Investing in wellbeing at work is economically sound practice, with a healthy employee being up to 25% more productive than one experiencing work-related exhaustion fatigue. This is the finding of a study conducted by Aalto University and the University of Tampere, which sought to measure employee wellbeing and productivity in Nordea. According to the study, open interaction between senior management, line managers, and customer service personnel improved their wellbeing and increased productivity.
The study's central claim is that the economic significance of wellbeing at work is clearly demonstrated by combining the level of measured productivity with a staff member's own assessment of his or her wellbeing at work and the factors that support this. The study surveyed the wellbeing of people working for Nordea and measured the productivity of those working in customer services.
‘Our research suggests that staff experienced an increased sense of work engagement and that exhaustion leads to them being less productive’, says Professor Markku Kuula from Aalto University School of Business.
‘When we are able to manage our own work and have development opportunities, we are more motivated at work. In recent years, we have seen a rapid rise in the digitisation of work in the banking sector, with people experiencing new technology as being burdensome, which can then lead to exhaustion. The individual needs of members of staff must to be taken into account when implementing new technology in the workplace and the competence of everyone must also be ensured’, Professor Kuula goes on to suggest.
The study’s findings also indicate that the work of line managers impacts upon staff wellbeing and productivity. In fact, the importance of open interaction between management and personnel was highlighted by the study. When employees feel they are listened to and the dialogue they have with their managers is effective, their levels of wellbeing and productivity are higher than average.
The study has made a significant contribution to research on working life and productivity in Finland and suggests that wellbeing at work is based on basic factors such as having the opportunity to shape our own work, a culture of openness in the workplace, and good leadership. Particular attention should be paid to these factors in an era of ever-increasing digitisation.
Researcher, Department of Information and Service Management
Aalto University School of Business
Tel. + 358 400 813 858
Planning Officer, Synergos – Service Innovation Centre
Faculty of Management, University of Tampere
Tel. + 358 503187838
An electronic version of The digital load: a case study on wellbeing and productivity in a financial services organisation will be available at the time of publication in https://bit.ly/2q5trEw. The study was funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund and Nordea Life Assurance Finland Ltd.