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Workplace health and wellbeing: a mixed-methods evaluation of cross-regional workplace health initiatives including a cluster randomised controlled trial of a behaviour change intervention

Leads: Dr Laura Kudrna (Theme 6) with Kelly Ann Schmidtke, Lena Al-Khudairy, Laura Quinn, Richard Lilford, Paul Bird, Kate Jolly, Ila Bharatan, Graeme Currie, Magdalena Skrybant, Niyah Campbell, and colleagues from ARC Northwest London and ARC North East and North Cumbria

Dates: September 2021 – September 2023


It is important that employees of any organisation are well, both physically and mentally. Preventing problems with health and wellbeing at work can mean that employees take fewer days off sick from work, are more productive at work, and are less likely to quit their jobs because they are too sick to go to work. This project conducts research to understand how to prevent problems with ill health at work.

One part of the research will involve a cluster randomised controlled trial in the West Midlands. The trial will test the effectiveness of an established behavioural intervention called mental contrasting. Key aspects of mental contrasting include articulating goals and how to address barriers to achieving them, which our public contributors identified as important drivers of health behaviours. We will co-produce how the intervention is delivered locally and implement it in a controlled study with a group of organisations in Coventry.

Overall, the work environment is an important determinant of health, wellbeing, and health and wellbeing inequalities. Workplaces play key roles in preventing ill health. Our primary aim is to contribute to embedding a culture of health and wellbeing in workplaces that promotes the adoption of health-seeking self-care behaviours in ways that apply to diverse contexts, including COVID-19, and to diverse people, including different ages, incomes, and levels of wellbeing. We secondarily aim to undertake a cluster randomised controlled trial to explore the effectiveness of co-adapting an established workplace initiative.

Policy and Practice Partners:

Coventry City Council, Northern Trades Union Congress

Co-Funding partners:

This research is hosted by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration West Midlands. It is funded via the NIHR’s National Priority Area Research Programme 2020-23 via the ‘Prevention including Behavioural Risk Factors’ Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) Consortium. This Consortium is led by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North East and North Cumbria (NENC).

Research questions:

We have three research questions:

1. What are the mechanisms through which workplace health initiatives prevent context-relevant ill health and wellbeing outcomes? Lead: ARC NENC

2. How can workplace health initiatives help employers support their staff in the sustained adoption of health seeking behaviours? Lead: ARC NWL

3. What is the effectiveness of a mental contrasting intervention delivered through workplaces in motivating staff to change their health behaviour and wellbeing? Lead: ARC WM

Throughout, we will explore inequalities by looking at sub-groups according to differences such as age, income, and wellbeing.


Qualitative data will come from interviews and focus groups. Quantitative data will come from survey questionnaires. We will also review organisational documents and websites, such as the criteria required to achieve gold, silver, or bronze workplace health awards in different regions.

Main Results:




Implications for Implementation: