in employment

Our work on health and wellbeing includes work for employers on absence management and the management of stress and other health conditions in the workplace. We also work for UK and international agencies interested in health and safety and the wellbeing of employees at work.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • the impact of health and safety regulations and communication campaigns;
  • the causes of workplace stress and how to handle mental health at work;
  • absence management and how to get people back to work quickly and effectively;
  • work-life balance and presenteeism; and
  • financial wellbeing and how employers can support this.

We have extensive knowledge of the growing evidence base in this area and can draw on this to help you understand the factors influencing your employees’ health and wellbeing. We can also use our evaluation expertise to help determine whether policies and practices to manage absence or improve safety are having the desired effect and if not, why not.

Contact: Sally Wilson

Our work in this area

Health, safety and wellbeing policy

We also work with a range of policy agencies to help them understand what role they can best play in supporting employers to manage the occupational health of their employees and support individuals with health conditions get into sustained employment.

Our work offers insights into:

  • what works when rolling out work and wellbeing initiatives and how to engage key stakeholders and agencies;
  • behavioural factors that drive best practice within organisations with respect to managing health, safety and wellbeing;
  • targeting health and wellbeing guidance for businesses within different sectors and of different sizes; and
  • policies which support the management of employees with chronic conditions and also those who care for someone with a health condition.

We also offer expertise on emerging issues such as the ageing workforce and the utility of building resilience in managing psychosocial workplace risks and fostering wellbeing.

Contact: Stephen Bevan

Our work in this area

Mental health and stress

We have conducted research on mental wellbeing and workplace stress in the UK and in Europe, and as a result we have considerable insight into the issues policymakers and employers face in addressing this topic and the sensitivity of approach this requires.

We have a thorough understanding of various aspects of good practice in this area, such as:

  • policies that support employees who may have, or have a history of, mental health issues and measures to combat stigma and discrimination;
  • management principles and practices that underpin provision of ‘good work’, ie work that fosters positive mental wellbeing among employees; and
  • application of tools that enable employers to conduct risk assessments for stress such as the HSE Management Standards and other online tools available in the EU.

We recognise that ‘soft’ skills are of key importance when dealing with mental health issues at work and we can provide advice on the communication skills and techniques which can help employers navigate potentially difficult conversations around this issue.

Contact: Sally Wilson

Our work in this area

IES experts

Sally Wilson

Stephen Bevan

Andrea Broughton

Jim Hillage

Sally Wilson
Senior Research Fellow

Stephen Bevan
Head of HR Research Development

Andrea Broughton
Principal Research Fellow

Jim Hillage
Principal Associate

Related projects

Understanding institutional provision for students with mental health problems/physical impairments
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)

Evidence reviews and economic analysis for NICE guidance on workplace health of older workers
National Institute for health and Care Excellence (NICE)

How effective is the IES/CIPD practical tool in helping to promote and guide effective employer actions in supporting their employees' financial wellbeing?
The Money Advice Service

Review of Successful OSH Benchmarking Initiatives
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA)