Looking after staff is considered a matter of course for many companies in Sweden, and it’s done in various ways. Not only by, for example, providing breakfast, but also by offering employees a sum of money to enable them to purchase a gym membership or treat themselves to a back massage. We also enjoy exercising together in our lunch break. A short run or a tabata session can be squeezed in before lunch. Sounds strange? Maybe. However, we don’t just see it as exercise. It’s also a chance to socialise with our colleagues. Just like Friday’s after-work session can be of value because it increases the sense of well-being within the team.
I think that this is a particular Swedish phenomenon that other countries ought to follow. Why, you may be asking? You’re supposed to be working at work, right?
This way of viewing the health of individuals is, in my opinion, simply the right way to go to get a business to flourish and develop. Physical activity leads to more alert employees who can cope better and take less sick leave. More alert employees are more positive and happier. This generates in turn a better atmosphere in the workplace. A better atmosphere increases work capacity. Increased work capacity leads to higher returns for the company. Obvious, really.
Sweden introduced its so-called wellness allowance in 1988 according to the news show SVT Nyheter and it is now an accepted aspect of working life that employees ask for and know their rights about. Maybe because, according to the magazine Hälsoliv, when it comes to exercise, Swedes are the best exercisers in all of Europe. We want it to be part of everyday life, quite simply.
If you look across Europe, you’ll quickly see that this is not something that other countries practise to the same extent. Simply by talking to my overseas colleagues here at Garantell I can see that it is something that is for the most part typically Swedish. For instance, the fact that the Swedish parliament chooses to sponsor Swedish companies in order to make their employees feel better. Pretty unique.
So the next time you buy machine guards or shelving, it might have been produced by an employee who has just been out for a run. Or the person who sold you that rear mesh may just have returned from doing interval training. Imagine how much power there must be in the product then!