A healthy and satisfied personnel is your company’s most important resource and a vital aspect of success. Once you have identified any work ability risks concerning your personnel and development needs in terms of your company’s operational methods, you will be able to optimise the required measures. Surveying your company’s work ability risks takes only about 10 minutes.
Elo’s work ability risk indicator provides you with a detailed report on your company’s current work ability risks and a related list of development suggestions. You can use these to implement targeted measures to proactively develop those areas that are most in need. It’s a great way to prevent, in advance, any possible challenges to work ability.
The results of successful work ability management are directly reflected in your company’s productivity. Motivated and able personnel are committed to their work and employer. The costs of absences due to illness and disability pensions are kept in check.
For the purpose of creating the work ability risk indicator, Elo drew on the data on work ability challenges and successful solutions experienced by multiple companies over a period of several years. Take advantage of our tips as part of the development work carried out by your company.
Disturbances at work or an employee’s illness or symptoms may pose a work ability risk, if, as a result, they have a continuous detrimental effect on daily activities or the ability to work, or they lead to absences due to illness. This scenario refers to short periods of absence for which a sickness allowance is granted.
A serious illness or prolonged and escalated work ability risk can give rise to a threat of work disability and possible retirement on disability pension.
Risks may arise from work- or employee-related factors. Certain fields are also especially vulnerable to work disability risk. Such fields include:
- Social services and health care
- Other service functions
Certain aspects of the work increase work disability risk:
- Night work and shift work with the time between shifts <11h
- Continuous long work shifts of >40h/wk
- Physically demanding work with minimal opportunities for influence
- Mentally demanding work with minimal opportunities for influence
- Leadership problems
- Change situations in which the employees have minimal opportunities for influence
- Poor work atmosphere and conflict situations within the work community
Employee-related factors that increase work disability risk:
- Self-perceived poor health
- Chronic illnesses
- >8 days of absence due to illness during the past year
- Low level of education
- Sleep problems
- Female gender
- Age (55+)
1. Employers have a general duty to exercise care for their employees’ safety and health at work (Occupational Safety and Health Act, 738/2002). For this purpose, employers shall consider the circumstances related to the work, working conditions and other aspects of the working environment as well as the employees’ personal capabilities. Employers shall also design, choose, dimension and implement the measures necessary to improve the working conditions. The employer must continuously monitor the work environment, the status of the work community and the safety of the work methods. Employers shall also monitor the impact of the implemented measures on safety and health at work.
2. Employers have an obligation to promote the health, work ability and functional capacity of employees throughout the different stages of their working careers, and the functioning of the workplace community (Occupational Health Care Act, 1383/2001). Activities intended to maintain work ability refer to systematic and purposeful activities concerning work, working conditions and employees. Arranged through co-operation, these activities are used by occupational health care to contribute to the promotion and support of the working and functional capacity of those in working life.
3. Work disability is costly. Already before the need for sick leaves, different types of pain and mental health issues cause presenteeism, that is, working while sick. This phenomenon is estimated to cost around €1,590/employee on an annual basis. The costs that employers accrue from absences due to illness are significant. According to the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK, the average overall cost for an absence due to illness is €300 euro/day. Prolonged absences due to illness increase the disability risk, which, for large-scale employers, brings additional costs resulting from the premium category model of the pension scheme. The younger the employee is and the larger their salary, the higher the pension expenditure to be paid by the employer. For example, if a 40-year-old employee with a salary of €4,000/month retires on disability pension, this would result in a pension expenditure of nearly €300,000 for the employer. Furthermore, work disability is a personal tragedy for the individual and significantly affects their livelihood.
4. A healthy and satisfied personnel is more productive.
Many studies show that healthy, satisfied and motivated employees are more effective and creative at work.
Work ability management refers to good, everyday leadership that involves performance management, an ability to proactively raise issues related to work ability and to take full advantage of the expertise provided by partners, such as your occupational health care provider and Elo.
Work ability management that helps to achieve financial results requires that:
- The obstacles to co-operation caused by the nature of the work or the organisational model have been minimised. The action models to support work ability have been mutually agreed on between the employers and employees. The company co-operates with an occupational health service in order to anticipate and prevent work ability risks.
- The company’s strategy is put into practice as concrete goals that are visible in the company’s activities. Action methods and responsibilities that support work ability shall be clear, and the threshold for raising issues shall be low.
- The company is capable of implementing measures in a way that specifically targets the key disability risks of the personnel. In addition to the prevention of accidents, the company also focuses on decreasing absences due to illness.
- The company has achieved functional communications between relevant parties and coordination of activities. In order for this to be realised, the company needs to assign a person within its operational management who will coordinate work ability issues and serve as an information gatherer and conveyor for upper management, e.g., supervisors.
- The company has the possibility to realise temporary work arrangements that would enable an employee with a partial work ability to continue working, and the return to work after an extended sick leave can be managed smoothly within the limits allowed by the person’s work ability.
- The early support model is utilised throughout the entire company and support is provided early on in cases where challenges concerning work ability have arisen.
- Vocational rehabilitation is taken into use at the right time.