Expert tips

Involve the employees in work environment management

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Stress is increasing among employees and managers. At the same time, we are heading for an economic downturn, and we don’t know what the impact of this will be on companies and employees. Our Handbook for a Sustainable Working Life could be a great help to you as a manager because it has tips and advice for making day-to-day work environment management easier. A revised edition is now available, in both Swedish and English.

Work environment issues were brought to light during and after the pandemic and took up more space than before. Many of those who took the opportunity to work from home found that they were less stressed. New statistics from Försäkringskassan (the Social Insurance Agency) are now showing that sick leave caused by stress is on the increase again. The fact that stress is high among both employees and managers is confirmed by Falck Previa’s statistics in the report Stress at Work 2022, which show that one employee in three is feeling high-risk levels of stress.

“Behind stress and feeling burnt out there is always a combination of causes that can be linked to both the work situation and the life situation in general. The employer’s systematic work environment management needs to be owned by the whole organisation and built on wide-ranging involvement by both managers and employees. It is about creating a forum for participation and influence,” says Lena Karin Allinger, organisational consultant at Previa.

It is about creating a forum for participation and influence.

Prioritise work environment issues in uncertain times

A sustainable workplace is one which creates the very best conditions for employees to perform their best with the lowest possible risk of injury or illness. In uncertain times, we are exposed to more stress factors and it becomes even more important for work environment issues to be put high on the agenda. So now could be a very good time to look over procedures and put an extra focus on the health of employees and managers.

“Work environment issues are connected to the culture, values and behaviour in a workplace. There needs to be congruity between policy documents and actual activities, what we actually do and how we act. Without exception, work environment management must address concrete measures at organisation, group and individual levels in order to make a difference,” says Lena Karin Allinger.

Tips from Falck Previa’s handbook 2022

 

  1.  Take a holistic approach
    The purpose of systematic work environment management is to prevent risks and promote good health both at a general level and at the group/individual level, and it must encompass the physical, the social and the organisational work environment. A successful approach will require employees to be on board from the very beginning. The employer bears ultimate responsibility, but the best results come when employees are engaged. Employees also have a responsibility to report any shortcomings they discover in the work environment.
  2. Map out your present situation
    All workplaces are different and an overview of your current situation is always a good place to start. A work environment inspection or safety inspection is a good way to get a grip on things, no matter whether your work environment is a workshop or an office. It can also yield answers to what specific regulations apply at the workplace in question; for example if there are any requirements for medical check-ups, etc. The objective is to identify areas for improvement in the workplace and to lay a foundation for their implementation.
  3. Take the pulse of your health situation
    Invite employees to take part in a work environment and health survey to develop a solid basis for further work on the social and organisational work environment. The survey can be undertaken both physically and/or digitally and should be as exhaustive as possible to give a good overview of the total health situation. The overall values of the group are the most important outcome here and show where special focus is needed.
  4. Perform a risk analysis
    Based on the layout of the workplace and your employees, perform a risk analysis which pays regard to both physical and organisational/social aspects. Lighting, noise, ergonomic strain and chemical health risks are just some examples of things which have a bearing on the physical work environment. Stress, relationships and work tasks are all things which can affect the organisational/social aspect of the work environment. Begin by listing what can be found on site and what works before then considering what changes may be needed in order to minimise the risk of illness.
  5. Pay even more attention when undergoing change
    When your business or working procedures change, it is even more important that your work environment management keeps up. Increased homeworking in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic creates new risks as employees are now working from their own homes and must take greater responsibility for their work. Transitioning to an activity-based office or introducing new tools are examples of changes which should be accompanied with updated risk assessments to consider whether the change works for employees.
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Handbook for a sustainable working life

In Previa's handbook for a sustainable working life, we share our best tips with everyone who works for well-being and well-functioning employees and organizations.

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