The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) wants employers to give line managers more flexibility and power to support workers' health and wellbeing.
It urged organisations to focus their attention on the benefits of improving the health and wellbeing of employees and to make it a key part of the workplace culture.
Employers should encourage new ideas, explore new ways of doing things and promote opportunities to learn.
These should recognise the contribution of each employee and if possible a flexible approach to work scheduling, giving employees more control and flexibility over their own time should be adopted too, it added.
The NICE draft guidance makes four key recommendations, all of which include encourage greater control for line mangers.
They espouse fairness for all employees across the organisation, sufficient training for line managers, positive and supportive attitudes towards employee problems, and flexibility where possible in work scheduling.
NICE Centre for Public Health director Professor Mike Kelly 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.
"Every workplace is different and the relationship between management and employee wellbeing is a complex one, dependent on numerous factors including occupation, sector and so on. However, there are some basic principles that should be applied by all employers, directors and line managers - these include ensuring the right policies and managements practices are in place," he added.
The four main recommendations in full are:
- Ensure fairness and justice throughout the organisation: Employers including managers should understand that all levels of management have an obligation to ensure that proper procedures and legal obligations are complied with. They should also ensure all policies and procedures are fair and equitable, and any unfairness is addressed as a matter of priority. Line managers should know how to signpost employees to support if the employee feels that they are being treated unfairly.
- Empower line managers to enhance employee's health and wellbeing at work: Employers including senior managers should:
Acknowledge that line managers have an important role in protecting and improving the health and wellbeing of their employees;
Give line managers adequate time, training and resources to ensure they balance organisational performance with a concern for the health and wellbeing of their employees.
- Develop a positive line management style: Line managers should adopt a ‘transformational leadership' style of management. This includes encouraging creativity, new ideas and exploring new ways of doing things and opportunities to learn. They should also offer support and encouragement to each employee to build a supportive relationship; acting as a mentor or coach; being open and approachable to ensure that employees feel free to share ideas; recognising the contribution of each employee.
- Ensure the way jobs are designed and general work patterns have a positive effect on health and wellbeing: Line managers should where possible, be flexible about work scheduling, giving employees control and flexibility over their own time. They should also encourage employees to be involved in the design of their role to strike a balance between the work demanded of them and their sense of control over when and how it is completed, given the resources and support available.
The consultation on the guidance is open until
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