Work Foundation event starts search for definition of ‘good work’ to improve wellbeing in the workplace

The first in a series of events that aims to develop a framework for employers to ensure their workplaces are healthy and efficient was held on 27 February.

The seminar, hosted by the Work Foundation, is the first of four on the same theme. Department for Work and Pensions minister Lord McKenzie called on the expertise of businesses, government and charities to discuss and agree what constitutes ‘good work’.

He said: “We know that good work is beneficial for individuals, communities, and the economy. But we need to figure out exactly what good work is, so that we can ensure workplaces are happy, healthy and productive.”

This might include addressing outdated work practices, increasing flexible working, cutting red tape, and promoting effective and open work cultures, he said.

At the end of the series, the think-tank will produce a summary report that will provide a definition of ‘good work’.

The events are part of the government’s Health, Work and Well-being strategy,  which aims to improve the health of the working age population, preventing work-related injury or illness, and providing rehabilitation support.

“Positive changes will reduce the number of days lost to ill health and injury, and allow people to remain in and return to work quicker. A collective effort is essential to achieve this – government must work alongside businesses, charities and healthcare professionals,” McKenzie said.

Last September, the government published an independent review, Is Work Good for Your Health and Well-being?, which concluded that ‘good work’ is beneficial for physical and mental health, boosting self-esteem and quality of life.

It showed that when people return to work from unemployment, their health improves by as much as unemployment damages it.

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