As the authors emphasise in their overview of the key themes, such a tick box exercise will neither suffice nor change the status quo.
A sound antidote to superficial dabbling is needed and Marsh and Ward provide this by applying the UK's safety excellence lessons to wellbeing.
They start off by making the business case for implementing workplace wellbeing programmes and illustrate some of the pitfalls that need to be overcome first.
Although the book is aimed primarily at organisations, there is a chapter that focuses on the individual, and includes a useful five-factor model of happiness and wellbeing.
The authors follow this with five key lessons from safety for organisations and how these should form a key part of a holistic wellbeing programme. The section covers ABC or "temptation" analysis and grift principle. They also point out how compliance is discretionary and why a just culture is essential.
The section on non-technical skills is not new but reaffirms and reminds us that communication, coaching and other softer skills are essential.
There are some words of reassurance, that improving wellbeing is going to be a slog and results will be slower and less tangible than organisations may like, so managing expectations is critical. However, if the right metrics are selected it will be possible to measure the success of wellbeing programmes and set a clear direction for long-term improvement.
The authors have a wealth of organisational experience on which to draw. Marsh has worked as a consultant in safety leadership, safety culture and organisational culture; Ward is a chartered OSH professional with experience in industries as diverse as nuclear power, manufacturing and railways operations.
For OSH professionals (this author included) whose job titles have involved a greater emphasis on safety than health over the years, this book is an excellent resource. Readers will be familiar with the language used as well as the underlying principles. However, it is written in a way that is easy to absorb by individuals from a range of backgrounds and who are looking to improve wellbeing across their organisation.
One small observation: the book may raise a few eyebrows in boardrooms with its witticisms and cartoons. Overall, it's a valuable resource for anyone looking to get wellbeing right in an organisation.
Rating: Li, who is associate professor at the department of economics and finance and director of the sustainable real estate research centre of Hong Kong Shue Yan University, also pulls together case studies, literature reviews and interviews to support the material.
An independent report into staff wellbeing at Amnesty International has called on the human rights champion to help managers improve their relational and communication skills, emotional intelligence and ability to manage conflict after the working environment was described as often “toxic”.
People Power is very much a book that reflects its time; as its subtitle suggests, this really does feel like 'the era of safety and wellbeing'. In this respect, the author does a fine job of mapping out how the perceived momentousness of this historical milieu might play out in the real-life work environment.
A randomised control trial has found that office workers who use a standing desk alongside other interventions that encourage them to sit less and move around reduced their sitting time by an hour a day over one year.
A new report from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has underlined the need for stronger OSH protections in response to the growing focus on psychosocial work to support wellbeing and productivity, changes to working practices brought about by COVID-19 and technological advances in the economy.