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Health – a competitive factor in the laboratory

The project Healthy growth

 

With tough competition, even within the company itself, the well-being of the staff plays a increasingly important role for effectiveness. The project Healthy growth provides skills development for the employees within health matters so that they can improve their productivity at the laboratory company Eurofins.
 

“We never thought of applying for EU money, it was a coincidence,” says Ingrid Fasth, project manager for Healthy growth, a project operating in the laboratory company Eurofins’ various companies throughout Sweden.

Ingrid Fasth is educated within the area of health preservation, and she stressed from the very beginning when she started working at Eurofins, that she wanted to include health matters in her work.”

“Companies often find that health matters are important, but any measures introduced should not cost the company anything.  I struggled for several years, but when we were purchased by a French company we got a new Managing Director who shared my views – people who are in good health are productive employees.

In the end, this is of considerable significance in terms of efficiency and productivity for the company.  We expect an efficiency loss of about 10 percent for each person in a risk group. They go to work every day, they work their eight hours, but they don’t have the strength to perform one hundred percent.

Increased demands on efficiency

Since Eurofins was purchased, competition also exists within the company itself. In order for the company to remain in Sweden, they will have to increase their productivity, and this will be achieved by improving the health of the employees.

 

“Investments are made in new machinery all the time, why not invest in people?” asks Ingrid Fasth and says that all employees throughout the company are given the opportunity to undergo a medical check-up once a year.  At the last check-up (screening), 97 per cent of the employees participated.

Risk groups receive help

The staff respond to seven health-related questions, measure their BMI and do a fitness test. The most recent check-up demonstrated that half of the staff were in a risk group, they had “abnormal” values. This may for example include a high BMI value, the use of tobacco, a low fitness value or perceived stress.

“Those who are in a risk group are offered individual help,” says Ingrid Fasth.

She works in the environmental department together with about 140 other persons. Of those, 18 were offered help to quit smoking, 20 weight loss programmes and 30 some other type of coaching. Healthy growth has created special project teams.

They include management departments, health and safety and union representatives.  They are trained to think differently, even about the soft values in the workplace. Then the heads of the departments discuss the issues with their employees.

One group, for example, came to the conclusion that better production planning would benefit their particular area. They wanted clearer routines and management, and meant that because these were lacking, it had a negative effect on their health.

“This is what competence development is all about. Understanding the factors that influence health, both at work and in private life, but also to acquire the tools to manage health problems.”