The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is developing guidelines to help employers improve the health and wellbeing of their workers.
The guidelines, currently still in draft form, recommend adopting flexible work patterns and giving line managers a greater role and responsibility in this area, as well as better training.
Job design and general work patterns and the working environment should also be factors under consideration, as these can have an effect on health and wellbeing, NICE has argued.
This should include ensuring that line managers have the power to be flexible, within reason, around work scheduling, so as to give employees more control over their working time.
For senior management, it has recommended that executive teams ensure they are familiar with the business case for improving health and wellbeing and that this is included in all corporate and recruitment policies.
Professor Mike Kelly, director of the centre for public health at NICE, said: “Employers and managers need to recognise the value and benefits of a healthy workplace and what a difference it can make, not only to their employees, but to the productivity of their business
“Each year more than a million working people in the UK experience a work-related illness. It is not only the physical hazards of work – long irregular hours, lack of activity or repetitive injuries – that damage people’s health. Other factors such as lack of control over work, conflicts and discriminatory practices can also have an effect.”