International Journal of Workplace Health Management

Published by Emerald
Online ISSN: 1753-8351
Publications
Article
The subject of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) is increasingly gaining the interest of policy makers and researchers in European countries given that the economic and social losses from work-related injuries and diseases are quite substantial. Under this light, this paper will present an overview of the Greek legislation framework regarding OSH issues, and the current status of empirical research on the subject in Greece. In addition, the paper identifies the knowledge gaps and methodological shortcomings of the existing literature in order to contribute towards future research in the OSH field in Greece.
 
Article
Instruments that measure the effect of health on productivity help to inform intervention programmes aimed at improving employees' presenteeism. The Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ) has been used extensively to measure presenteeism but has not been validated for use in the Catalan-speaking population. The aim of this study is to translate and preliminarily test the reliability and validity of a Catalan version of the WLQ (CWLQ). The WLQ was translated into Catalan using back-translation. The final version of the instrument was administered to 19 volunteer university employees in Barcelona. Feasibility (employee debriefing) and psychometric evaluation included internal consistency (Cronbach's α), four-day test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient; ICC), and concurrent validity (ICC) in comparison with the original English WLQ. Item analyses showed a high degree of internal consistency for the total score (α=0.80) and for the four scales of the CWLQ (subscale 1, r=0.82; subscale 2, r=0.80; subscale 3, r=0.81; subscale 4, r=0.78). The test-retest reliability was also acceptable for the total score (ICC=0.69) and subscale 1 (ICC=0.68), subscale 2 (ICC=0.68), subscale 3 (ICC=0.67) and subscale 4 (ICC=0.75). The total score of the CWLQ showed good concurrent validity (ICC=0.81). Preliminary results suggest that the CWLQ is a valid and reliable scale for the assessment of presenteeism in Catalan-speaking employees. Use of the questionnaire will help to inform Catalan companies and business on how to effectively target presenteeism through health promotion interventions.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to emanate from an enduring stream of research into individual performance and organisational productivity where happy employees are believed to perform better. Decades of research have been unable to establish a strong link between workplace happiness and performance. A variation on the enduring employee happiness-productivity debate is evolving the “happy-performing managers” proposition. Design/methodology/approach – An empirical investigation reports on the impact of two important aspects of job happiness – self-rated affective wellbeing and intrinsic job satisfaction – on superiors' ratings of managers' contextual and task performance. An ancillary methodological objective of the study is to establish the structure of managers' performance. Findings – A partial model of managers' affective wellbeing, intrinsic job satisfaction and performance contributed an understanding to how specific indicators of affective wellbeing and intrinsic job satisfaction predict certain dimensions of managers' performance. Practical implications – Changes in the workplace emphasises are needed to ensure managers can retain and improve their positive affective wellbeing by working smarter and faster, rather than harder and longer. Originality/value – A contribution of this paper is to provide qualified support for the “happy-performing managers” proposition by linking the conceptual bases relating to managers' affective wellbeing, intrinsic job satisfaction and to their performance. These findings progress the debate as to how work might be structured to improve managers' affective wellbeing and consequently their performance. Perhaps, it is timely to consider moving away from the negative forms of psychology and affirm managers' future by embracing the “happy-performing managers” proposition.
 
Article
Purpose - The workplace is an ideal setting to promote physical activity. The purpose of this study is to examine associations with physical activity at and around the workplace. Design/methodology/approach - Participants were recruited from a random sample of employed adults (n = 1, 107) in capital cities and major regional centres in Australia. Self-reported barriers and participation in physical activity at and around the workplace were assessed. A multivariable logistic regression model adjusting for age, sex, occupational status, and overall physical activity assessed the odds of being active in this setting. Findings - Of participants, 61 percent perceived being active in the workplace. Those who perceived their work colleagues and managers to be physically active, and those who indicated that their workplace provides facilities to support them being active had higher odds of being physically active at or around the workplace. Research limitations/implications - A poor response rate, physically active sample and cross-sectional analysis prevent inferences about the causality of the findings. Originality/value - The paper provides evidence of the potential for the multiple levels of influence on physical activity at and around the workplace.
 
Article
Purpose – Factors for successful workplace health promotion (WHP) are well described in the literature, but often sourced from evaluations of wellness programmes. Less well understood are the features of an organisation that contribute to employee health which are not part of a health promotion programme. The purpose of this paper is to inform policy on best practice principles and provide real life examples of health promotion in regional Victorian workplaces. Design/methodology/approach – Individual case studies were conducted on three organisations, each with a health and wellbeing programme in place. In total, 42 employers and employees participated in a face to face interview. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and the qualitative data were thematically coded. Findings – Employers and senior management had a greater focus on occupational health and safety than employees, who felt that mental/emotional health and happiness were the areas most benefited by a health promoting workplace. An organisational culture which supported the psychosocial needs of the employees emerged as a significant factor in employee's overall wellbeing. Respectful personal relationships, flexible work, supportive management and good communication were some of the key factors identified as creating a health promoting working environment. Practical implications – Currently in Australia, the main focus of WHP programmes is physical health. Government workplace health policy and funding must expand to include psychosocial factors. Employers will require assistance to understand the benefits to their business of creating environments which support employee's mental and emotional health. Originality/value – This study took a qualitative approach to an area dominated by quantitative biomedical programme evaluations. It revealed new information about what employees really feel is impacting their health at work.
 
Pecede-Proceed Model used to create the focus group moderator guide 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore truck drivers’ views toward diet, physical activity, and health care access to inform the development of a weight loss intervention. Design/methodology/approach – The authors conducted four focus groups via teleconference (one) or in person (three). Each focus group included eight to ten truck drivers. Sessions were digitally recorded and transcribed. The authors used thematic analysis of the participant responses to develop themes and subthemes. Findings – Truck drivers desired good health, however, many knowledge gaps were identified. Drivers were aware of some healthy foods, but lacked knowledge of appropriate energy intake and healthy weight. Drivers expressed many barriers to eating healthy food and engaging in physical activity on the road. Participants suggested strategies and resources to improve their diet and increase physical activity. Research limitations/implications – This qualitative study included a convenience sample of 30 long-haul truck drivers. Consensus of themes and subthemes was achieved by four sessions. Issues facing long-haul truck drivers may be different than other truck drivers. Additional qualitative research should be conducted along with interventions focussed on healthy behaviors that can be implemented in the mobile working environment. Originality/value – This is the first focus group study of truck drivers that targets eating and physical activity. Future weight loss intervention designs should address the lack of knowledge and skills. To succeed, interventions should implement strategies to address perceived barriers: access, time limitations, and high cost of healthy lifestyle habits.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore barriers to employment for visually impaired (VI) women and potential solutions to those barriers. Design/methodology/approach – Mixed methods, comprising three phases; first, exploratory interviews with VI women ( n =6) and employers ( n =3); second, a survey to assess the barriers to employment experienced by this group ( n =96); and third, in-depth interviews with VI women ( n =15). This paper reports phases 2 and 3. Findings – The most commonly reported barriers to work were: negative employer attitudes; the provision of adjustments in the workplace; restricted mobility; and having an additional disability/health condition. Significantly more barriers were reported by women: who reported that their confidence had been affected by the barriers they had experienced; with dependents under 16; and women who wanted to work. Research limitations/implications – Key solutions to these barriers included: training for employers; adaptive equipment; flexibility; better support; training and work experience opportunities; and more widely available part-time employment opportunities. Originality/value – This paper adds to the literature in respect of the key barriers to employment for VI women, together with providing key solutions to these barriers.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to determine the reason for faculty and staff ( N =657; 35 percent males; M age =45.20) at a large Southern university, for either using or not using the free fitness facilities on campus. Design/methodology/approach – Participants identified themselves as either current ( n =306), former ( n =213), or never-users ( n =138) of the facilities, and completed an on-line self-report qualitative questionnaire asking them to describe their reasons for using or not using the campus fitness facilities. Findings – Thematic coding revealed that motives fell into three broad categories for all user types: personal (i.e. cost, location, social support), facility-specific (i.e. quality and amount of equipment, class variety, hours of operation), and motivational climate (i.e. feeling valued, welcomed, best effort was emphasized). Current users highlighted positive aspects of each category whereas former and never users described each category as a barrier to their exercise routines. Practical implications – The identified themes offer campus administration specific suggestions to entice more non-users and former-users to exercise in the fitness facilities available on campus. Originality/value – While researchers have considered barriers to exercise in past studies, the barriers identified were not specific to fitness facilities. The current work not only examines individuals’ reasons for choosing or not choosing a campus fitness facility for their exercise, but also compares the perspectives of former- and never-users to current-users.
 
Article
Purpose – The use of lifestyle coaches in a worksite setting to improve weight, nutrition, physical activity, and smoking behavior among at risk individuals is a relatively new area of research in the field of health promotion. The purpose of this paper is to assess the effectiveness of an accountability-based worksite telephonic health coaching program that incorporates financial incentives, a personal wellness profile (PWP) assessment tool, and biometric testing. Design/methodology/approach – A retrospective cohort study was conducted based on data from four midsize companies in Utah (USA), 2007-2010. Individuals with high-risk biometric scores were required to work with a health coach. Findings – Participants had fewer healthcare claims and lower costs than nonparticipants, which became more pronounced over the study period. Health risks and PWP results significantly improved, more so in those in poorer health at baseline that worked with a health coach. Mean difference between health age and potential achievable age significantly decreased, more so for men than women and among those with the greatest need for improvement. Originality/value – Health coaching effectively improved biometric scores among high-risk individuals and narrowed the difference between current health age and achievable age, more so among those with the greatest health risks at baseline who worked with a health coach.
 
Article
Purpose – Awareness of potential health impact and variations in key risk factors for chronic disease are important considerations in multi-site, workplace physical activity interventions. This study seeks to examine associations and site variations between workday step counts, sitting times, waist circumference and blood pressure in three universities. Design/methodology/approach – Participants were white-collar, university employees (172 women and 44 men; aged 41.0±10.3 years) from Barcelona, Spain (n=81), Brisbane, Australia (n=71) and Leeds, UK (n=64). Workday step counts and sitting times (five days) and waist circumference and blood pressure were assessed and compared against health-related thresholds. Step counts were classified into tertiles and differences in sitting time, waist circumference and blood pressure were compared across tertiles using ANOVA, as were site variations in key variables. Findings – Daily step counts were inversely associated with sitting times (p<0.05), women's waist circumference (p<0.05) and systolic (p<0.01) and diastolic (p<0.05) blood pressure. Activity rates – relative to the public health criterion of 10,000 daily steps – were lower in Brisbane (16 per cent) and Leeds (15 per cent), compared with Barcelona (47 per cent). Barcelona employees also sat less (p<0.001), had lower men's and women's waist circumference (p<0.01) and lower women's diastolic blood pressure (p<0.001). Research limitations/implications – The small number of male participants precluded meaningful analyses for men. Originality/value – The findings evidence the health benefits of workplace walking in the samples and highlight the need to account for variations in multi-site, multi-national interventions.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present an evaluation of the design of a stress management intervention (rather than an evaluation of the implementation and outcomes of the programme). Design/methodology/approach – This paper uses data generated from a large study carried out in two social service departments in the UK. The study is carried out in three phases: first, a problem diagnosis phase, comprising the development of a questionnaire and survey (n ¼ 1,234); second, focus groups (n ¼ 16) to develop interventions in a participatory way from the baseline established; and finally, an evaluation of the processes involved in phases one and two. Findings – Key barriers include: major changes are currently taking place within the organisations; staff are distrustful of management and sceptical of the value of the research; lack of resources; and difficulties translating the findings into actions. Key factors necessary for success include: strong commitment from senior management; willingness by staff to participate; realistic expectations, responsibilities and time-frames agreed at the outset of the project. Key health promotion outcomes achieved include: improved health literacy; changes to organisational policies and practices and staff empowerment and participation. Research limitations/implications – Future research designing and implementing stress management interventions can draw on the evidence from this study in order to improve intervention effectiveness. Practical implications – Evaluating the design of the stress management intervention has identified: what worked well, what did not, and in what context; difficulties associated with managing change; and unanticipated successes. Originality/value – This paper provides an overview of the conditions which need to be created in order to achieve potentially successful outcomes and improve intervention effectiveness.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate general psychosocial work conditions and specific workplace health promotion (WHP) measures in relation to employee health and sickness absence in Swedish municipal social care organizations. Design/methodology/approach – In a random sample of 60 out of the 290 municipalities in Sweden, 15,871 municipal social care employees working with elderly and disabled clients were sent a questionnaire concerning psychosocial work environment, WHP, and self-rated health. The responses (response rate 58.4 per cent) were complemented by register data on sickness absence (>14 days). All data were aggregated to employer level. Findings – A structural equation modelling analysis using employer-level data demonstrated that employers with more favourable employee ratings of the psychosocial work conditions, as well as of specific health-promoting measures, had better self-rated health and lower sickness absence level among employees. Practical implications – The results from this representative nationwide sample of employers within one sector indicate that employers can promote employee health both by offering various health-specific programmes and activities, such as work environment education, fitness activities, and lifestyle guidance, as well as by forming a high-quality work environment in general including developmental and supportive leadership styles, prevention of role conflicts, and a supportive and comfortable social climate. Originality/value – This study with a representative nationwide sample demonstrates: results in line with earlier studies and explanations to the challenges in comparing effects from specific and general WHP interventions on health.
 
Article
Purpose – This paper sets out to provide an overview of the development processes, key drivers and the impact of a workplace health strategy developed in the North West of England, between 2005 and 2007. The strategy is led by a Regional Workplace Health Co‐ordinator (funded for two years by regional‐level bodies), and is aimed at a broad range of stakeholders across every layer of influence. Design/methodology/approach – The paper consists of narrative which was co‐constructed by the Guest Editor (third author of the paper) and the co‐authors of the original strategy (first and second authors of the paper). A reflective interview was conducted with the first and second authors, who were interviewed by the third author in the summer of 2008. This interview was transcribed verbatim and then used to co‐construct the paper that follows. The key questions that the narrative was designed to answer were: why and how was the strategy developed? What was the interplay between national and regional levels of the system? What was the value/impact of the strategy? Findings – The strategy provided an important platform from which regional players could develop actions that would, in the long term, positively influence the health of workers in the region. The scope and breadth of the regional strategy further informed national developments, but its effective delivery within the North West region was seriously hampered by the lack of co‐ordination, governance and ownership. The long‐term impacts of the strategy are not being measured as no funding was available for its evaluation. Originality/value – Although many workplace health strategies have been developed, few are ever critically evaluated.
 
Other -including multi-component interventions
Article
Purpose: This paper reports a synopsis of a recent systematic review of the literature regarding the effectiveness of workplace physical activity interventions, commissioned by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), UK (Dugdill et al., 2007). Methods: A search for English-language papers published between 1996-2007 was conducted using 12 relevant databases and associated grey literature. Search protocols and analysis regarding study quality as recommended by NICE were utilised (NICE, 2006). Key inclusion criteria were 1) workplace intervention aiming to increase physical activity, 2) intervention aimed at working adults, 3) intervention initiated/endorsed by the employer, 4) physical activity outcome. Thirty three studies (38 papers) met the inclusion criteria and were independently reviewed (checked by 2 reviewers) with a narrative synthesis of findings. Findings: Fourteen studies were graded as ++ (high quality) or + (good quality). Evidence from previous systematic reviews was inconclusive. Data regarding the effectiveness of stair walking interventions was limited and intervention effects were short-lived. Three public sector studies provided evidence that workplace walking interventions using pedometers can increase daily step counts. One good quality study reported a positive intervention effect on walking to work behaviour (active travel) in economically advantaged female employees. There was strong evidence that workplace counselling influenced physical activity behaviour. There is a dearth of evidence for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Limitations: Due to the necessary UK focus and time constraints, only studies from Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada were included. Implications: There is a growing evidence base that workplace physical activity interventions can positively influence physical activity behaviour.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine whether single-item measures of job stressor facets were as valid as multiple-item measures in predicting psychological strain. Single-item measures are more time and cost efficient than multiple-item measures and may also have psychometric benefits. Design/methodology/approach – Data from 3,166 hospital employees were used to evaluate the validity of 11 single-item job stressor facet measures by applying five criteria for content and criterion validity. Findings – Based on this data, six single-item measures of job stressors met all criteria, supporting their use as single-item facet measures. Research limitations/implications – The use of a sample of employees from one female-dominated industry may limit the generalizability of the results to other industries. Future research should replicate the results of the current study in other industries and use longitudinal designs to examine the predictive validity of the single-item measures. Future studies may also develop single-item measures of each facet a priori and examine their validity. Practical implications – Results support the use of single-item measures for the assessment of significance, recognition, workload, work-family conflict, skill use, and coworker relations, which can be included in research where a shorter survey is necessary. These six measures may facilitate more frequent assessment of job stressors, the assessment of job stressors as control variables, and the assessment of multiple job stressors simultaneously, while still minimizing survey space and cost. Originality/value – This is the first study to examine the validity of single-item measures of job stressors, which is a construct that is frequently assessed in organizations.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify the determinants of perceived work-related stress among public sector managers. Design/methodology/approach – A general questionnaire-based survey of managers at all managerial levels in Danish organizations concerning the content of their job and the way it is practiced ( n =1,500, response rate 72 per cent) are applied. For the purpose of this paper only specific information related to the perception of work stress among public sector managers is analyzed ( n =400). Findings – The perception of stress are influenced by factors like gender, managerial level, work load, the influence on own job situation, if they have children living at home as well as the percentage of work-at-home. Research limitations/implications – In a general survey work stress is one among a larger number of issues. This fact may influence the validity of the information – in a positive as well as a negative way. However, the findings point to issues which call for more in-depth analyses. Practical implications – The identified significant determinants influencing the perception of stress point to issues where preventive initiatives can be taken. Social implications – Since work-related stress may cause absence from work it may influence production and the health system. If preventive measures can be taken a positive impact on the economy may be the result. Originality/value – Work-related stress has been studied before. But little focus has been given to the public sector and especially managers. Furthermore, including a variety of potential explanatory determinants such a work-life balance, psycho-social work characteristics, gender and managerial level – as well as the potential interaction between them – give a detailed platform for the analyses.
 
Article
Purpose ‐ This paper aims to report on themes of root cause of injury emerging from a qualitative study of investigations into serious workplace injuries undertaken by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Workforce Development, Occupational Health and Safety Division. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The study used systems-based safety management as a theoretical lens and a qualitative grounded theory approach to inductively identify patterns and themes in the root cause of injury. Investigations were purposefully selected and analyzed through document review supplemented by interviews. Findings ‐ A number of themes of root cause of injury emerge from the data reflecting a lack of commitment to safety within the organization and a lack of positive safety leadership by management. Workplace culture is identified as a reflection of beliefs and assumptions of managers which impacts safety behaviour. A trend toward identifying the victim as a cause is also addressed. Research limitations/implications ‐ Data are limited to investigations of serious injuries reported to the enforcement agency, thus focusing on negative experiences. The identification of root cause of injury may not always be the focus of the investigation, and the nature of acute serious injury limits the industry sectors represented. A need for further investigation across other industry sectors and inclusion of chronic injury is indicated. Practical implications ‐ These themes represent a cross sectoral perspective and can be used to guide development of prevention and intervention programs, corporate priorities and public policy. Originality/value ‐ The paper reports on a study of patterns in the root cause of workplace injuries.
 
Article
Purpose – Most long-haul truck drivers are physically inactive. Despite being identified as a source of health information, online physical activity and exercise information has not been evaluated for this population. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the accessibility, accuracy, technical and theoretical quality, and readability of online physical activity, exercise, and sport information for long-haul truck drivers. Design/methodology/approach – A standardized protocol was followed to identify and evaluate web sites. Web sites were included in the review if they met the following criteria: first, presented information on physical activity, exercise, or sport; second, provided information for long-haul truck drivers; and finally, provided information in English. Each web site was evaluated independently by the two study authors. After evaluating the web sites independently, the authors then met to discuss each construct for each web site. Findings – Overall, 44 web sites were reviewed. Nine web sites provided information based on physical activity guidelines. Most web sites scored poorly on technical and theoretical quality. In total, 28 web sites provided information that was written above the recommended grade 8 reading level. Research limitations/implications – Research has shown that theoretically designed physical activity and exercise interventions are more successful than those with no theoretical underpinnings. Creating web sites or online applications using behavioral theory and improving the readability of online health information may help increase levels of physical activity and improve overall health for this population. Originality/value – No previous research has examined the quality of online physical activity, exercise, or sport information for long-haul truck drivers. This is the first study to examine how online health information for this population can be improved.
 
Article
Purpose ‐ The economic impact of ill-health in employed individuals is largely experienced via absenteeism-related and presenteeism-related productivity loss. Using cognitive interviewing, the purpose of this paper is to evaluate a recently published interview method by which managers determine key job characteristics and their relationship to the cost of acute and chronic illness-related absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace: the team production approach. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Managers (n=20) from various industries in Australia completed the team production interview by telephone. Quantitative items measured replaceability, team production, time sensitivity of output and illness-related absenteeism and presenteeism costs. Concurrent verbal probes followed five items which assessed the productivity impact of illness-related presenteeism, identified as cognitively challenging. Findings ‐ Content analysis of interview outputs examined cognitive processes underlying managers' responses and revealed difficulties understanding and quantifying chronic illness and presenteeism. Difficulties were categorised as misunderstanding of key concepts/terminology, inability to provide answers due to lack of knowledge, difficulty applying questions/scenarios to employees/workplaces and miscellaneous problems. Practical implications ‐ Interview modifications are proposed to address concerns of managers. These changes aim to minimise measurement error in future applications of the instrument and improve valuation of chronic illness and presenteeism in the workforce. Social implications ‐ Improved understanding of chronic illness and presenteeism could enhance estimation of productivity loss recoverable via health management/promotion strategies and may increase managers' willingness to implement such programs. Development of valuation methods in a manner acceptable to and informed by business leaders/employers ensures findings have "real-world" value. Originality/value ‐ To the authors' knowledge, this is the first use of cognitive interviewing to identify sources of response error in a productivity evaluation method.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the moderating effect of supervisor support on the relationship between work schedule flexibility and job stress. Design/methodology/approach – For the study a survey methodology was used and 232 software developers attached to offshore outsourced software development firms responded. Findings – It was found that supervisor support moderates the relationship between work schedule flexibility and job stress. Originality/value – The findings of this study will provide useful information for both practitioners and academics to better understand the nature of strategies to be adopted in mitigating job stress.
 
Article
Purpose The on-going COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted healthcare systems worldwide. Understanding the perspectives and insights of frontline healthcare workers caring for and interacting with patients with COVID-19 represents a timely, topical, and important area of research. The purpose of this qualitative action research study was to assist one US healthcare system that has an expansive footprint with the implementation of a needs assessment among its frontline healthcare workers. The leadership within this healthcare system wanted to obtain a deeper understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic was impacting the personal and professional lives of its workers. Further, the organisation wanted to solicit employees’ feedback about what they needed, understand the issues they were facing, and solicit their ideas to help the organisation know where to take action. Design/methodology/approach This qualitative research employed 45 focus groups, referred to as virtual listening calls (LCs) in this organisation, which were held over a four-week period. A total of 241 nursing staff, representing healthcare facilities across the country, attended 26 of the LCs. A total of 19 LCs were held with 116 healthcare workers who are employed in other clinical roles (e.g. therapists) or administrative functions. Findings Extending beyond the available research at the time, this study was initiated from within a US healthcare system and informed by the frontline healthcare employees who participated in the LCs, the findings of this study include the perspectives of both nursing and other healthcare workers, the latter of which have not received considerable attention. The findings underscore that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the personal and professional lives of all of these healthcare workers and has exacted an emotional toll as noted in other studies. However, this study also highlights the importance of listening to employees’ concerns, but more importantly, their recommendations for improving their experiences. Notably, the organisation is in the midst of making changes to address these frontline workers’ needs. Originality/value The study, inclusive of nursing and other healthcare staff, demonstrates how an organisation can adapt to a crisis by listening and learning from its frontline employees.
 
Article
Purpose This sudden disruption of work in the world due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to unravelling situations hitherto unknown to researchers and therefore requires careful and thorough investigation. The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between work from home (WFH) isolation, WFH loss of task identity and job insecurity amid COVID-19 pandemic WFH arrangements by focusing on information technology/information technology-enabled services (IT/ITES) sector employees in India. The study also investigated the mediating role of work alienation. Design/methodology/approach Data were collected from IT/ITES sector employees who were working from home. The sample size was 312, with 71.8% males and 28.2% females. The study used a descriptive research design. Analysis of the data was carried out using partial least square structural equation modeling. All constructs–independent and dependent–were reflectively measured. The evaluated quality parameters (discriminant validity, reliability, collinearity, common method bias) for all the constructs were found to be within acceptable limits. Findings Findings from the study indicate that WFH-related isolation and loss of task identity have a significant direct impact on job insecurity. These, along with the mediating construct of work alienation, predicted a 35.8% variance in job insecurity. The study found that work alienation provided complementary mediation between the independent constructs evaluated. Originality/value This study attempts to scrape the surface and gain insight into the problems that may arise in the new world of work. This paper presents an attempt to explain some of the psychological pitfalls associated with WFH during the COVID-19 pandemic and to understand their impact on job insecurity.
 
Article
Purpose The health and well-being of healthcare staff came into focus during the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as already strained workforces responded to new and additional challenges. Organisational support services made efforts to adapt staff support provision. However, most literature and recommendations are centred on surveys of medical and clinical staff. The present study included staff across clinical and non-clinical workforces within a mental health trust over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic to date, and aimed to understand workforces' access to and experiences of organisational support. Design/methodology/approach The current study was a qualitative one using convenience and purposive sampling. Semi-structured individual and group interviews were conducted using a topic guide. Reflexive thematic analysis was used in a phenomenological framework to analyse data. Findings 35 staff, broadly representative of the trust workforce, were recruited. Six global themes summarised the experiences of staff in relation to work practices, personal well-being and support access over the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic: COVID-19 disease, interpersonal relationships, individual considerations, change, working environment and support. Practical implications The findings from the study have implications for organisational support provisions for healthcare workers and the dissemination of these services. Originality/value Acknowledging the multi-various experiences of different workforces within National Healthcare Service organisations and how these change over time will facilitate innovative changes to staff support provision.
 
Article
Purpose The workplace health management lessons to be learned from the pandemic are important. However, few studies have examined the relationship between workplace anxiety, resources and behaviors during the pandemic. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate the relationship between anxiety, fatigue, compliance, turnover intention and social and psychological resources during the COVID-19 pandemic by applying the conservation of resources (COR) theory. Design/methodology/approach Path analysis was carried out using data obtained from a questionnaire survey conducted on 2,973 Chinese employees of Japanese companies in China. Findings The analysis showed that anxiety had a positive correlation with compliance, but simultaneously had a positive correlation with fatigue and turnover intention; psychological resources moderated to weaken the relationships between anxiety and compliance/fatigue; social resources moderated to strengthen the negative correlation between compliance and willingness to leave. Research limitations/implications This study targeted employees of Japanese companies in China. Therefore, in the future, it is necessary to verify generalizability as to whether it applies to employees of companies of other nationalities in other countries. Also, the authors used newly developed scales instead of the general psychological scales. Therefore, it is necessary to verify the reproducibility using a more general scale. Practical implications Anxiety encourages compliance practices but also increases fatigue and willingness to leave. Therefore, a method of inciting anxiety and making employees follow rules reduces the strength of an organization. To overcome this dilemma, managers need to provide psychological and social resources. Originality/value This study is the first to show how effective social and psychological resources are in the management of anxiety and fatigue in achieving high performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study was conducted in the very early days of the COVID-19 pandemic with the cooperation of employees working for Japanese companies in China. However, the importance of utilizing resources in a crisis revealed by this study can be applied to all kinds of disasters. Highlights: -The current study is the result of a survey conducted on employees of Japanese companies in China in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. -Anxiety had a positive effect of promoting compliance and a negative effect of increasing fatigue and willingness to leave the job. -Psychological resources mitigated these effects of anxiety and, as a result, reduced fatigue and willingness to leave. -Social resources enhanced the effect of compliance on reducing willingness to leave. -Workplace health problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic should be addressed by increasing employee resources on a regular basis, rather than aggravating anxiety.
 
Article
Purpose Essential frontline workers in the retail sector face increased exposure risks to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to frequent interactions with the general public. Often these interactions are fraught with controversies over public safety protocols. The purpose of this study is to examine the impacts of frontline workers' perceptions of workplace safety and customer misbehaviors on their stress and psychological distress to inform managing workplace health and safety during public health crises. Design/methodology/approach The authors conducted an online survey of 3,344 supermarket workers in the state of Arizona (US) during the state's first COVID-19 pandemic wave in July 2020. Measures included mental health distress, and perceptions of workplace safety and customer behaviors. The authors utilized a mixed-methods approach combining multiple regression analyses with qualitative analyses of open-ended comments. Findings Workers reported high rates of stress and psychological distress. Increases in mental health morbidity were correlated with perceptions of being unsafe in the workplace and concerns about negative customer encounters. Qualitative analyses reveal frustration with management's efforts to reduce risks intertwined with feelings of being unsafe and vulnerable to threatening customer encounters. Practical implications The findings highlight the need to provide and enforce clear safety guidelines, including how to manage potential hostile customer interactions, to promote positive health workplace management during a pandemic. Originality/value This study is among the first to assess the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the mental health of non-health care frontline essential workers and presents novel insights regarding perceived customer misbehavior and need for management support and guidance in a public health crisis.
 
Article
Purpose The COVID-19 pandemic changed how many of us work, where we work and what we need and expect from the workplace. In this paper, the researchers sought to describe how employers and employees experienced their changing workplace environments in the early days of the pandemic, with a focus on adaptation and recovery in Whistler in British Columbia, Canada. In addition, the authors aimed to develop a new model to inform other organizations undergoing the consequences of major catastrophes. Design/methodology/approach Applying a qualitative approach, the authors gathered data in a total of seven focus groups. Employer focus groups were held in June 2020, and employee focus groups were held in November 2020. A thematic analysis was completed by three researchers. Findings After completing an analysis of the employer focus group transcripts, the authors identified the themes of staffing and coordination, adaptability and connection, uncertainty, communication and community and strategies. The employees' concerns and experiences related to the themes of challenges, changes and community, communication, involvement in decisions, future employment and support and connection. Originality/value This study captured descriptions of workplace adaptation and recovery for employers and employees during the pandemic, generalizability is limited by the number of participants. These accounts depicted a period of significant change in working conditions, communications, and employment practices. This paper offers a new conceptual model, C4AR, exploring the role of communicate, coordinate, connect and community in supporting workplace adaptation and recovery.
 
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to conduct a statewide assessment of worksite health promotion (WHP) programs to identify the number of comprehensive programs and the health needs of worksites in Kentucky. Design/methodology/approach A random sample of 1,200 worksites in Kentucky was selected to receive the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Worksite Health ScoreCard to collect cross-sectional information on their health promotion practices. Findings Few worksites in Kentucky have WHP programs and even fewer have comprehensive programs. More businesses rely on health insurance to treat chronic diseases than WHP programs to reduce chronic diseases. Small companies were less likely than larger companies to have WHP programs and less likely to have intentions of starting a program. Research limitations/implications The response rate of 37 percent was a potential threat to external validity. Respondents had to recall activities conducted during the past 12 months, which could have led to recall bias. Response bias was a potential, as many of the respondents were human resources personnel who may not be as familiar with WHP programs in their worksites. Lastly, four sections of the survey had yet to be validated. Practical implications WHP programs, if accessible and comprehensive, have the potential to improve the working population’s health status. Originality/value Very little information on the availability and effectiveness of health promotion programs at worksites is available. A statewide assessment on WHP programs has never been conducted in Kentucky.
 
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore factors influencing decision making about disclosure of assisted reproductive technology (ART) use in the workplace. Design/methodology/approach A qualitative study design was used. In total, 31 women and 6 men who were using or had recently used ART were recruited from British fertility networks and interviewed. Data were transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed. Findings Two main strands were identified each encompassing two themes: “Concerns about disclosure” covered the very personal nature of disclosing ART treatment and also career concerns and “Motives for disclosure” covered feeling which was necessary to disclose and also the influence of workplace relationships. Research limitations/implications The relatively small, self-selected sample of participants was recruited from fertility support networks, and lacked some diversity. Practical implications Clarity about entitlements to workplace support and formal protection against discrimination, along with management training and awareness raising about ART treatment is needed to help normalise requests for support and to make decisions about disclosure within the workplace easier. Originality/value The study has highlighted an understudied area of research in ART populations. The data provide insight into the challenging experiences of individuals combining ART with employment and, in particular, the complexity of decisions about whether or not to disclose.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of a workplace intervention designed to interrupt prolonged occupational sitting time (POST) and its impact on the self-reported health of a cohort of desk-based employees. Design/methodology/approach – In total, 43 participants received an interactive computer-based software intervention for 26 weeks. For the first 13 weeks the intervention passively prompted the participants to interrupt POST and perform brief bouts of non-purposeful movement. The second 13 weeks involved the passivity of the intervention being removed, with the intervention only accessible voluntarily by the participant. This approach was adopted to determine the sustainability of the intervention to change workplace health behaviour. Findings – ANOVA results revealed a significant interaction between group and test occasion, F (2, 42)=2.79, p < 0.05, such that the experimental group increased their total health from pre-test to post-test (13 weeks), and to second post-test (26 weeks) with a medium effect size of Cohen’s d =0.37. Research limitations/implications – An action research approach was implemented for this study, and hence the participants were organised into one group. Based on a communitarian model, the intervention aimed to monitor how desk-based employees adapted to specific health behaviours, and therefore a control group was not included. Practical implications – Passively prompting desk-based employees to interrupt POST and perform non-purposeful movement at work improved self-reported health. Participant perceptions of health were maintained following the removal of the passive feature of the intervention. Social implications – Interventions predicated on a social ecological model that modify how employees interact with the workplace environment might provide a framework for health behaviour change in populations where sitting is customary. Originality/value – The passive approach used in this study removed the individual decision-making process to engage in health behaviour change, and established a sustainable effect on participant health.
 
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on the relationship between organizational change and sickness absence and to map and describe the prevailing “trends” in the field. In particular, the paper focuses on the indirect links between change and sickness absence and identifies knowledge gaps and novel research opportunities. Design/methodology/approach A scoping review was conducted seeking to generate a wide-ranging overview of relevant studies. To this end, research articles were collected through different sources of landmark articles, bibliographies and databases. Findings The association between organizational change and sickness absence is often explained by adverse changes in work characteristics. Such potential mediation or moderation effects, however, are rarely statistically tested. Including such variables in the analyses may represent an important avenue for future research. Additionally, earlier studies have mainly emphasized organization-wide episodic changes. Recently, however, researchers have focused on smaller and frequently implemented changes. Accordingly, the field of organizational change and occupational health may advance by incorporating greater diversity of change type. Originality/value The paper demonstrates that attention to the potential health effects of organizational change will remain important as the field of workplace health management proceeds. Research needs to develop beyond attributions of the relationship between change and sickness absence and focus more on statistical testing of linking variables. The unique contribution of this review is therefore that it identifies knowledge gaps and novel avenues for prospective research.
 
Article
Purpose The aim of the study was to understand the social and organisational factors in the workplace that shape managers' actions and attitudes towards workers with repeated short-term sickness absence. Design/methodology/approach This was a qualitative interview study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 managers at 15 different workplaces. The analysis had an abductive approach, using thematic analysis which focused on the latent content of managers attitudes towards employees with repeated short-term sickness absence. Findings Results indicate that the managers' views of people on short-term sick leave shift and move through several phases, which was analysed as they were acts in a play, where their given roles are prescribing which actions to take given the available resources for acting these parts. These acts depict an increasingly controlling attitude, where the sick leave is ultimately seen as an individual problem best managed by repressive tactics. Originality/value Role theory offers the possibility to analyse managers' attitudes and behaviours by considering the workplace and the manager-employee relationship as regulated by norms and organisational factors.
 
Hypothesized model—individual factors and self-reported absenteeism.  
Health Risk Appraisal Items
Final structural equation model showing standardized coefficients for individual factors and self-reported absenteeism.  
Study Population Demographics
Descriptive Statistics and Correlations for Main Study Variables*
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of changes of medical condition burden index (MCBI) and stress on absenteeism and discuss implications for policy/program design. Design/methodology/approach – Sample: US utility employees that participated in Health Risk Appraisals (HRA) during 2009 and 2010 ( n =3,711). Methods: the MCBI was created by summing number of medical conditions. Absenteeism was measured from administrative records. Change in MCBI and stress and impact on absenteeism was assessed according to incremental change, by low/high categorizations, and by using multivariate regression. Findings – Incrementally, greater changes in MCBI or stress generally resulted in corresponding absenteeism change. For both MCBI and stress, high categories were associated with greater absenteeism compared to those in low categories. Those remaining in the low MCBI category decreased absenteeism (−0.10 days/year; p =0.01). Changes from low to high MCBI resulted in increased absenteeism (+0.12 days/year; p =0.04. Changes in stress from low to high or from high to low categories resulted in concurrent changes in absenteeism (+0.21 days/year; p =0.04 and −0.31 days/year; p =0.01, respectively). Regression analyses indicated the interaction between stress and MCBI as a significant contributor to absenteeism change. Research limitations/implications – Conclusions: MCBI, stress and their interaction appear to be direct determinants of absenteeism. Companies should consider both physical and emotional health simultaneously in program interventions in order to reduce absenteeism. Originality/value – Unlike most studies illustrating cross-sectional relationships, this study shows how changes in stress and medical conditions relate to changes in absenteeism. The interaction between MCBI and stress in this context is also a novel addition.
 
Article
Purpose – Bradford formula (index) or factor (BF) was originally designed for use as part of the overall investigation and management of absenteeism. Work ability index (WAI) is an instrument that has been used to evaluate work ability. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate retrospectively, the properties of the WAI, the BF and their combination – the sickness absence probability factor – in predicting future sickness absence. Design/methodology/approach – Data on sickness absences of shipyard employees for the period 2002-2006 were utilized for the calculation of the relevant BFs. The Greek version of the WAI questionnaire was also used. The sickness absence probability factor was calculated by summing up the scores of the two other tools, after transforming them into categorical variables. Findings – Increased BF values are positively and strongly correlated to increased sickness absenteeism levels in the following years (p<0.001), especially for the immediate following years. WAI score is also strongly negatively correlated to absence. The combination of BF and WAI acted even better. Originality/value – The use of tools, like the BF and the suggested sickness probability factor, should be considered by occupational health personnel in order to act proactively on sickness absenteeism, since they were found to be related to future absenteeism. Actions should follow health and safety rules and ethics and should be undertaken by competent health personnel.
 
Article
Purpose Migraine consists of a chronic neurological disorder with episodic attacks. Migraine prevails in people of their most productive working age, followed by difficulties at work and social functions. This scoping review aims to analyze the economic burden on a workplace due to chronic migraine compared to episodic migraine by focusing on the indirect costs of absenteeism and presenteeism and addressing the research gaps in this field. Design/methodology/approach According to the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews, a comprehensive electronic literature search was carried out from 2010 to 2020 using the Google Scholar and Medline/PubMed databases. Findings The findings confirm that chronic and episodic migraine harm the workplace's productivity, escalating with the frequency of migraine attacks. Differences occur between presenteeism and absenteeism rates among chronic and episodic migraine, and higher presenteeism than absenteeism rates. Originality/value This review sheds new light on the indirect burden of migraine. It shows the gaps in the explored research area and the need for more targeted and extended research that could provide a deeper understanding of the workplace's hidden costs of migraine. The issues discussed are important as they can raise awareness of the interested parties, policymakers, employers and vocational rehabilitation specialists on the work disability associated with migraine.
 
Article
Purpose This study aims to investigate the abusive supervision climate as an antecedent abusive supervision and attempts to uncover underlying mechanisms that affects employees' behavioural outcomes in terms of their performance. Design/methodology/approach A framework embedded in social learning theory is developed and empirically tested using a time-lag research design. Data have been collected from 330 functional dyads of supervisors and followers using judgement sampling (from public hospitals in Pakistan) that have been identified and matched for drawing analysis and inferences. Findings The results indicate that abusive supervision does occur because of the hypothesized precursor (abusive supervision climate) and that the underlying mechanisms (fear) delineated in this research positively and significantly affect performance of employees. The added significance of the study is its relevance for practitioners with opportunities to manage the factors affecting supervision and its relationship with employees' outcomes through appropriate interventions to improve the behavioural outcomes. Social implications The current study holds not only managerial and academic implications but also has economical and social implications. The findings of the study will help the supervisors and organisations understand how they become a source of their abusive behaviour. With the understanding of the root causes, they can encourage employees in developing mindfulness in recommendations which helps them build an internal capability to face external adversities. Policymakers will get insights into the underlying mechanisms of abusive supervision as well as problems they are facing with the employees. This understanding will help employers and employees in building internal control of employees improving their performance as well as mental health ultimately. Originality/value The study opens new avenues for further research with regard to the study of contextual, organisational and personal factors to mitigate abusive supervision as well as exploring additional moderators to lessen the relationship between abusive supervision and behavioural outcomes.
 
Both Normal Weight and Overweight Employees (but not Obese) Support Health Codes of Conduct 
Article
Purpose – Most workplace health promotion efforts have failed to consistently and sustainably encourage employees to take responsibility for their health. The purpose of this paper is to explore a potentially high-impact solution – Health Codes of Conduct – for engaging and motivating employees to assume responsibility for their health. Design/methodology/approach – This mixed methods study draws on interview and survey methodology with a sample of 149 working adults to examine the feasibility of Health Codes of Conduct. Descriptive and inferential statistics are calculated to understand reactions, characteristics of the companies likely to support the idea, and components of a Health Code of Conduct. Findings – Nearly all employees offered moderate to high support for Health Codes of Conduct; this included overweight but not obese employees. Additionally, all demographic groups either moderately or strongly supported the policy when they included either monetary incentives (such as prescription discounts) or often overlooked non-monetary incentives (such as employee recognition). Some of the more popular features of Health Codes of Conduct included annual physical exams, exercise routines, and simply being encouraged to stay home when ill. Research limitations/implications – Health Codes of Conduct offer a surprisingly well-supported potential solution. Favorable reactions were observed across all examined segments of workers, even overweight (but not obese) employees. Using the specific features of Health Codes identified here, visionary companies can tailor their company’s Health Code of Conduct with the appropriate monetary and non-monetary incentives and disincentives. Social implications – What if the workplace could be a positive source of health and empowerment for valued employees? The authors show employee Health Codes of Conduct could be this empowering, engaging solution that has been missing. Originality/value – This paper is the first to propose the concept Health Codes of Conduct and solicit feedback from employees on this novel idea. Furthermore, the authors identify both the monetary and non-monetary incentives and disincentives that employees believe would be most compelling.
 
Article
Purpose Securing a job in an industry is a boon for most of the slum dwellers. When the primary earner of a slum household suffers from occupational illness and injuries, without insurance coverage or partial coverage of insurance, this boon may become a curse in the long run. The occupational security and safety along with the fact that whether such workers are insured is an important aspect and has a close link with the expenditure on illness. Thus, the accessibility to employees’ insurance in the risky industrial occupation, particularly for slum dwellers, is crucial to protect them from falling into poverty. Studies on occupational health of the poor workers are either limited to informal sectors or remain industry specific and the analysis of their accessibility to job insurance is rarely done. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach The research questions are framed to analyze the types of insurance accessible to workers across various industries; the accessibility to insurance, however, varying across risk intensities of various industries; and the determinants of insurance accessibility of the industrial workers living in slums. The determinants of accessibility of job insurance are analyzed with a binary Logit model. A multi-stage random sampling technique is used to collect the primary data from 320 industrial workers living in the slums of the Indian state of West Bengal. Findings The industrial workers, irrespective of the types of industries, are exposed to a high-risk category without proper job insurance. The higher industrial income is not adequate to prevent financial hardships. Access to insurance is more likely for the respondents with job tenure of more than two years and less likely for the workers who are working for more than eight hours per day. Social implications This study provides a significant insight to the policymakers concerning health dynamics of the slum dwellers, which can improve their livelihood. Originality/value The analysis of the industry-specific risk intensities with accessibility to insurance contributes to understanding the coverage of the insurance scheme for the workers in slums.
 
Article
Purpose Many adults fail to achieve sufficient moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). The purpose of this paper is to understand how workplaces most effectively promote physical activity for the benefit of public health. Design/methodology/approach Data were collected via two online surveys. First, 3,360 adults employed at 308 workplaces across England self-reported their MVPA, activity status at work and frequency of journeys made through active commuting. From this sample, 588 participants reported on the policies and practices used in their workplace to promote physical activity. Factor and cluster analysis identified common practice. Regression models examined the association between the workplace factors and engagement in physical activity behaviours. Findings Five factors emerged: targeting active travel, availability of information about physical activity outside the workplace, facilities and onsite opportunities, sedentary behaviour, and information about physical activity within the workplace. Further, five clusters were identified to illustrate how the factors are typically being utilised by workplaces across England. Commonly used practices related to promoting active travel, reducing sedentary behaviour and the provision of information but these practices were not associated with meeting MVPA guidelines. The provision of facilities and onsite exercise classes was associated with the most positive physical activity behaviour outcomes; however, these structures were rarely evident in workplaces. Originality/value Previous research has identified a number of efficacious actions for promoting physical activity in the workplace, however, research investigating which of these are likely to be acceptable to worksites is limited. The present study is the first to combine these two important aspects. Five common profiles of promoting physical activity in worksites across England were identified and related to physical activity outcomes. Guidance is given to workplace managers to enable them to maximise the resources they have for the greatest gains in employee health. Where feasible, facilities, and classes should be provided to achieve the most positive outcomes.
 
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to solicit perspectives from stakeholders concerning health, environmental and operational challenges among Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers in Canada (truck and bus drivers). Design/methodology/approach Two focus groups and one interview were conducted with key industry, government and advocacy groups representing or working with CMV drivers. Perspectives pertaining to working conditions, health issues, driver recruitment and retention, and other key issues in the CMV sector were obtained. Findings The findings show that undesirable working conditions are primary issues that impact recruitment and retention, as well as health and wellness (H&W), and productivity of drivers in both the truck and bus sectors. Compared to our US counterparts, finding parking areas and rest stops were seen as a major issue for Canadian truckers (particularly in the north). Unfortunately, there is limited or out-dated information on drivers and companies in Canada. Stakeholders stated the need for more information from both carriers/companies and from drivers themselves (particularly long-haul drivers). Research limitations/implications This study identifies gaps and key priority research areas pertaining to the H&W of the CMV sector in Canada that require further investigation. Originality/value CMV drivers are considered a vulnerable sector of the population. While drivers themselves have reported on undesirable work conditions leading to poor health, prior studies have not assessed the awareness or perspective of stakeholders involved in the CMV sector. This is the first study to capture stakeholder perspectives of the working conditions and health outcomes of CMV drivers.
 
Article
Purpose ‐ Complex collaborative interventions are increasingly applied for stress management but outcomes are inconsistent. "Collaboration" is most highly developed in participatory action research (PAR). Future research might be guided by understanding features integral to successful PAR designs. The purpose of this paper is to present a review of PAR studies which had predominantly positive outcomes, in order to identify features of their designs. Design/methodology/approach ‐ In total, 48 collaborative intervention studies (1982-2010) were identified, and filtered according to positive outcomes (improved working environment, job performance, absenteeism, and stress levels), and PAR criteria for stakeholder engagement: 11 studies from six countries were selected for scoping review. Findings ‐ Organization size and sector was not important for PAR, but the extent of uptake of an intervention/change is and a "unit" of up to 100 employees was engaged in most of the studies reviewed. Study aims should not be over-ambitious. Long-term involvement of "change agents" or "action groups" in close communication with a steering group appears most effective in engaging employees over a long period of time, ideally 12+ months. Self-report scales dominated evaluations (21 different scales; range 1-7 per study) but this strategy is challenged by impacts of organizational change and staff turnover on response rates. Comparison with a non-intervention group appears to strengthen the evaluation, but PAR also provides an opportunity to implement an innovative strategy sensitive to the workplace situation. PAR provides scope to engage managers as participants. The participatory process was least effective where this was unsuccessful. Research limitations/implications ‐ PAR has high potential for the engagement of management, and identification of a rigorous evaluation strategy, that would facilitate the efficacy of collaborative designs. Originality/value ‐ Insights are provided into characteristics of highly collaborative, and demonstrably effective, PAR designs.
 
Article
Purpose Research findings stress the importance of adapting prevention mechanisms to the contexts experienced in the workplace. This paper presents the development and implementation of a knowledge portal that includes a range of Internet-based resources to support the prevention measures implemented by occupational health and safety (OHS) union delegates. It describes the process used to develop a knowledge portal that takes into account the needs of communities and unions as well as the constraints expressed. Design/methodology/approach The approach chosen for this project was action research, in which data collection results in various readjustment loops that allow for reflection and situational assessment. Data were collected from documentation, meetings, questionnaires and focus groups. The readjustment loops led to the implementation of a solution based on sustainability. Findings After studying the context, needs and constraints, the results suggest that for a knowledge portal to stand out, it must be consistent with classroom training, include a pedagogical approach that facilitates the transfer of knowledge, be interesting to all workers, be able to adapt to the characteristics of users and use technologies that reach across time, space and connection tools. Originality/value This knowledge portal is the result of interactions and collaborations between the university and the community, an interesting way to develop a solution. It sheds light on the fact that the action research process needs to be documented throughout the process and creation cycles in order to facilitate the sharing of the results obtained.
 
Article
Purpose Bullying affects at least one-third of the workers through either direct exposure or witnessing, both of which lead to compromised health, and as a result, reduced organizational effectiveness or productivity. However, there is very little evidence that organisations provide effective protection from bullying, and in fact, the converse appears to the case. The purpose of this paper to explore the role of both individual and organisational power in the creation and maintenance of the problem. Such an approach moves away from the specific practice of identifying “bullying” that typically engages targets and perpetrators in a dance that is really just around the edges (Sullivan, 2008) of a larger problem; a culture that permits the abuse of power and ill-treatment of workers, in both practices and through organisational politics. Design/methodology/approach This paper elucidates key problems with organisational response as identified in the literature and critically examines weak organisational response to workplace bullying using the power theory, arguing that while overt approaches to addressing bullying appear to be underpinned by a simplistic, functionalist understanding of power, practices on the ground are better explained by more sophisticated “second-dimension” theorists. Findings There is a need for organisations to move beyond the current individualistic understanding of bullying towards a more nuanced understanding of how anti-bullying policies and procedures are themselves an exercise in institutional power protecting and reinforcing dominant power structures. Research limitations/implications The literature from which this paper is drawn is limited to studies published in English. Practical implications The authors advocate a realistic assessment of the role of both individual and organisational power in the creation and maintenance of workplace bullying, as a way forward to plan appropriate intervention. Social implications Workplace bullying is problematic for organisations at several levels, and therefore for society. Originality/value That power is relevant to workplace bullying has been apparent since the work of Brodsky in 1976 and Einarsen's early work, this paper builds on a the more nuanced work of McKay (2014), D'Cruz and Noronha (2009), Liefooghe and MacDavey's (2010) and Hutchinson et al. (2010), exploring the organisational response to the raising of bullying issues by individual employees as an exercise of power.
 
Article
Purpose Risky alcohol and other drug (AOD) use is ubiquitous in some workplace cultures, and is associated with considerable risks to health, safety and productivity. A workplace drug and alcohol first aid program was developed to support supervisors and managers to recognize and respond appropriately to AOD problems, increase knowledge of AOD and reduce the stigma associated with AOD. The purpose of this paper is to undertake an evaluation to assess the program’s efficacy. Design/methodology/approach A self-report survey was administered to program participants before (T1), immediately after (T2) and three months following program completion (T3). Changes in alcohol/drug-related knowledge, role adequacy, motivation and personal views were examined using repeated measures ANOVA. Findings A total of 109 participants took part in the program, with only 26 completing scores at all three time points. Mean scores increased significantly ( p <0.05) between T1 and T2 for knowledge (12.7–16.0), role adequacy (11.8–17.4), motivation (9.7–10.4) and personal views (9.0–9.6). Significant improvements were maintained at T3 for knowledge (15.1) and role adequacy (17.3). Practical implications Drug and alcohol first aid programs offer a potentially valuable initiative to improve the knowledge, skills and understanding of managers and supervisors in tackling workplace AOD risks, associated stigma and improving help seeking. Originality/value Workplace programs for managers can facilitate organization-wide responses to the reduction of AOD-related problems, increase implementation of appropriate policy and interventions, minimize associated harms and stigma and reduce negative imposts on productivity and profit.
 
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the possible associations between health-relevant personality traits and adherence; and if these traits predict adherence to a web-based occupational health intervention. Design/methodology/approach In total, 563 participants were analyzed using the Health-relevant Personality Inventory. Adherence measures were: logins, utilization of self-help exercises and time spent logged in. Findings Higher levels of antagonism (a facet of agreeableness) and impulsivity (a facet of conscientiousness) correlated to fewer logins, and higher levels of negative affectivity (a facet of neuroticism) and impulsivity correlated to a higher utilization of self-help exercises. Alexithymia (a facet of openness) negatively predicted self-help exercise utilization and antagonism was a positive predictor. Negative affectivity was a positive predictor of time spent logged in to the intervention. There were sex-related differences in outcomes. Originality/value This is the first study to investigate health-relevant personality traits in relation to adherence to a web-based occupational health intervention. The practical implications are that intervention developers could benefit from taking personality into consideration to better understand and improve adherence.
 
Article
Purpose Sedentary behavior is linked to health risks, and prolonged sitting is prevalent among office workers. Adjustable workstations (AWS) promote health by allowing transitions between sitting and standing. Stand Up to Work compares workers with AWS to traditional desks (TD). The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach Employees were randomly selected from one office floor to receive AWS, two identical floors maintained TD. Participants received workplace wellness and ergonomic training, completed self-administered questionnaires, and responded to repeated micropolling at baseline (T0), 3 (T1), 6 (T2), and 12 (T3) months in Atlanta, 2015-2016. Groups were compared using two-sample t -tests and nonparametric Wilcoxon tests. Findings Compared to TD ( n = 24), participants with AWS ( n = 24) reported significantly less sedentary behavior at T1 and T2 after AWS installation ( p <0.05), with a retention rate at T2 of 80 and 65 percent for the AWS and TD group, respectively. In all, 47 percent of participants with AWS reported decline in upper back, shoulder, and neck discomfort ( p =0.04); 88 percent of AWS participants reported convenience to use, 65 percent reported increased productivity, and 65 percent reported positive impact outside the workplace. Individuals with normal or underweight body mass index (BMI) reported a significantly greater decline in percent of time sitting compared to participants with overweight or obese BMI at all three time points. Originality/value AWS are beneficial in reducing sedentary behavior in and outside the workplace. Behavioral changes were sustained over time and associated with less self-reported muscle pain, more self-reported energy, and awareness of standing. When considering total worker health, employers should include options for AWS to promote reducing sedentary behavior.
 
Article
Purpose – Health promotion programs (HPPs) are increasingly prevalent at universities due to the numerous documented benefits in other various work environments. However, universities are unique work environments with various job duties and responsibilities. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine differences in participation in university HPPs among faculty, staff and administration. Further, barriers to participation were examined as well as an analysis of those meeting weekly physical activity (PA) recommendations. Design/methodology/approach – An electronic survey was sent to all employees at a large, metropolitan university (n=3,603), that inquired about participation in the university HPP in the last six months and their perceived barriers to participation. The International Physical Activity Questionnaire was used to assess PA amount, and thus, if the employee was meeting the weekly PA recommendations was determined. Findings – Results (n=308) indicated a difference in HPP participation rates between all three job classifications (χ2: p < 0.001; staff highest, faculty lowest). Unique barriers were identified for each job classification such as time constraints, following their own exercise program, and schedule conflicts. Results also indicated a difference in those meeting PA recommendations (χ2: p < 0.001; faculty highest, staff lowest). Originality/value – The results of this study suggest that to maximize effectiveness of university HPPs, administrators should recognize the differences in barriers to participation among different classifications of university employees; specific needs per job classification should also be considered. By taking these types of factors into consideration when planning, university HPPs can target specific employees with evidence-based communications and strategies for optimal participation, effectiveness and outcomes.
 
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the long-term conditions affecting the administration workforce of a regional Australian health service, and their self-management of these conditions. Design/methodology/approach A cross-sectional survey design was used. The sample consisted of all administration staff members employed in 2018 across a large regional health service in Northern Australia. Findings Of the 328 respondents, 167 (51 per cent) reported having at least one long-term condition. Of these, 136 (81.4 per cent) indicated a single main condition for which management strategies were used. Musculoskeletal conditions were the most commonly nominated category (59.6 per cent), followed by mental health (10.3 per cent). Respondents with musculoskeletal conditions were statistically more likely to have a co-existing mental health long-term condition, χ² (1) = 95.64, p <0.001. There was also a statistically significant association between respondents reporting a mental health condition and being overweight, χ² (1) = 54.27, p < 0.05. Research limitations/implications The response rate of 35 per cent, whilst relatively low, is a slight increase on similar surveys within this organisation. The reliability of the self-report data, presence of study bias and a weakening of the study’s external validity is acknowledged. Practical implications Targeted workplace intervention strategies, such as holistic wellness programs, should complement personal approaches, promote an ergonomic environment and create opportunities for increased dialogue between employees and their line managers, particularly regarding the complex interplay between long-term physical and mental health. Originality/value This is the first study of self-reported long-term conditions among administration staff within a health service, and augments findings from previous studies involving health professional groups in the same organisation.
 
Article
Purpose Workplace mindfulness training has many benefits, but designing programs to reach a wide audience effectively and efficiently remains a challenge. The purpose of this study is to assess the effects of a widely adopted workplace mindfulness program on the mindfulness, active listening skill, emotional intelligence, and burnout of employees in a large, multinational internet company. Design/methodology/approach The study sample included 123 employees across three company offices who completed the two‐day Search Inside Yourself (SIY) program. Data were collected using self‐report measures pre‐, post‐, and four‐weeks post‐intervention and were analyzed using paired samples t -tests. Findings Significant increases were detected in mindfulness and the “awareness of emotion” components of emotional intelligence four weeks post-course. No significant changes were found in participants' self-reported levels of burnout, active listening skill or the “management of emotion” components of emotional intelligence. Practical implications Teaching workplace mindfulness and emotional intelligence skills through a highly applied, condensed course format may be effective for increasing mindfulness and the “awareness” components of emotional intelligence. Longer courses with more applied practice may be necessary to help participants build emotional management and listening skills and to reduce burnout. Originality/value The present study is, to the authors’ knowledge, the first academic, peer-reviewed assessment of SIY, a workplace mindfulness training program that has been taught to over 50,000 people worldwide.
 
Article
Purpose Positive examples of situations in which young adults new at work experience feeling secure in the role as novice in the work force are here focused. The aim is to analyze how young adults who are new to the labor market express having a sense of security in the workplace. The long-term goal is to strengthen the conditions for the health and wellbeing of workers entering the retail labor market. Design/methodology/approach Thirteen individual in-depth telephone/video-interviews were conducted with young adults (aged 18–28) working within the retail sector in Sweden. Using a thematic interview schedule, the interviews focused how the interviewees contextualizing stories on being novice at the labor market. The study is based on those parts of the material in which stories on feeling secure was expressed. Findings The analysis resulted in two themes: A sense of security is related to carrying out work safely and a sense of security is related to receiving support. The first theme illuminates how work is structured and safety training respectively contributes to a sense of security and the latter reveal how social support from a variety of sources (managers, colleagues and others outside the work environment) contributes to a sense of security when new at work. Originality/value Using a health promoting perspective, the study complements the existing perspectives of challenges faced by novices as they enter working life. Also, the study highlights the importance of including relations outside the workplace when searching for the understanding of the experiences of being new at work. The study indicates that focusing on the sense of security by well-structured work, safety training and social support might contribute to the strive for a sustainable working life for young adults.
 
Article
Purpose Individuals with intellectual disabilities who are users of day and residential services will often be assigned at least one “keyworker”, a staff member who is expressly responsive to their needs and responsible for co-ordinating services with them. Keyworkers are often given their role because it is a norm in their organisation. However, given the emotionally intensive workload involved in co-ordinating care for a single individual, little attention is given to the potential stress burden of being a keyworker. The paper aims to discuss this issue. Design/methodology/approach A cross-sectional survey study was conducted of professionals’ perceptions of the keyworker role and of levels of workplace well-being. The authors first examine differences between keyworkers and their colleagues along measures of role perception and well-being. The authors then present a new measure of keyworkers’ duties and boundaries (Key-DAB) capturing perceptions of the keyworker role by keyworkers and other staff. The measure was administered to a sample of staff ( n =69) from an Irish provider of services for adults with intellectual disabilities. Alongside the new scale, the authors administered established measures of workplace well-being and locus of control (LoC) to examine construct validity and assess if perception of keyworking could be related to stress. Findings Some differences were detected between keyworkers and non-keyworkers: keyworkers had more internally oriented LoC and experienced lower work pressure than non-keyworking colleagues. The Key-DAB measure possessed favourable psychometric properties, including high internal reliability. External validity was also shown as keyworkers’ scale scores were related to LoC and to role demands. Results suggested: that keyworkers who are clear about what is expected of the keyworker are more satisfied with their role and perceive keyworking as beneficial to them; that role ambiguity and role conflict can undo these potential benefits and render the keyworker’s role a potentially hazardous one. Originality/value The authors recommend that employers provide clear guidelines and explicit training to keyworkers and suggest that the measures may be effective tools for ongoing assessment of keyworkers’ role clarity.
 
Top-cited authors
Margaret Hodgins
  • National University of Ireland, Galway
Sarah Maccurtain
  • University of Limerick
Patricia Mannix McNamara
  • University of Limerick
Lindsey Dugdill
  • University of Salford
Claire T Hulme
  • University of Exeter