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Distant management and well-being at work during distant working, Riitta Paalanen, Finland, SIGMA, 15 December 2020


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Presentation on Distant management and well-being at work during distant working, Riitta Paalanen, Special Adviser in HR, Finnish Customs, at the SIGMA webinar held on 15 December 2020.

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Distant management and well-being at work during distant working, Riitta Paalanen, Finland, SIGMA, 15 December 2020

  1. 1. © OECD Are HRM practices in your organisation resilient and agile enough to address the next COVID-like crisis? Distant management and well-being at work during distant working Riitta Paalanen Special Adviser in HR, Finnish Customs Virtual event – 15 December 2020
  2. 2. Support to employees during the COVID-19 pandemic In Finnish Customs, both those employees who have to work from distance and those who are working “in the field” in the ports, at the borders and at the airports are facing new challenges. During the COVID-19 pandemic, new tools are introduced to support the employees.  Tailor-made information, on-line training and psychological support about how to cope with the new situation are available on a special site on the Customs intranet.  Employees can also suggest topics that they would like to discuss in one-hour webinars “A Moment for Well-being” that are implemented together with external experts once a month. After the events, videos of the experts’ presentations can be seen on the intranet. Events have been very popular, around 100 employees participating in each.  A full-time well-being at work specialist is coordinating the activities in the HR 1
  3. 3. Role of managers in well-being at work Managing from distance is a new requirement for many managers. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, working from distance was already in use in Finnish Customs. However, the amount of employees in distant work grew sharply in March 2020. Managers’ role is to support the employees’ in fulfilling their tasks, to secure the overall performance of the organization and to maintain positive working athmosphere. It is crucial to give full support also to the managers:  Management Board has set common and clear rules for distant working in the whole organization  Training Unit is organising training in distant management and leadership (on-line course on Distant Management available)  HR is providing coaching and other individual support to managers when needed 2
  4. 4. Checklist for managers on intranet  Make sure that all employees working from distance know their tasks and time-tables.  Agree on the ways of communication during the distance working period. Organize common meetings and virtual gatherings to the whole team – e.g. reporting on the current situation - once a week (15-30 minutes) and more informal gatherings every week (virtual ”coffee breaks”).  Keep in contact regularly also with each employee individually – at least once in every 1-2 weeks. When people are working in isolation, there is an increased need for dialogue and motivation! 3
  5. 5. Why is well-being at work important?  Well-being at work is a result of fair and motivating management and leadership, of a safe working environment and of open and good working athmosphere where employees have possibilities to develop their competences.  Well-being increases the employee’s commitment to the organization  Employee who feels well is more productive, satisfied and innovative than an employee who is ill/feeling bad  Exhausted or frustrated employees might not be willing to utilize their competences and know-how to the fullest to benefit the organization, which eventually will be visible in customer service (inside and outside the organization)  In labour competition situations, the significance of well-being at work increases 4
  6. 6. Tools used for measuring the well-being at work In Finland, Ministry of Finance is providing the public sector institutions with a common tool to measure once a year the well-being at work of its employees. A common tool VMBaro makes it also possible to compare the situation inside one organisation, with the whole public sector and with the Finnish working life in general. -> When the results of the VMBaro survey are published, a process is started in Customs to make together with the employees a Well-being at Work Development Plan. The objectives are prioritized and plans are made to reach concrete results in the chosen development topics. Every working community makes their own plan. HR unit launches and follows the process and collects the plans. In June 2020, an additional Webropol survey concerning the employees’ experiences about working from distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic was carried out in Customs. -> Based on the survey results, all supportive activities were evaluated. 5
  7. 7. More information Riitta Paalanen Special Adviser in HR Finnish Customs