Contact centre workers experience disproportionately low physical activity levels and high sedentary behaviour levels, as well as an increased risk of negative occupational health outcomes such as anxiety and depression. Organisational culture factors such as strict work schedules and pressure to maintain productivity often impede the effectiveness of programs to reduce these health risks. Despite its significance, organisational culture is often overlooked during the development and implementation of workplace health programs due to its conceptually complex nature. The COVID-19 pandemic further complicated organisational culture-related associations to workplace health programs in contact centres. This study investigated how organisational culture influences the existence and effectiveness of workplace health programs in contact centres and if/how COVID-19 disrupted these associations. Fifteen interviews were conducted with contact centre managers and workplace health experts between February and June 2021. Findings indicate that employee wellbeing is increasingly being prioritised within contact centres, especially post-pandemic, and that there is a legacy of COVID-19 to learn from the spotlight that was placed on employee wellbeing during the pandemic to improve workplace conditions for contact centre employees. Further, to maximize effectiveness and support positive organisational culture change, these findings should be considered during wellbeing program planning, delivery, implementation and evaluation.


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Cite as

Manner, J., Steffan, B., Jepson, R. & Baker, G. 2024, 'Optimising workplace health programmes using organisational culture: Post-COVID perspectives from managers and workplace health experts from the UK contact centre industry', Journal of Industrial Relations. https://doi.org/10.1177/00221856241254134

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Last updated: 05 June 2024
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