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January 2024

Evidence on reducing burnout among frontline workers: a literature review

Evidence on reducing burnout among frontline workers: a literature review

About the report

The overwhelming majority of services to support people experiencing homelessness depend on frontline workers for their delivery. In a battle for evidence based interventions to tackle homelessness, and ensuring that it is rare, brief, and non-recurring, it is essential that frontline workers are able to deliver these interventions – something which is hampered by low wellbeing and high burnout among these workers. 

This review forms part of an ongoing research project conducted by the What Works Centre for Wellbeing (WWCW), in partnership with the Centre for Homelessness Impact (CHI), which looks at what the evidence says about how to bolster frontline worker wellbeing, with a particular focus on workers in the homelessness sector. This project is being funded by St Martin-in-the-Fields, a leading homelessness charity. 1 What Works Centre for Wellbeing (2023, September). What works to reduce burnout in frontline workers?.

The ‘Frontline Worker Wellbeing Project’ has two main strands of work: 

  1. A literature review:
    – to consolidate the evidence on trials that can improve wellbeing and reduce burnout among frontline workers.
    – to identify promising light-touch, ‘nudge’-type interventions that can be implemented, given budget constraints, at low cost in the UK-context. 
  2. The design and implementation of a light-touch intervention aimed at reducing burnout among frontline staff working in the UK homelessness sector. 

This report presents findings from the literature review strand of the ‘Frontline Worker Wellbeing Project’, focusing on: 

  • Why workplace wellbeing matters for frontline workers. 
  • High-quality evidence from wellbeing interventions aimed at reducing burnout in frontline workers. 
  • Recommendations for future research and practice, including trial implementation in the UK homelessness sector. 
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