Project 1: Workplace Redesign for Worker Well-Being: Blueprint for Resilience

Funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneering Ideas grant (2018-2020), this founding project investigates how workplaces can support employee well-being. We argued for (1) expanding the view of health to include a multi-faceted perspective on “well-being” and “resilience,” and (2) broadening the health-promoting strategies most commonly considered by employers and policymakers (e.g., employee wellness programs) to include a work redesign approach. Prior work has focused largely on the workplace as a venue for promoting changes in individual employees’ health behaviors (e.g., increased exercise, practicing mindfulness), whereas we focus on the fundamental role of the work environment itself in shaping health and well-being. The project focuses on workers across a broad range of industries and occupations, but is especially concerned with the well-being of low- and moderate-wage workers.

The core components of Workplace Redesign for Worker Well-Being project include:

  • A systematic review of studies of workplace interventions and their effects on worker well-being using transdisciplinary methods. 
  • A  health policy brief recently published in the American Journal of Public HealthThe brief proposes a model of job strain updated for the 21st century—Work Design for Health—that identifies strategies to reshape specific contemporary work conditions that are a root cause of stress-related health problems. 
  • A qualitative study involving interviews with employers and low- to moderate-wage frontline workers in three industries to explore effective organizational strategies and practices for promoting employee well-being. 
  • An employer toolkit (featured on this website) highlighting recommendations and guidance for employers on understanding and implementing a Work Design for Health approach in their own organizations.