Norwegian Occupational Health Report 2018

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Norwegian Occupational Health Report 2018

We have a good working environment, friendly colleagues and nice, bright premises — or so the job ads tell us. The ads tell us that the concept of working environment is diffuse for many, and is used to refer to a variety of things. After all, what exactly is a good working environment and what is it all about?

Perhaps usage of the term has become so unclear because it encompasses not only physical but also psychosocial and organisational aspects. Recently, however, we have seen some interesting discussions about what a good working environment actually entails. STAMI (the Norwegian National Institute of Occupational Health) and its Director General Pål Molander have helped to increase the focus by stressing that working environment is about how we work and organise our work. At Stamina, we agree with this and there is no doubt that it is profitable to strive for a good working environment. 

Good working environments make businesses more efficient and productive. STAMI has highlighted European research which shows that every krone invested in the working environment pays back 2.2 kroner. The NHO (Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise) congress in Oslo also focused on this with a theme on the value of work.

There are several recurring factors in scientific studies into what characterises a good working environment, and many of these are closely related to organisational matters. They include the employee’s perception of their ability to influence their own working day and whether their immediate manager is clear in expressing their demands and expectations. The Occupational Health Survey looks into these and several other crucial factors. As in previous years, we have put questions to 2,500 employees on half-time contracts or more. For the first time this year we have divided respondents into public and private sector. We can see several differences that are relevant in efforts to develop healthy working environments.

While the job ads would have us believe that a good working environment is something the employee should demand, with the renewed focus that has come about we also talk more about employees’ rights and their duty to help develop a good working environment. What we are talking about here is ‘employeeship’, a term I like. While ‘duty’ or ‘work duties’ often refers to something that is not particularly pleasurable, ‘employeeship’ focuses more on the positive aspects of what a person can do beyond their own work tasks to improve the workplace.

I hope this year’s survey will encourage further discussion about how we can develop measures that will allow businesses to organise their work even better — for the benefit of the individual, the business and society at large.

Read more about these topics:

Employeeship, commitment and change

Place demands, receive commitment

A leader is responsible for ensuring that employees direct their energy towards the goals the business has set. Many leaders ask themselves how they can motivate and inspire. Fewer reflect on whether they are placing clearly defined demands and expectations on their co-workers. They may therefore be overlooking a vital factor in creating commitment and results.

Transition

Realism lays the foundation for good process

“Realistic goals increase the likelihood of a successful change process. This does not come from a classroom exercise,” warns Organisational Psychologist Jan Norman Bjørkmo. He calls on several thorough, well-anchored risk analyses as a starting point for transition processes.

Risks and vulnerabilities in the workplace

What risk are you willing to take?

The word “risk” comes from “risicare”, which means “to dare”. How much risk do you dare to have in your workplace? The question is becoming ever more relevant in the current climate, which shows that risk is about far more than physical dangers. Have you taken the measures you can to create a safe workplace?

Lifestyle, work ability and sickness absence

Are you aware of your own vulnerability?

The same comment can create stress in one employee and be perceived as constructive criticism in another. Why do we perceive problems in the workplace so differently?

Sick leave monitoring in a 24-hour perspective

Sick leave monitoring in a 24-hour perspective

Employees in Norway are seeking balance in their lives, and they feel that good sleep and a healthy lifestyle are very important to their working ability. Occupational Health Nurse and sleep expert Lena Drange Nesland believes we need to consider the clear signals from employees in monitoring sick leave and think in a 24-hour perspective.

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