Sustainability also relates to mental wellbeing. The waste sector employees and those working in the wind and solar energy industry are thus receiving increased offers for stress measuring and psychological support. And with the future EU requirements for sustainability, Lederne concludes that more companies will follow suit.
The EU will put forth new requirements in 2024 to make larger companies measure and report ESG standards for the environment, social issues, and management in the workplace. Meanwhile, companies will already begin to collect data this year, says the chief consultant from Lederne, Signe Tønnesen.
That is why the green sector, as a capital-intensive and safety-oriented industry, will likely lead the way in measuring workplace stress and wellbeing.
One frontrunner is Stena Recycling, the largest recycling company in the Nordic countries, which is embracing all types of waste:
“We are very concerned with safety, but wellbeing is increasingly becoming an equally important theme,” says the head of sustainability in Stena Recycling, Leise Marud:
“We need to prevent long-term illnesses and ensure a balanced and safe working environment as the foundation for our growth and development as a company.”
A better sense of the working environment
Every year, Stena Recycling oversees the recycling of six million tons of waste and expired products and supplies customers with raw materials such as steel.
In November, some of the 425 employees at Stena Recycling were offered, initially those in production, the possibility of measuring their mental health by using Howdy. In this way, the employees would twice monthly answer questions about how well they are doing, as well as their physical health.
If their answers showed that an employee needed help, this employee would be contacted by an external psychiatrist or physiotherapist, whom is a part of the staff of Howdy, to offer the employee a conversation or session:
“We have been used to having structures and tools in place to handle the safety of our employees to avoid work-related accidents. Now, we are prioritizing at the same level with regards to a focus on the mental wellbeing of employees,” explains Leise Marud when discussing the use of Howdy’s response unit, which the employees positively met:
“We experience it as an easy and simple tool, which can quickly and proactively be used. The solution helps us get a better feeling for the working environment and the wellbeing of our employees, and is, thus, an important part of preventing a pressured working environment,” says head of sustainability, Leise Marud.
Stena Recycling is one of many larger companies focusing on sustainability and green energy, which complements the focus on ensuring their employees’ positive energy and wellbeing.
An overview of the invisible
Among the customers of Howdy, we also find several large manufacturers of windmills and international companies in the same sector, such as Siemens Gamesa and K2 Management, which helps customers with advice and development in the wind and solar energy sector.
Manager for Health, Safety and Wellbeing in K2 Management, Rob McGill, thinks that it is a natural development that his sector, in particular, is leading the front and being responsible for the mental wellbeing of their employees:
“The projects in this sector tend to be very complex and tend to involve a lot of time pressure and huge safety risks. I believe that there is a well-cultivated understanding of the fact that the mental wellbeing of the employees has a direct influence on the decisions they make in the day-to-day operations. Thus we have a responsibility to plan for it,” says Rob McGill, who have been instrumental in implementing the Howdy app in K2 Management as part of their response unit:
“The advantage is that we as managers can get an overview of the hot spots in our organization, and thus prevent problems before they arise,” explains Rob McGill:
“Our mental wellbeing is often invisible to the naked eye, and it is thus in our interest as an employer to ensure certain mechanisms will make it easier to talk about issues and also seek the support and help you sometimes need,” says Rob McGill:
“I consider the matter as though we are keeping one step ahead by proactively reaching out to our employees and using Howdy as a sort of nudging mechanism, letting us focus specifically on wellbeing.”
A male industry with unique needs
As for the director of Howdy, Rasmus Hartung, it has become clear that a portion of large energy companies with employees on oil rigs, both domestic and internationally, in recent years have been asking about and utilizing the solution that Howdy offers:
“We have many employees with heavy hats around the world, some of which are being offered our solution. We are certainly experiencing an increasing demand that the mental part of our working environment is being evaluated equally compared to the physical part of employee safety,” says Rasmus Hartung:
“And we also hear that, in general, many men working these dangerous jobs tend to be less skilled at expressing how they feel – this is where our response unit can help them talk about things before it becomes too difficult.”
Wellbeing will need to be measured in the future
But it is more than in the risk-filled energy sector that managers should focus on ensuring their employees’ mental wellbeing.
Signe Tønnesen, chief consultant at Lederne, also predicts that many companies in the future will need to find methods for measuring workplace mental wellbeing.
“The EU will be putting forth a series of ESG requirements for larger companies in 2024, where the working environment is one factor that needs to be measured. These new standards are coming into force with reporting in 2024, but companies will already need to begin collecting data this year,” says Signe Tønnesen.
The ESG requirements cover the environment, social issues, and management, and in regards to the social aspect, employers will need to consider issues such as health and safety. Moreover, according to Signe Tønnesen, all companies, even small independent companies, must deal with this in the future.
“Compliance with the ESG requirements will be critical for business, but ensuring a profit through focusing on wellbeing and mental health in the company will also be critical. During the time of Covid-19, a lot of managers experienced stress, so if we are to make it through future crises, we will need to take better care of each other,” says Signe Tønnesen before adding:
“In this regard, Howdy is a tool, among others, and all good tools are useful because they help drive this agenda forward.”