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Well-being at work during teleworking, Riitta Paalanen, SIGMA webinar, 15 December 2020


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Well-being at work during teleworking (incl. Webropol questionnaire), Riitta Paalanen, Special Adviser in HR, Finnish Customs, SIGMA webinar, 15 December 2020

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Well-being at work during teleworking, Riitta Paalanen, SIGMA webinar, 15 December 2020

  1. 1. 2 Rue André Pascal 75775 Paris Cedex 16 France Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 24 82 00 This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union (EU). It should not be reported as representing the official views of the EU, the OECD or its member countries, or of partners participating in the SIGMA Programme. The opinions expressed and arguments employed are those of the authors. This document, as well as any data and any map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. © OECD 2020 – The use of this material, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found on the OECD website page WELL-BEING AT WORK DURING TELEWORKING (INCL. WEBROPOL QUESTIONNAIRE) Riitta Paalanen Special Adviser in HR Finnish Customs WHY? What was the problem, what did not work? Why there was a need for such a solution? Well-being at work is important for several reasons. It increases the employees’ commitment to the organisation. An 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 organisation, which eventually will be visible in customer service (inside and outside the organisation) and in the overall performance. In a labour competition situation, the significance of well-being at work increases. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a totally new situation in society. In Customs, both those employees who are forced to work remotely and those who are working “in the field” in the ports, at the borders and at the airports are facing new challenges and also fears. What: Description of the tool/solution Advice and other support: Customs has invested in the well-being of its employees in many ways. During the pandemic, Customs has introduced new tools to support the employees. In addition to regular surveys concerning well-being at work, tailor-made information, training and psychological support about how to cope with the the new situation are available on the Customs intranet. The HR unit has provided information about how to cope with the stressful situation. This material can be found on the Well-being at work section of the Customs intranet. Under each topic an employee can also find links to additional information and, for example, to the services of the Occupational Health Care. The titles are: (1) COVID-19 is creating uncertainty and challenges for the well-being (basic information about psychological phenomenom during crisis situations), (2) Where to find support to cope with the situation?, (3) Services provided by the Occupational Health Care, (4) What else can be done? (which information channels to follow, importance of following orders given by the health care professionals and the employer, keeping up normal daily rhythm when working remotely, maintaining dialogue with others, remembering to reward oneself by doing something that one really likes, avoiding alcohol, helping others) and (5) practical advice concerning the importance of breaks during working hours and physical exercise after work.
  2. 2. 2 Measuring well-being Customs has been following the well-being of its employees by using an on-line tool since 2000. Regular surveys make it possible to monitor the changes in the well-being and the results of the actions taken after the previous survey. Today Customs is using the common tool (VMBaro) provided by the Ministry of Finance to measure the well-being at work of its employees once a year. The VMBaro Job Satisfaction Survey in an on-line tool to support the management and development of public sector organisations1 . It is administered by the Ministry of Finance, Public Governance Department. VMBaro has been in use since 2004 and the upgraded version since 2016. VMBaro has in total 40 questions that are grouped into eight categories: (1) Management, (2) Content of work and possibilities to influence, (3) Pay, (4) Skills and competences, learning and updating, (5) Operating culture of the working community, (6) Working and operating environment, (7) Interaction and communication and (8) Employer image and values. Organisations can also add their own specific questions to the survey. This tool makes it also possible to compare the situation inside one organisation, with the public sector and Finnish working life in general. Collecting feedback on distant work In June 2020, Customs carried out an additional survey on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its employees who are working remotely. The objective was to find out how to support the employees in the best possible ways. The survey was implemented with Webropol and it consisted of the following questions: 1. How have you succeeded in working remotely (in general) on the scale 1-5 (1=not well, 5=very well)? 2. How are the following functioning when working remotely: technology, work processes, work ergonomy, communication between colleagues, working time management and the balance between work and private life (scale 1-5)? 3. Open question: Is there something else that you have found good or challenging when working from distance? What results: what were the benefits of the solution, how does it work in practice, lessons learnt The Well-being at Work Development Plan is prepared after every VMBaro survey (this practice started in 2005). The objectives are prioritised and plans are made to reach concrete results in the selected development topics. Every working community makes their own plan. If no action is taken after the survey, the motivation to answer to the next survey drops radically. The HR unit launches and follows the process and collects the plans. The advice and support provided to the employees on the intranet can be used whenever a person needs to get more information or support. The material has turned out to be very useful, as can be illustrated by the results of the Webropol questionnaire. According to the feedback, the change to working remotely succeeded surprisingly well. The average of the answers was 4.2 (5 being the highest). One reason for this may be that Customs had already introduced distance working before the pandemic, although not on such a large scale. Very high scores were also given to the questions concerning the functioning of the technology, work processes, communication with 1 The questionnaire is available here:
  3. 3. 3 working community members, working time management and the balance between work and private life. The only topic where lower scores were given was work ergonomy. A lot of feedback was given in the open questions section. Some employees had problems with the IT connections. Many mentioned missing colleagues and the feeling of working together. Some also had problems in remembering to have breaks during the working hours. One additional challenge during spring 2020 was that school children had to study at home. Families had to organise new working and studying practices.