UCL News


UCL Human Resources is changing: Occupational Health & Wellbeing

4 February 2016

One of the key messages in UCL 2034 is that the quality and commitment of our staff is critical to the success of UCL.

Quad lit Investing in our staff wellbeing was at the foundation of our thinking when restructuring UCL Human Resources.

We identified a number of measures that we needed to focus on to help create a happy, healthy and more productive workplace. In November 2015, Karen Smith was appointed as Wellbeing Consultant, sitting with Occupational Health, to develop a wellbeing strategy for staff and students at UCL.

Occupational Health exists to advise managers and employees on health issues that impact on the workplace as well as workplace issues that may impact health. Historically, the focus has been more on the individual. With Karen's appointment, we are developing a strategy that will enable to expand on this, supporting a cultural change that will enhance the wellbeing of the organisation as a whole. To reflect this development, the name of Occupational Health has changed to Occupational Health and Wellbeing (OHW) to put more focus on attention moving to a more holistic approach to health promotion, disease prevention and wellbeing generally across UCL.

The wellbeing strategy is due to be launched later this year and will focus on a number of different outcomes, with guidance for all, to support wellbeing for everyone within the UCL community. This will enable the University and the people within it to create an environment to promote a state of contentment which allows an employee to flourish, engage and achieve their full potential.

There are a number of definitions on 'wellbeing' but it can be best described as good health promotion, supporting positive working environments, increasing physical activity, improving mental wellness, lifestyle and health education. There will be a number of focus groups running throughout March, if you'd like to be involved please contact Karen directly.

Finally, OHW have recently collaborated with the Equalities and Diversity Team as well as academics in the Faculty of Brain Sciences, on new Guidance for UCL Managers on Mental Health. The guidance includes practical advice on how managers can provide a supportive environment for staff and recommendations on reasonable adjustments for staff experiencing mental health difficulties. The guidance will be launched by Professor David Lomas, Vice Provost (Health) at a special event, featuring the Poems for project, on 18 February at 6pm. Please contact equalities@ucl.ac.uk for more information and to register.