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JUHANI ARTTO
HOMEPAGE 2013

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Technology industry employers and unions work together to improve well-being at work

Helsinki (17.12.2010 - Juhani Artto) Well-being at work can be significantly improved in the technology industry. This conclusion marks the starting point of a new project in the industry that - with its 270,000 employees - plays a central role in the Finnish economy. Some 20 enterprises of various sizes and product sectors will participate in the project's pilot stage, which is already underway.

The logic behind the project plan rests on the assumption that when employees' begin to fare better and feel better about the work they do their motivation and work abilities also improve. And this lays the ground for extending working careers - a goal generally accepted and approved by society. Extending work careers not only means later retirement (or a higher age of retirement) but also healthier working years in the earlier stages of employees' lives.

The name of the project is "Good work - longer working career".

Better methods and tools needed

The goal of the pilot stage is to test and develop methods and measuring tools applicable in the promotion of well-being at work. The long-term goal is to create a method (for developing well-being at work) that also allows for comparisons to be made on the progress being made at various work places.

In 2012, once the pilot stage has been completed the project will be expanded and will reach hundreds of enterprises. Indeed, the initial steps have exceeded all expectations since many more enterprises wanted to participate in the pilot project than could be accommodated.

The project itself is a combined effort conceived by The Federation of Finnish Technology Industries, three trade unions ( The Metalworkers' Union, The Union of Salaried Employees TU and ERTO) and YTN, the bargaining organ of senior salaried employees' unions. The decision to carry out this ambitious project is included in the collective agreements signed by these organizations.

Quick results possible

"The best guarantee for well-being at work is a good foreman. He or she is able to see the connections between work, personnel and enterprise and see the entirety they constitute", says Juhani Ilmarinen who is responsible for the project plan. He is an internationally recognized expert on working life issues.

Ilmarinen wants attention to be directed primarily at employees that do
not fare well. In small and medium size enterprises up to 40 per cent of
employees may belong to this group. In respect of the latter the project
may advance quickly towards a noticeably positive results, Ilmarinen enthuses. The project is due to last at least three years.

Past experiences to improve well-being at work indicate that
investments in this endeavour may lead to threefold higher returns.

Sources: Pro, the magazine of the TU, and Ahjo, the magazine of
Metalworkers' Union