1684a Review of reviews on the effectiveness of workplace wellbeing programmes

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According to the world health organisation, workplace health programmes are one of the best ways to prevent and control chronic disease, and also to support mental health. There are over 2 million people employed in Ireland and this literature review informed the development of a national healthy workplace framework for ireland.


The search strategy involved a keyword search of peer-reviewed databases of relevant subject areas (pubmed, econlit, psycinfo) and study type (cochrane library) supplemented by hand searches and selected citation searches. Included studies were systematic reviews or meta-analyses of a workplace intervention in the areas of nutrition and/or physical activity, mental health, smoking cessation and alcohol interventions, or health promotion. Evidence on outcomes across reviews was synthesised as ‘strong’ if the conclusion of at least two meta-analyses, ‘moderate’ if the conclusion of the one meta-analysis found, and ‘some’ if no pooled estimates, but the conclusion of the systematic review(s) found.


A range of measures of effect are used; they fall into the three broad categories of health behaviours, health outcomes, and economic or organisational outcomes. Most of the evidence from meta-analysis is on health outcomes, followed by organisational outcomes, and finally, health behaviours. In terms of health behaviours, there is strong evidence of a favourable impact on physical activity and fitness, and smoking cessation, while some evidence of a favourable effect on fruit and vegetable intake and dietary behaviour. With regard to health outcomes, there is strong evidence for a favourable impact on weight and BMI, stress/distress, anxiety and depression, and mental wellbeing. Examining organisational outcomes shows there is strong evidence of a favourable effect on work ability and sickness absences, while there is moderate evidence for task completion, supervisor’s rating, job satisfaction, productivity, and work attendance.


Overall, there is strong evidence of a favour effect of workplace programmes on health behaviours, health outcomes, and organisational outcomes.


ˆ This presentation is based on a report, Rapid Review of Evidence on Workplace Wellbeing Programmes: Effects, Costs and Benefits, Organisational Factors and Policy Mechanisms, by Robert Murphy, Emma O’Donoghue, Claire Doyle, and Carol Taaffe, Department of Health, Ireland. All authors contributed to the content on which this abstract is based, and all authors agree to this abstract being published.

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