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Improving workplace wellbeing the focus of new BPS report

10 October 2017

Our forthcoming report examines issues around work, health, and disability and recommends ways that policy makers and employers can tackle poor employment practices using interventions that work with human behaviour, not against it.

Today is World Mental Health Day with a focus on workplace wellbeing as work can be a key part of our social identity and good for our physical and mental health. But work is not a universally positive experience.

Successive UK governments have attempted to address issues around work, health, and disability, but this has yet to achieve real traction. Our report ‘Psychology at Work’ – to be published in November 2017 – brings together evidence from across the discipline to demonstrate how policy makers can better tackle these interconnected challenges. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than a quarter of the European adult population has experienced at least one mental disorder in the past year, e.g. depression or anxiety. While these rates are relatively stable, the absences from the workplace because of mental illness have been increasing steadily over the past decades. WHO forecasts that the prevalence of depression, as one of the more prominent mental illnesses, will increase. Mental disorders have a significant impact not only on the individual but also on society, with significant economic consequences. 

The report offers recommendations in three key areas:

  • Creating a psychologically healthy workplace

  • Supporting neurodiverse people in the workplace

  • Supporting people into appropriate work

Dr Ashley Weinberg, co-author of the report said:

“Poorly designed jobs, work that is not well organised and challenging work environments can trigger or exacerbate mental health conditions. For some people with physical or mental health conditions or disabilities, a lack of the right support from employers can make finding and keeping a meaningful job difficult, while for many people who are unemployed, navigating the current welfare system to find work, claim benefits, or seek suitable support can be an extremely negative experience.

Our report offers solutions to many of these problems. It emphasises ways to make work more attractive, rather than make unemployment even more punitive. It details the evidence for improving employee mental physical and mental wellbeing that not only reduces sickness but also positively impacts on a company’s performance. We will work to influence policy makers, commissioners, practitioners and employers to apply relevant psychological theory, evidence and practice to design interventions that work with human behaviour, not against it.”

Psychology at work: Improving wellbeing and productivity in the workplace will be available in early November.

For further information or to receive a copy in November please contact [email protected]

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