Special Issue "The Development and Evaluation of Workplace Interventions"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Occupational Safety and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Evangelia Demou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G3 7HR, UK
Interests: development; implementation and evaluation of workplace interventions; practice improvement; health promotion in the workplace
Dr. Maria Karanika-Murray
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Division of Psychology, School of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham NG1 4FQ, UK
Interests: determinants of workplace health and well-being; management of workplace health; job design and organisational climate; organizational health interventions; intervention evaluation methodology
Dr. Vaughan Parsons
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work, King's College London, London WC2R 2LS, UK
Interests: Workplace intervention development; Impact of hidden conditions and disabilities on work, management and execution of health research in workplace settings; Working with patient and public involvement representatives in research.
Dr. Elaine Wainwright
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department for Health, Centre for Pain Research, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
Interests: Work as a health outcome; Enabling people living with ongoing pain to have sustainable working lives; Lifespan perspectives on occupation in support of good health; Use of qualitative methodologies to contribute to improving wellbeing at work.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The workplace is a major setting that structures much of our daily lives and impacts on the health of the population and on the productivity of our organisations. Work and employment are key social determinants of health and social inequalities and are economically and socially important to individuals, communities and society as a whole. We know that good-quality work has benefits for health and wellbeing and that the organisation and structure of work and the workplace environment itself can directly impact (both positively and negatively) on physical and mental health as well as performance and productivity. At the same time, the nature of work (including job roles) and that of the workplace are rapidly changing. The current pandemic, along with agile and mobile working, technological advancements and automation and precarious employment, to name a few, are factors that have all contributed to short- or long-term changes to the nature and quality of work. These factors challenge the traditional conceptions and definition of work and workplaces but can also bring new opportunities and constraints for workplace health promotion. There is increasing recognition among employers that unhealthy practices and work environments can adversely affect the health and productivity of their employees. Therefore, workplaces, as physical and/or virtual and social settings, have the potential to create opportunities and the space for health monitoring and health promotion. Work organisations are conduits for population health, and workplace interventions can access large and relatively stable working-age cohorts, provide an opportunity to reach particular segments of that population and harness powerful setting-based social and cultural dynamics to bring upon positive change for workforces and the society.

We invite papers addressing topics on the development, implementation and/or evaluation of health-focused workplace interventions. Papers can be conceptual or empirical, but we especially welcome studies combining a high academic standard with a practical focus on evidence-based solutions for specific workplace problems, health issues and industries, as well as solutions that can be transferable across sectors. The aim of this Special Issue is to document how the field of workplace health interventions is moving forward. Therefore, submissions that build on and advance the latest knowledge and practice in the field are encouraged. 

Some areas of interest include:

  • What are the key future research priorities for workplace interventions?
  • Measuring the cost-effectiveness and cost–benefits of workplace interventions—building an economic evaluation framework for trial designs
  • Developing systems-informed workplace interventions
  • Implementation science: using evidence from workplace interventions to change practice
  • The role of process evaluation in workplace intervention research
  • Ethical considerations when designing and delivering workplace research
  • Opportunities and challenges in setting up and testing workplace interventions in different workplace settings (including gig/platform workers)
  • Scoping and designing novel workplace interventions to support workers with hidden conditions and disabilities
  • Designing different approaches to delivery health surveillance interventions in the workplace setting (e.g., dermatitis or respiratory surveillance)

Dr. Evangalia Demou
Dr. Maria Karanika-Murray
Dr. Vaughan Parsons
Dr. Elaine Wainwright
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Workplace-based health interventions, organisational interventions, primary, secondary, tertiary, workplace health promotion, occupational, evidence-based, health care costs, organisational change, intervention evaluation, process evaluation, health and well-being, performance, productivity, research-practice

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Using Co-Production to Develop “Sit Less at Work” Interventions in a Range of Organisations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 7751; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157751 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 361
Abstract
Prolonged periods of sitting are associated with negative health outcomes, so the increase in sedentary jobs is a public health concern. Evaluation of interventions to reduce workplace sitting have suggested that participatory approaches may be more effective. This paper describes the use of [...] Read more.
Prolonged periods of sitting are associated with negative health outcomes, so the increase in sedentary jobs is a public health concern. Evaluation of interventions to reduce workplace sitting have suggested that participatory approaches may be more effective. This paper describes the use of co-production in four diverse organisations. Workshops with staff in each organisation were conducted to develop an organisation-specific strategy. The first workshop involved creative activities to encourage participants to develop innovative suggestions. The second workshop then developed a feasible and acceptable action plan. An ecological approach was used to consider behaviour change determinants at a range of different levels including intrapersonal, interpersonal, organisational, and environmental-level factors. 41 staff volunteered for workshops (seven in a small business, 16 in a charity, 15 in a local authority, and three in a large corporation). Of those, 27 were able to attend the first workshops and 16 were able to attend the second. Whilst there were some similarities across organisations, the smaller organisations developed a more tailored and innovative strategy than large organisations where there were more barriers to change and a more diverse workforce. Co-production resulted in bespoke interventions, tailored for different organisational contexts, maximising their potential feasibility and acceptability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Development and Evaluation of Workplace Interventions)
Article
A Service Evaluation of the Military HeadFIT Initiative: An Implementation Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7375; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147375 - 09 Jul 2021
Viewed by 503
Abstract
(1) Background: UK Armed Forces personnel provide first response, support and protection during national and international disasters and conflicts. They thus have a psychologically challenging role which requires them to maintain a good state of mental health and wellbeing. HeadFIT is a preventative [...] Read more.
(1) Background: UK Armed Forces personnel provide first response, support and protection during national and international disasters and conflicts. They thus have a psychologically challenging role which requires them to maintain a good state of mental health and wellbeing. HeadFIT is a preventative initiative developed to help foster mental fitness through various self-help tools and resources online including techniques to de-stress and increase drive. This paper reports on an independent service evaluation of HeadFIT to examine feasibility and acceptability among Ministry of Defence (MOD) personnel. (2) Methods: Qualitative interviews were held with the HeadFIT beneficiaries, including military personnel and civil servants. The beneficiaries provided feedback on HeadFIT through questionnaires and interviews, and website traffic data were also collected. Qualitative data were analysed using framework analysis. (3) Results: Beneficiaries generally reported positive views on the HeadFIT initiative, with most agreeing that the tools could support them to foster their mental fitness. However, concerns were raised around the uptake of HeadFIT and participants suggested methods to improve usability. (4) Conclusions: Several recommendations were made to improve the resources, usability, uptake, and implementation and communication of HeadFIT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Development and Evaluation of Workplace Interventions)
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Article
Understanding the Implementation of “Sit Less at Work” Interventions in Three Organisations: A Mixed Methods Process Evaluation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7361; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147361 - 09 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 521
Abstract
Long periods of workplace sitting are associated with poor health outcomes. Interventions to reduce workplace sitting time have had variable impacts, the reasons for which require further investigation. In this paper, we report on a process evaluation aiming to determine the intervention fidelity [...] Read more.
Long periods of workplace sitting are associated with poor health outcomes. Interventions to reduce workplace sitting time have had variable impacts, the reasons for which require further investigation. In this paper, we report on a process evaluation aiming to determine the intervention fidelity of three “sit less at work” interventions and to explore barriers and enablers to implementation, using a mixed methods “before and after” intervention study design. Convenience samples of staff were recruited from three diverse organisations to participate in pre- and post-intervention online questionnaires, objective measures of sitting time (using activPAL3™ devices) and post-intervention focus groups. Intervention implementers and key personnel were also recruited to participate in post-intervention focus groups and interviews. The process evaluation found that none of the interventions were implemented as intended, with no consistent reductions in sitting time. Contextual and organisational cultural barriers included workload pressures and the social norms of sitting, competing priorities, lack of management buy-in, and perceptions of where the responsibility for behaviour change should come from. To ensure effective implementation of future initiatives, deeper organisational-level change, requiring buy-in from all levels of management and staff, may be needed to shift organisational culture and associated social norms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Development and Evaluation of Workplace Interventions)
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Article
Participatory Development Process of Two Human Dimension Intervention Programs to Foster Physical Fitness and Psychological Health and Well-Being in Wildland Firefighting
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 7118; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137118 - 02 Jul 2021
Viewed by 426
Abstract
Intervention programs designed, delivered, and evaluated by and within organizations are a critical component in the promotion of employee health and well-being and in the prevention of occupational injury. Critical for transference of findings across complex occupational settings is a clearly articulated development [...] Read more.
Intervention programs designed, delivered, and evaluated by and within organizations are a critical component in the promotion of employee health and well-being and in the prevention of occupational injury. Critical for transference of findings across complex occupational settings is a clearly articulated development process, a reliance on and evaluation of underlying theoretical foundations, and the inclusion of relevant outcomes emerging out of participatory action processes. To date, there have been no documented efforts outlining the development, implementation, or evaluation of human dimension intervention programs targeting wildland firefighters. The purpose of this paper is to outline the development of two collaborative and participatory intervention programs, targeting wildland firefighters’ physical and psychological health and well-being. Two human dimension intervention programs were developed in a collaborative, iterative and participatory process following the Context–Content–Process–Outcomes Framework. First, a physical fitness training intervention program was designed to maintain wildland firefighter’s physical fitness levels and attenuate risk of injury. Second, a psychosocial education intervention program was developed to mitigate the impact of psychosocial risk factors, foster work engagement, and decrease job stress. The current study provides evidence for the capacity of researchers and organizations to collaboratively develop practical programs primed for implementation and delivery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Development and Evaluation of Workplace Interventions)
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Review

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Review
COVID-19 Prevention and Control Measures in Workplace Settings: A Rapid Review and Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 7847; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157847 - 24 Jul 2021
Viewed by 581
Abstract
Workplaces can be high-risk environments for SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks and subsequent community transmission. Identifying, understanding, and implementing effective workplace SARS-CoV-2 infection prevention and control (IPC) measures is critical to protect workers, their families, and communities. A rapid review and meta-analysis were conducted to synthesize [...] Read more.
Workplaces can be high-risk environments for SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks and subsequent community transmission. Identifying, understanding, and implementing effective workplace SARS-CoV-2 infection prevention and control (IPC) measures is critical to protect workers, their families, and communities. A rapid review and meta-analysis were conducted to synthesize evidence assessing the effectiveness of COVID-19 IPC measures implemented in global workplace settings through April 2021. Medline, Embase, PubMed, and Cochrane Library were searched for studies that quantitatively assessed the effectiveness of workplace COVID-19 IPC measures. The included studies comprised varying empirical designs and occupational settings. Measures of interest included surveillance measures, outbreak investigations, environmental adjustments, personal protective equipment (PPE), changes in work arrangements, and worker education. Sixty-one studies from healthcare, nursing home, meatpacking, manufacturing, and office settings were included, accounting for ~280,000 employees based in Europe, Asia, and North America. Meta-analyses showed that combined IPC measures resulted in lower employee COVID-19 positivity rates (0.2% positivity; 95% CI 0–0.4%) than single measures such as asymptomatic PCR testing (1.7%; 95% CI 0.9–2.9%) and universal masking (24%; 95% CI 3.4–55.5%). Modelling studies showed that combinations of (i) timely and widespread contact tracing and case isolation, (ii) facilitating smaller worker cohorts, and (iii) effective use of PPE can reduce workplace transmission. Comprehensive COVID-19 IPC measures incorporating swift contact tracing and case isolation, PPE, and facility zoning can effectively prevent workplace outbreaks. Masking alone should not be considered sufficient protection from SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks in the workplace. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Development and Evaluation of Workplace Interventions)
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Other

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Study Protocol
Impact Model-Based Physical-Activity Promotion at the Workplace: Study Protocol for a Mixed-Methods Study in Germany (KomRueBer Study)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 6074; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18116074 - 04 Jun 2021
Viewed by 662
Abstract
There is great potential for the implementation of physical-activity measures at the workplace, especially in smaller companies. The present paper describes the study protocol for evaluating an impact-model-based multicomponent intervention promoting physical activity at the workplace within a cross-company network. The evaluation is [...] Read more.
There is great potential for the implementation of physical-activity measures at the workplace, especially in smaller companies. The present paper describes the study protocol for evaluating an impact-model-based multicomponent intervention promoting physical activity at the workplace within a cross-company network. The evaluation is based on a logic model focusing on outputs and short-term outcomes for the purpose of physical-activity promotion, physical-activity-related health competence, and knowledge about physical activity. A mixed-methods approach is applied. The quantitative evaluation is conducted as a natural design, and combines a retrospective evaluation of the acceptance, usage, and satisfaction (output) at the end of the measures, and two surveys that capture physical activity, knowledge about physical activity, and physical-activity-related health competence (outcome) of the employees in the form of a trend study. The qualitative evaluation comprises semistructured interviews to investigate knowledge of the existence of and attitude towards the content of the multicomponent intervention and the study. The challenges evaluating complex interventions are widely debated. Through an impact-model-based approach, the study will provide a promising framework for the systematic evaluation of a multicomponent intervention promoting physical activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Development and Evaluation of Workplace Interventions)
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