20 March 2017

What is the purpose of our new work-life fit video?

We at FIOH believe that improving work-life fit at workplaces benefits both the employer and the employees. Our new video above was produced to show with concrete examples how especially supervisors play an important role in promoting work-life fit at workplace. We produced this video as part of our project “Visible fathers” – which aims to increase fathers’ take up of family leaves. This project is a collaboration between FIOH, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and National Institute for Health and Welfare (coordinator), and funded by the EU Rights, Equality and Citizenship program.

Our sub-project aims to develop training for supervisors to promote better work-life fit for all employees, which will eventually, we hope, increase also more equal sharing of family leaves between parents. The training model will be published in Finnish and in English, once we have tested it at seven workplaces here in Finland.

What are the current developments concerning work-life fit?

In Finland, work-life fit has traditionally been strongly influenced by family leave policies, public services (day-care, school…) and the outcomes of collective bargaining that regulate the availabile means of flexibility at workplaces. Currently, there is a lively discussion in the media about reform of family leaves aiming to both increase fathers take up of family leaves and flexibility in the usage of the leaves. As working times are strongly affected by other recent trends, such as digitalization and changes in the nature of work, local arrangements and workplace level may increase in importance in finding the right balance between work and life. After all, work-life fit is a matter of well-being at work, too.

What is the role of FIOH in this arena in Finland and or internationally?

At FIOH we see work-life issues as part of well-being at work and as a contributor to good work ability. A good work-life fit can be achieved through collaboration between employer and the employees at workplaces. The video gives some concrete examples of how to achieve this. We emphasize work as a resource for the society and for all of us as individuals. Work-life theme is a very positive approach, a true win-win approach, to improving well-being at work. At FIOH we have excellent opportunities for developing research and new solutions for working life, as we have multidisciplinary expertise in many aspects related to work-life fit at work.

Reducing work-life conflict by means of working time autonomy and flexibility is not only practical initiatives taken by the employer but also positive, employee-friendly workplace culture, which takes into account the important role of life situation and recovery in work ability of employees.

Finland and other Scandinavian countries are usually considered good examples about equality in working life, work-life balance, and the usage of employee-driven flexibility at workplaces. “The Finnish model” has been presented in many international arenas as an example of good practice.

Our situation is very different from many other countries in the world, as we have such a strong support from the society and the unions agreeing on the importance of the aim of work-life fit among employees. Despite this special position, we still need to develop our policies further and become even better! This applies to whole society and also to all individual workplaces.