Workplace safety is generally well understood. It is framed by certified management systems and measured with key performance indicators. Also, employees understand the consequences of poor workplace safety. It can cause serious accidents and even loss of lives. Workplace wellbeing on the other hand might be more difficult to comprehend.
In the essence, workplace wellbeing aims to ensure that employees are safe, healthy, satisfied and engaged by reducing stress, injuries and work overload as a preventative action. As work consumes a significant part of most individuals’ waking hours, burnout and work overload are real threats that need to be taken care of before they cause serious harm.
Workplace wellbeing is significantly related to key organizational constructs. Functioning organization with clear roles and targets, as well as feeling a sense of purpose with one’s work, are essential elements of employee wellbeing.
“This has been well understood at Ahlstrom-Munksjö, where the global leadership programs are built under the principle that everyone deserves a good manager,” says Tarja Takko, EVP People and Safety, and continues “engaged and motivated employees contribute to better workplace atmosphere, increased efficiency, higher customer satisfaction and, at the end, more successful business.”
International Labor Organization (ILO) and World Health Organization (WHO) have jointly adopted a comprehensive definition of the aim of occupational health: “The promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social wellbeing of workers in all occupations”. Hence the scope of occupational health practice is expanding beyond the traditional occupational health and safety to also incorporate psychological and social well-being and the ability to conduct a socially and economically productive life.
Scientific evidence shows that in the long term, work related stress can contribute to musculoskeletal disorders, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases and lead to many other problems in and outside the workplace.
Many companies have taken into use programs that aim to encourage and help build healthy behaviors, not only in relation to stress, alcohol and drug abuse, but also a range of lifestyle issues including smoking, diet, exercise and mental wellbeing. They benefit both the company and the employees by improving long-term wellbeing of workers and their families increasing productivity and performance.
“At Ahlstrom-Munksjö, we promote healthier lifestyle to our employees through specific sustainable development goal theme days focusing on walking or travelling to work, and eating food that boosts one's energy levels in a more environmentally conscious manner,” Tarja continues.
Travelling to work on foot or bike instead of taking a train or bus not only gives an opportunity for physical exercise but also allows one to clear one’s mind. It integrates into the activities of our already busy lives without taking that much extra time. Also, during the COVID-19 pandemic, walking or cycling to work decreases the infection risk by reducing your contact with others while commuting.
From 22 to 26 June, 2020 is the World WellBeing Week. The week provides the opportunity for participants all over the world to promote an overall awareness for the wide-ranging aspects of wellbeing.