Managing Director Mikael Laine of Moventas emphasizes employee well-being in his management philosophy: The most important priority is individual well-being and health. Next come a happy home and personal life. The third priority is work.
“Without personal well-being, and well-being of the people close to us, an employee cannot be fully productive at work. During leisure time you need to be able to recover and take care of your fitness. The last 9 months at Moventas have been so dramatic that if we had not paid attention to our own well-being, we might not even be here anymore,” Laine notes.
The importance of a good balance between recovery and stress was highlighted when the Management team took part in a Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment in 2010. The assessment was later expanded to other managers as well. The method visualizes health-supporting lifestyle factors in each person’s life and gives guidance for setting goals and making changes.
Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment, developed by Firstbeat Technologies, is based on heart rate variability measurement and gives accurate personal information about how the body reacts in different situations during work and leisure time. It tells when the body is under stress, when we recover, how we sleep and what kind of physical activity we engage in.
A couple of us had tried this measurement earlier. The results made us stop and we wanted to get it to Moventas, tells Maarit Herranen, Personnel Manager at Moventas.
Individual ways to handle stress and recovery
The Moventas management team took part in Firstbeat’s High performance coaching model to find out how concrete actions can affect their daily load and recovery. Information about physical activity was also of special interest to the team.
Personal well-being plans were documented in a SWOT chart. The team’s strengths included good fitness and liking one’s job, whereas too much evening work and irregular lifestyle during travel were listed as weaknesses.
Each person set personal goals and got support for this from the team and the Firstbeat wellness specialist.
“We all experience stress and recovery differently. During the group feedback sessions, we shared this information with each other and discussed what stresses us and what is our way to work and value different things. We also reflected on how we can pay better attention to recovery during our daily lives,” Maarit Herranen recalls.
“There was almost child-like excitement towards the results. The method was new and interesting. What’s best, we realized that we can affect our well-being with fairly small changes,” Mikael Laine describes.
In his own results, Laine was praised for good fitness and physical activity habits, which help him manage his demanding job. Some changes were needed in the area of recovery. Laine was already aware of the importance of a good night’s sleep. The assessment confirmed the need to ”slow down” well ahead of bedtime to ensure good recovery already during the 1st part of sleep.
“The days are usually long, so we should be able to have some moments of recovery during the work day. A peaceful salad lunch can be a good first step. Earlier I just kept going at full speed all day.”
Stress itself is a resource. Sufficient recovery and proper stress management can help keep it as a resource rather than turn it into a burden.
Learning to talk about recovery
According to Maarit Herranen, the well-being of management is important for optimal personal performance, but also to set an example and good practices.
“We should pay attention to keeping the employees’ overall load manageable. Work is not the only stressor in life. When facing new challenges and goals, time management becomes important. We need to allow success,” Herranen states.
Top management’s understanding of the factors that affect well-being was beneficial to their teams: the message about the importance of recovery and well-being as a package that covers all aspects of life was passed on and people started talking about it.
–”Before this, recovery was not talked about much because it wasn’t familiar to us even as a word,” Herranen continues.
She applauds Firstbeat for carrying out the Assessments. The measurement, personal discussion of results, group feedback meetings and follow-up measurements were carried out smoothly.
“The project doesn’t strain the organization. HR’s task was mainly to provide the names and addresses to Firstbeat. The service worked really well and we got valuable return for the money that we spent. At individual level, everyone got means and ideas for better life management. I don’t think many people recognize these things without this type of analysis,” Herranen reflects.
Having what it takes to take care of business
Herranen and Laine are satisfied that Moventas took actions to promote well-being.
“When you have the means to manage your own coping and overall load, you can be more ready for change. With us, the promotion of well-being resulted in better management,” Herranen states.
She emphasizes the need to pay attention to the individuals and support them daily, especially during periods of major change. Success experiences at work can carry you even during tough times.
Picture: Mikko Vähäniitty