Focusing on employee health & wellbeing

Poul Steffensen
Head of Business Area Industrial, If

The health and wellbeing of employees are at the core of any company’s true success. A healthy workforce secures your business operations and keeps the work environment safe while helping to reduce the number of incidents and accidents. During the global pandemic, employers came face-to-face with new challenges that directly impacted employees and conventional ways of working.

As remote work was quickly adopted by many companies, new issues and questions emerged, ranging from conference etiquette to home office ergonomics as well as remote work health insurance terms and conditions. Although telecommuting has been around for years, this established way of alternating work in the workplace and teleworking has also brought with it a new concept - hybrid work.

The employer’s responsibility for the health and safety of their employee applies to all forms of work, including hybrid work. At its best, multi-location work supports work productivity and wellbeing. However, success requires different work practices, as well as an agreement about these practices between the employee and employer. Having clear guidelines and rules in place, will help create the foundation for success and support deliver of targets as well as adherence to legal obligations.

Challenges remain

An If survey, conducted in early 2021, mapped how employees felt about working from home in the various Nordic countries. The survey highlighted that longing for colleagues and a more fluid distinction between work and private life were the biggest challenges in life when working from home.

While some were mildly impacted by the pandemic, even fondly remembering the time spent with family during the lockdown, others have faced sorrow, heartache and serious medical challenges. Before the pandemic, we could already see that musculoskeletal as well as mental disorders were emerging as the most significant causes of sick leave.

Mental health is especially a growing concern. For example, according to the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, just over 20% of absences certified by a primary physician were due to mental health issues. In this issue of Risk Consulting we focus on health and wellbeing, and why prioritising employee wellbeing should be high on the corporate agenda.

As the Nordic countries begin to open up, we all have a role to play in the healing and recovery process.

Editorial, Risk Consulting 3/2021

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