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About this resource

This guide gives advice on the wide range of attempts being made to promote ‘well-being’ and as such does not cover the avoidance of injury and illness in traditional health and safety terms, as that information is freely available elsewhere. However, it will help reps tackle management when work and work practices are likely to be the cause of workforce ill health.

Download Work and wellbeing guide (PDF)

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Well-being’ has become one of the most over-used phrases in the English language. It helps sell anything from yogurt to holidays, pillows to pills. For some people the phrase refers to levels of happiness, while others think of it as a healthy body and mind. There is even a national well-being index intended to gauge the quality of life of people in the UK, as well as environmental and sustainability issues and even the country’s economic performance.

The lack of any real agreement means that in the workplace ‘well-being’ or sometimes ‘wellness’ has become a convenient label for almost any healthrelated initiative. That makes it difficult for trade unions to respond, especially when management sometimes uses ‘well-being’ as a way of by-passing union involvement. However, a positive approach to developing ‘good work’ that takes account of health and well-being can lead to improvements in both the health and quality of life of the workforce.