Major new research projects will explore impact of management on productivity

A major new project led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) will examine how health and wellbeing practices can improve employee productivity. Working with research institute RAND Europe, based in Cambridge, it will look to identify which combinations of workplace health and wellbeing practices reliably improve worker health, wellbeing, engagement and performance – and deliver the best return on investment.

It is one of five projects to receive a share of £3.8m announced today by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to investigate the impact of different management, engagement and wellbeing initiatives on workplace productivity, with a particular focus on small businesses.

The aim of the work is to generate ‘new knowledge of the factors underpinning the implementation of health and wellbeing practices in organisations that foster higher levels of productivity, staff engagement, health and wellbeing’. The projects will start next month and are scheduled to run between 24 and 36 months. They have the potential to produce significant economic and societal impact across the UK, according to the participants.

Principal investigator Kevin Daniels, professor of organisational behaviour at UEA’s Norwich Business School, said: “This project will build on the existing collaboration between RAND Europe and UEA on research on employee health and wellbeing, and benefit from our on-going work with the What Works for Wellbeing Centre through the ESRC funded Work and Learning programme.

“We aim to produce useful and usable guidance for businesses on cost effective practices for sustainable improvements in both employee wellbeing and productivity.”