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Improving the quality of working life at CERN

CERN has decided to fight stress, which can have negative health effects


Improving the quality of working life at CERN

As announced by the Director-General in October last year, a working group has been established to foster a better quality of working life at CERN and, in particular, to identify, remedy and prevent stress in the workplace.

This multidisciplinary working group comprises people from the Human Resources (HR) department, the Health, Safety and Environmental protection (HSE) unit and the Staff Association, as well as the Ombud. Part of their work has been to analyse the stress prevention measures taken by other organisations and firms across Europe.

At CERN, everyone knows that we have the Medical Service, the Ombud, the Staff Association and the HR department,” explains project leader and member of the HR department, Marie-Luce Falipou. “But we need to develop parallel mechanisms to enhance the quality of working life for all CERN contributors.” A three-pronged approach has been defined to achieve this aim: reduce stress factors, help people detect stress and cope with it better and, finally, provide support.

The working group will take stock of the situation at CERN by asking people to complete a survey that will be sent by e-mail, and by setting up focus groups. This will form the basis of a dedicated stress prevention programme that will be tailored to the Organization’s needs. Professor Philippe Sarnin, a specialist in the psychology of work and organisations at the University of Lyon, will provide his expert assistance throughout the project.

Work has great benefits for our health and our morale because it allows us to broaden our horizons and interact socially,” Marie-Luce adds. “But working conditions are key and can sometimes, regrettably, cancel out these beneficial effects. That is why it’s essential to promote the quality of working life.”


As part of the awareness-raising campaign, the HR department is organising a seminar on 2 May at 2:30 p.m. in the Globe of Science and Innovation, entitled:

The ingredients of well-being at work”

Introduction by James Purvis, Head of the Human Resources Department

Presentation by Professor Philippe Sarnin, specialist in the psychology of work and organisations at the University of Lyon.

Save the date and register on Indico: https://indico.cern.ch/event/721300/.