Wellbeing - Museums Association


We define wellbeing as the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy; wellbeing is affected by our experience of life and our experience of work. While we often look at wellbeing from an individual employee’s perspective, good workforce wellbeing is an indicator of a healthy and productive organisation.

Wellbeing is affected by a range of factors, for example autonomy and inclusion, recognition and support, and work design, including tasks and physical comfort and safety. From our research there were multiple examples of where these factors were missing in the experience of work.

Museums have a responsibility, ethically and legally, to create a safe and secure place to work for all employees and roles, both physically and psychologically. Wellbeing is affected by factors both within and outside of the organisation, which is especially the case for front-of-house colleagues who have the highest levels of interaction with visitors and communities.

For example, we should ensure:

  • Staffing levels do not place the collection, visitors, or other colleagues at risk
  • Enough time is available to complete tasks without undue pressure to deliver unrealistic demands
  • Resources are prioritised to address improvement needs, for example repair of facilities or interactives that may cause additional complaints or visitor dissatisfaction
  • Feedback and concerns are taken seriously, for example dealing with trespassing and vandalism
  • Front-of-house colleagues are supported when dealing with demanding situations, for example through policy, procedure, training and allyship
  • Risk assessments are carried out and that appropriate mitigations and training are implemented, for example so that staff are not placed in potentially aggressive situations, or that practices for late working are put in place, for example paid taxis home after an agreed time
  • Physical wellbeing is prioritised, for example providing access to water and seating as standard practice
  • There is a dedicated and comfortable space to take rest and lunch breaks, for example not being required to eat lunch outside in winter