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Do Individual-Level Mental Health Interventions Improve Employees’ Well-Being?

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Many businesses are making efforts to promote workers’ well-being and numerous interventions are available at the individual and organisational levels. New research published in the Industrial Relations Journal found no evidence that individual-level mental well-being interventions like mindfulness, resilience, stress management, relaxation classes, and well-being apps benefit employees.

The study was based on survey data from 46,336 workers in 233 organisations in the UK. Across multiple subjective well-being indicators, participants in individual-level mental well-being interventions appeared no better off than other workers.

The study’s author, William Fleming, PhD, of the Wellbeing Research Centre at the University of Oxford, noted that organisational interventions – such as changes to scheduling, management practices, staff resources, performance review, or job design – may be more beneficial for improving well-being in the workplace.

“There’s growing consensus that organisations have to change the workplace and not just the worker,” said Fleming. “This research investigates well-being interventions across hundreds of workplaces, supplementing trials that often take place in single organisations, and the lack of any benefit suggests we need more ambition when it comes to improving employee well-being. I hope these results can spur on further research and employer action.”

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