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UEA leads pioneering research into improving workplace wellbeing and productivity

PUBLISHED: 12:48 18 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:17 18 January 2019

Norwich Business School. Picture: Jake Peet

Norwich Business School. Picture: Jake Peet

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A new project exploring how health and wellbeing practises can improve employee productivity is being pioneered in Norfolk.

The University of East Anglia will be leading the project, working alongside Cambridge’s RAND Europe.

The project 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.

Principal investigator Kevin Daniels, professor of organizational 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 useable guidance for businesses on cost effective practices for sustainable improvements in both employee wellbeing and productivity.”

The aim of the UEA and RAND Europe 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.

This is one of five projects to receive a share of £3.8m announced 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.

Christian van Stolk, vice president of RAND Europe said: “We are proud of our ongoing collaboration with the talented team at UEA and excited about this ESRC funding to advance existing knowledge in this area.”

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.

Dr Annie Gibney, portfolio lead at ESRC for Management & Business Studies and Transforming Working Lives said: “Not only are these project examples of excellent academic research that work closely with firms, policy-makers and key stakeholders – but they also have a real opportunity to lead to meaningful change in business and policy practices.”

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