The concept of wellbeing at work is not consistent across all European countries, yet country-specific differences should be acknowledged, according to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA).
The EU-OSHA added that the promotion of consistent measurement of workplace wellbeing would be helpful in moving forward with the concept in Europe.
In its report Wellbeing at Work: Creating a Positive Work Environment, the EU-OSHA explored the different approaches to and interpretations of wellbeing across countries within Europe.
According to the findings, just over a third of respondents claimed that an official definition for wellbeing in the workplace was in place within their country, with as many as 11 different terms used to describe the concept across the countries surveyed.
The most commonly used terms included job satisfaction, good/fair working conditions, quality of work and health at work.
However, there were challenges faced in workplace wellbeing that resonated equally across all countries, including social problems and stress due to the financial crisis, the poor health of the general population and keeping momentum in tough economic times.
In general, respondents agreed that wellbeing at work encompassed physical and mental wellbeing, psychosocial issues and the working environment.
Yet in terms of how much focus was allocated to issues within wellbeing, return to work, training and equality received less attention, while health promotion, musculoskeletal disorders and health surveillance was more heavily prioritised.
While the EU-OSHA noted that previous research had acknowledged the term ‘wellbeing at work' ill-defined, it added that many of the factors by which it was assessed lacked a consistent and universally accepted definition.
Going forward, the EU-OSHA urged organisations to:
- aim for a holistic approach when promoting the concept of workplace wellbeing
- acknowledge the concept as ever-changing and dynamic
- promote consistent measurement of wellbeing at work
- acknowledge the linguistic, cultural and country-specific differences.
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