In terms of well-being, there were big differences between workplaces in the Covid-19 spring

09.09.2020 | News


For many supervisors and experts, the Covid-19 spring affected the way they work and the realization of work ergonomics – some positively, others negatively.

At the beginning of June, we conducted a survey on the current situation in the workplaces of YTY members. There were close to 1,000 responses. Last spring affected our members in many different ways. For example, the workload may have decreased (14% of respondents) or increased (24% of respondents). If work decreased, the most common consequence was lay-offs (73%). 15% of the increase in workload was explained by the lay-off or dismissal of colleagues or the fact that substitutes were not hired. 62% of the increase was due to the fact that there was more work to do.

Although the transition to remote working went otherwise quite well, for many working time monitoring was difficult to adjust to working from home. Half of the respondents were able to record the overtime hours. The open responses emphasized the inflexibility of different working time monitors for working from home, which meant that long working days went unrecorded. Otherwise, the experience of working from home was quite varied. Many found a comfortable work rhythm when the home office lacked the interruptions brought by the open-plan office. Similarly, several reported that the breaks were forgotten, the days were longer, and the increase in workload was out of control.

Agreements and ‘agreements’

Various agreements were made in some workplaces in good co-operation, while in other workplaces the terms were dictated. About half of the respondents entered into remote work agreements, some switched to remote work without a separate agreement and some already had a remote work agreement. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of respondents working from home increased by 82%.
“This reflects the fact that there has only been a shift to working from home, rather than an agreement on how to implement it and its principles. A written agreement gives the employee protection because then there is a common view on the recording of hours worked, for example. A written agreement ensures that occupational safety and ergonomics have been considered and insurance issues have also been clarified,” says Karoliina Huovila, YTY's Labour Market Director.
Almost one in three agreed to exchange holiday pay for days off. There is no direct comparison figure for this at YTY, but we estimate that under normal circumstances, most people want their holiday pay as money or that it has not even been possible to exchange it for days off in the past. One in ten entered into working time agreements and 7% of respondents agreed to waive or transfer benefits.

Differences in ergonomics

During the pandemic, 78% of workplaces introduced new tools or methods. New tools or methods increased the workload for 23% of respondents. Well-being at work has been threatened during the Covid-19 pandemic for one in four of the respondents.
“This figure set off alarm bells at YTY. Of course, the situation came quickly, but it must be remembered that well-being at work is the responsibility of the employer. The employer has an obligation to address the increased workload. The fear is that the workload factors will remain permanent,” says Karoliina Huovila.
Only just over half of those working from home were satisfied with the ergonomics of remote working. Of these satisfied respondents, three out of four either received ergonomic support equipment acquired by their employer or did not feel they needed anything more.
One in ten respondents did not work remotely. They were evenly distributed in different positions and companies of different sizes, but relatively more outside Uusimaa than in Uusimaa.

The Association for Managers and Professionals YTY's survey was answered by 964 YTY members. The survey was sent only to those Finnish-speaking members of YTY who do not belong to member associations. Hence, there are no pilots or sports coaches among the survey respondents, for example.

Analysis and text Leena Vänni


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