University of Hertfordshire

Well-Being and the Social Environment of Work:A Systematic Review of Intervention Studies

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  • Kevin Daniels
  • David Watson
  • Cigdem Gedikli
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Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2017


There is consistent evidence that a good social environment in the workplace is associated with employee well-being. However, there has been no specific review of interventions to improve well-being through improving social environments at work. We conducted a systematic review of such interventions, and also considered performance as an outcome. We found eight studies of interventions. Six studies were of interventions that were based on introducing shared social activities into workgroups. Six out of the six studies demonstrated improvements in well-being across the sample (five studies), or for an identifiable sub-group (one study). Four out of the five studies demonstrated improvements in social environments, and four out of the five studies demonstrated improvements in indicators of performance. Analysis of implementation factors indicated that the interventions based on shared activities require some external facilitation, favorable worker attitudes prior to the intervention, and several different components. We found two studies that focused on improving fairness perceptions in the workplace. There were no consistent effects of these interventions on well-being or performance. We conclude that there is some evidence that interventions that increase the frequency of shared activities between workers can improve worker well-being and performance. We offer suggestions for improving the evidence base.


This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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