CORDIS - EU research results



Reporting period: 2021-07-01 to 2022-12-31

Mental health issues in the workplace are a significant challenge in Europe, with work-related stress affecting 22% of workers in the European Union and an estimated 60 million lost working days per year. The H-WORK project aims to address this challenge by designing and validating effective multilevel assessment and intervention toolkits to promote mental health in public organizations and SMEs. The project has six specific objectives, including developing the H-WORK Toolkits, implementing them in intervention sites, validating their sustainability and adaptability, and promoting the H-WORK products and achievements through communication and dissemination activities.
The H-WORK toolkit comprises three protocols for assessing the workplace, developing interventions, and evaluating their effects, and has been successfully validated by the Consortium. Based on data collected from needs analyses, interventions, and policies in various European countries, the Consortium has developed an innovative platform and recommendations for employees, occupational health professionals, and European policymakers.
While data analysis remains a crucial phase of the project, the H-WORK project has already made significant strides towards its goal of promoting mental health in European workplaces with its innovative toolkit and platform, by providing evidence-based interventions and raising awareness of the importance of mental health in the workplace.
Work Package 1 (WP1) focuses on project management and coordination.The coordination of scientific activities within the H-WORK Consortium was primarily ensured through the General Assembly's oversight role of the Consortium's online meetings and the Steering Committee.
Work Package 2 (WP2) aims to develop a theoretical basis for the development of H-WORK Toolkits. UJI is the leading partner of WP2, and together with UNIBO, created data collection templates for each task, which are being delivered to the partners’ contributors to fill in with their expertise in the specific T2.3 and T2.4
Work Package 3 (WP3) develops and validates the H-WORK Assessment Toolkit (HAT) and to collect data in each intervention site addressing proximal, distal, and objective measures. NTNU developed the HAT and took leadership.
Work Package 4 (WP4) and Work Package 5 (WP5) are two interrelated work packages of the H-WORK project. WP4 focuses on implementing multilevel interventions at each intervention site, with the goal of developing and validating the H-WORK Intervention Toolkit (HIT) and collecting valuable experiences related to each intervention developed, designed, and tested through the involvement of researchers, managers, and employees. WP5 is responsible for evaluating the impact of the multilevel interventions implemented in each intervention site, with the objective of developing and validating the H-WORK Evaluation Toolkit and collecting data about the organizational context, mental models of participants, content and contextual characteristics of each intervention activity, and economic data.
The HIT has been developed and consists of interventions that have been designed and implemented during the H-WORK project, interventions gathered through the knowledge and expertise of the H-WORK consortium partners, and interventions commonly described in scientific literature. The HIT provides an overview of all interventions included in it and guides users on how to use it. Implementation of multi level interventions in Group 1 is completed. The implementation of the interventions in Group 2 is ongoing and the results of the multilevel strategies are due in M42.
The HET has also been developed, based on a systematic literature review, with a quantitative and qualitative process evaluation framework. The quantitative measures have been validated, and an evaluation plan consisting of quantitative and qualitative methods has been developed for each intervention site. The process evaluation has been conducted at 3-month intervals starting from start of the interventions, and the results have been reported in D5.3 for Group 1. The progress of process evaluation data collection has been monitored in Group 1 and 2 meetings.
Work Package 6 (WP6) is responsible for developing and validating digital support solutions for workplace mental health prevention and promotion, and releasing them to ensure their long-term sustainability. The digital solution, called the H-WORK Innovation Platform, provides open-access features and functionalities, including tools and ROI calculators, which can be freely accessed by employers, managers, and OHS practitioners. The platform has been developed and released, and a series of user tests is being planned to ensure its usability.
Work Package 7 (WP7) focuses on promoting the project's activities, policies, and products to the public and stakeholders. To achieve this objective, the partners established various communication channels, such as a website, newsletters, and social media pages, to disseminate news and material related to the project. EFPA contributed to the dissemination activities to health practitioners, psychologists, and national and EU policymakers.
Work Package 8 (WP8) is responsible for ensuring the proper management and security of data collected and stored during the project. The main objective is to protect the privacy and anonymity of all participants and organizations involved in the project and to develop a secure technological infrastructure for the databank in which data is stored. GETON led this WP and managed activities such as developing the Data Management Plan (DMP).
Overall, the project management and coordination, and implementation of actions in intervention sites are progressing as planned. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic required some adjustments in terms of research activities. The consortium successfully adapted to the new circumstances.
The project has conducted research in five European countries and achieved short-term impacts such as improved mental health and reduced sickness absence in the EU working population. The H-WORK Intervention Toolkit (HIT) offers information on 40 interventions to support mental health, well-being, and motivation in the workplace. The project has successfully followed its plan for exploitation and dissemination of results, including the use of coordinated project logos, websites, social media profiles, scientific papers, and e-learning courses to disseminate the project's outcomes.

H-WORK has the potential to have a wider societal impact beyond the workplaces that it directly targets. By developing and testing evidence-based interventions, H-WORK can provide valuable insights into how mental health can be effectively promoted in the workplace, leading to improved well-being, reduced absenteeism, and increased productivity. H-WORK can also contribute to reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health problems, promoting diversity and inclusion, and addressing the challenges faced by SMEs and public organizations in terms of employee well-being and retention. Finally, the innovative methods and tools developed by H-WORK can be transferred and adapted to other contexts and sectors, contributing to the development of new approaches to mental health promotion and well-being management with broader implications for the promotion of mental health and well-being in society.