Out of mind, out of sight? Leading distributed workers to ensure health and safety

Karina Nielsen, Kevin Daniels, Rachel Nayani, Emma Donaldson-Feilder, Rachel Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Current frameworks of leadership are based on face-to-face interaction. A growing number of workers work away from their main location of work; this makes it challenging for leaders to ensure the health and safety of distributed workers. In the present study, we explore the relationship between line managers’ health and safety leadership and distributed workers’ health and safety behaviours. We also explore the organisational procedures and practices that may enhance the impact of health and safety leadership. We included a broad range of distributed workers (in analyses, minimum N = 626) from 11 organisations. We found that health-and-safety-specific leadership was positively related to distributed workers’ self-rated health, safety compliance and safety proactivity. These relationships were augmented by distributed workers’ sense of being included in the workplace. Knowledge sharing among colleagues was associated with safety compliance when health-and-safety-specific leadership was low. Our results indicate that one way of addressing the challenges of distributed working may be through line managers putting health and safety on the agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-191
Number of pages19
JournalWork & Stress
Issue number2
Early online date7 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


  • health leadership
  • safety leadership
  • safety
  • distributed workers
  • leadership
  • health
  • wellbeing
  • well-being

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