Barber Eric Mohammad and customer Mark Sims. Photo Credit: Cedars-Sinai's Smidt Heart Institute.

Sodexo, Harvard Win Federal Grant to Study the Health of Front-Line Employees

Sodexo (No. 6 on the DiversityInc Top 50 list), world leader in Quality of Life services, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health announce a new four-year grant aimed at finding new approaches to address the many ways that the workplace can affect health and safety of front-line employees.

The more than $2.7 million grant ,funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’sNational Institute for Occupational Safety and Health(NIOSH) as part of the Total Worker Health(TWH) initiative. The Center has an international purview as well in Brazil and Chile by providing technical assistance to build organizational capacity for designing, implementing, and evaluating Total Worker Health approaches.


The research will examine Sodexo’s front-line service workers across the Boston area. This work is based on a growing body of evidence linking the work environment with health outcomes. For example, stressful conditions at work such as long hours and little supervisor support have been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and depression, and shift work with increased risk of sleep disorders, obesity, and injury. These factors in turn contribute to increased absences and turnover and increased costs for employers.

“Of our 450,000 employees worldwide, 315,000 are employed in the food service sector. Sodexo wants to better understand the health and environmental challenges that those employees face on a day-to-day basis,” said Dr. Rachel Permuth, Ph.D., global vice president of research, Sodexo. “We hope to use the findings from this research to make industry recommendations and changes that will improve not only our employees’ quality of life, but that of a broad spectrum of employees throughout the industry.”

The Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing aims to protect and promote the safety, health, and well-being of workers through integrated worksite policies, programs, and practices that foster a safe and healthy work organization and environment and promote safe and healthy behaviors.The Center will work with Sodexo to expand the evidence on worker well-being and share industry recommendations.

“The collaboration with Sodexo provides an excellent opportunity to explore and understand the ways in which improvements in organizational policies and practices can benefit workers’ safety and health,” says Glorian Sorensen, Ph.D., director, Harvard T.H. Chan Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing at Harvard Chan School of Public Health.

The first year of the grant will focus on identifying factors in the work organization that can be feasibly modified through changes in management and organizational practices. The subsequent years will be the implementation and evaluation of practices to improve worker quality of life based on employee feedback, Sodexo policy, and the known evidence-based for improving health in this population.

Sodexo delivers more than 100 services across North America that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life. The Fortune Global 500 company is a leader in delivering sustainable, integrated facilities management and foodservice operations.

Learn more about Sodexo at its corporate blog, Sodexo Insights.

Latest News

Census 2020 map

Biden Administration Exploring Policy Changes To Make US Census More Accurate and Inclusive of Race and Ethnicity

President Biden and the U.S. Census Bureau are hoping to revive a previously proposed policy that would allow the 2030 survey to ask more accurate questions about race and ethnicity — and by extension, improve the quality of demographic data acquired and used toward policymaking, voting districts, and enforcing civil…

Starting a Family With the Help of Capital One

Originally published at capitalonecareers.com. Capital One Financial ranked No. 28 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Kevin and his husband Craig were ready to start their family. While they had a friend offer to be their surrogate, due to same-sex surrogacy regulations in their…

Achieving Your Goals With Capital One

Originally published at capitalonecareers.com. Capital One Financial ranked No. 28 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Daniel knew he’d do whatever it took to make his dreams come true. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Daniel grew up facing a lot of obstacles, including…

Rep. Joyce Beatty

Rep. Joyce Beatty and Voting Rights Activists Arrested During Peaceful Protest in Senate Building

Protests continue across the nation’s capital in an effort to rein in racist anti-voter legislation taking place in states such as Texas, Florida, and Georgia. And now, those efforts have progressed to the level where elected officials are getting arrested for supporting every American citizen’s right to fairly and legally…

United States Capitol building

New Study Shows Historic Diversity and Inclusion Within Senate Democrats’ Staffing and Workforce

Elected and federally appointed officials aren’t the only ones making government more diverse and inclusive. A new government survey has revealed that more than 38% of people working on the Democratic side of the Senate also identify as non-Caucasian. CNN’s Daniella Diaz and Ali Zaslav have reported on the survey,…