Investment in workers’ wellbeing could boost world economy by 9%

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More than 100 delegates from 22 countries attended the annual Global Healthy Workplace Summit at the University of Northampton this month.

Now in its 11th year, the three-day conference (30 Aug to 1 Sept) brought together businesses and organisations to learn from the best in the field and to take steps to improve the health, wellbeing, and safety of their employees.

In her keynote speech, Professor Dame Carol Black DBE (former government advisor on workplace health), said global events had accelerated the pace of change in workplace practices and that poor management of people led to unhealthy work environments which studies showed cost the global economy $8.8 trillion or 9% of GDP.

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She quoted the work of Richard Donkin whose 2010 vision for the future saw an increasing blur between the home and office, that workers would want more autonomy, that emotional intelligence would be as important as technical mastery and that health and wellbeing of workers would be essential for success.

The 11th Global Healthy Workplace SummitThe 11th Global Healthy Workplace Summit
The 11th Global Healthy Workplace Summit

Dame Carol argued COVID, war and the cost-of-living crisis had led those changes to evolve sooner than expected and presented the latest research from around the world spelling out the trends and how employees and employers have responded to them.

She said greater investment was needed in the occupational health profession and concluded: “I do think there’s a different emphasis on what leaders should do, what managers should do, but I would agree with this quote, ‘people not assets make organisations thrive,’ and that really is the global message going forward."

UON Vice Chancellor, Professor Anne-Marie Kilday said: “I am delighted that Northampton was chosen for the venue for this prestigious international event which explores a topic of importance to us all; the creation, sustenance, and recognition of healthy workplaces.

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"In a world that is constantly evolving, where the dynamics of the workplace are undergoing rapid change, the significance of fostering environments that promote the wellbeing of employees, and celebrating them, cannot be overstated."

Barry Crisp, Marketing Director for the Global Centre for Healthy Workplaces and Lecturer in Marketing and Entrepreneurship at UON said the highlight of the summit was the Global Awards Finalist presentations.

He said: "We were inspired by the stories of the organisations that are leading the way in workplace wellbeing.

"These organisations are making a real difference to the lives of their employees, and they are setting a new standard for what it means to be a healthy workplace.

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"The ideas and insights that were shared will help organisations all over the world to create healthier, safer, and more productive workplaces.

"We are grateful to everyone who attended the summit, and we look forward to continuing the conversation at next year's summit."

Global Awards Finalists:


  • Copel Foundation (Brazil) - WINNER
  • Wolfpack Digital (Romania) - finalist/runner up

Large Enterprise

  • Abbott (Brazil) - finalist/runner up
  • TLC Healthcare (Australia) - WINNER

Multinational Enterprise

  • Mars (USA) - WINNER
  • Tata Consultancy Services (India) - finalist/runner up

For more information on the awards, a summary of the summit and information on the speakers, visit the Global Centre for Healthy Workplaces website.