VTT was designated Hyvän mielen työpaikka® (“Mental Health Friendly Workplace”) for the second time for its valuable work aimed at promoting mental health at work. The recognition was granted by MIELI Mental Health Finland.
The Hyvän mielen työpaikka® recognition encourages companies to promote mental health. The recognition can be granted for one year at a time to companies that support mental health through everyday practices and in the varying situations their employees have in their lives. In addition, to earn the recognition, the company must systematically manage the efforts to promote mental health. VTT is the first organisation in Finland to receive the designation twice.
Mental well-being is part of VTT's employer promise
Mental well-being is an important success factor for companies. Thriving employees achieve more, are more committed and better at finding solutions to problems. This helps work communities adapt to and recover from changes and setbacks and reduces the costs caused by mental health problems. For a company, a work community that supports mental well-being is an asset when recruiting new employees.
VTT carries out demanding expert work on the most important problems in the world. Employees may also be burdened by knowledge work in their free time, so taking care of mental well-being is particularly important. At VTT, mental well-being is part of the employer promise. Top management is committed to the matter, and employees have access to many tools that support their mental well-being.
“It is essential that there are tools for both preventing problems and practices for situations where support is needed,” says Peppi Härme, the leader of VTT’s well-being team. Preventive measures include, for example, information on mental well-being, which VTT offers, for example, via lifecycle learnings lectures targeted to employees in different stages of life, and in team workshops on well-being. Supervisors also receive support through peer-to-peer discussions.
Everyday practices support coping
The New Work @VTT programme, developing work at VTT, also pays attention to mental well-being. VTT's everyday practices have been renewed to better support coping and recovery. “For example, the whole organisation has an offline hour, a period without any internal meetings, reserved in their calendars. This gives everyone an opportunity to take a digital break, really focus on work or get some fresh air. We have also shifted to a 45-minute hour to give people an opportunity to take a break between meetings,” Härme says.
VTT promotes mental well-being in close cooperation with its partner network. For example, employees have access to Auntie services, which offer preventive help for coping at work, reducing stress, and so on. Through occupational health services, personnel also have the opportunity to attend brief therapy. Further support for well-being is provided by the well-being champion network consisting of VTT's own employees.
Results achieved, work continues
VTT's investments in mental well-being produce results: according to the latest occupational health report, the number of absences linked to mental health has decreased significantly. The share of long absences has also decreased. “The Hyvän mielen työpaikka designation is another sign of success. An external party recognises that we are doing valuable work for promoting mental well-being and going in the right direction,” Härme says.
The active work will continue in 2022. Mental health management focuses on supporting the supervisors, and we continue developing preventive tools and support processes for the staff. “We highlight the importance of mental well-being and encourage employees to make good choices in their everyday lives. In 2022, we will give special support for teams in post-COVID hybrid work and in strengthening community spirit.”