People, places and society

The relationship between the health, wellbeing and happiness of an individual and the demands of their work and career has become an important issue to employers and employees.

  • The phrase ‘work-life balance’ has crept into everyday speech, but is achieving that balance affecting how society functions?
  • Is there a link between personal wellbeing and material prosperity?
  • And what is the relationship between health, wellbeing, work and careers?
  • Are material gains being spread around society – and does it matter whether they are or not?
  • Automation has radically changed so much of how society operates, at work and at leisure – but is it making us any happier?

These are issues that researchers in our Centre are engaging with. Fundamentally, we look at the broad question of how well our society works, and our findings are applied to practical solutions in our work with a range of external bodies.

Our work has a strong focus on real-world issues such as migration, where we have been asking whether the differences between societies are driving the way people are moving between countries. It’s a matter that has had a major impact on society and politics, and our members visit Mediterranean countries to carry out in-depth interviews and large-scale surveys with migrant and non-migrant populations to extend our research.

Putting the theory into practice so that our work makes a real impact is vital to us. BCEF’s research was used by the Low Pay Commission to recommend the country’s minimum wage levels. Work with Bristol City Council to evaluate their Workplace Wellbeing Charter should have a direct effect on employment and health outcomes in the Bristol area.

A joint project with a Dutch housing association on the development of sustainable housing estates will have wider implications for housing development, while an analysis of employment and wellbeing for the United Nations and the International Labour Organisation is feeding into international policymaking and standard setting.


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