ForTheDoers Blog

Distanced but not alone – Fortum supports remote working

Reetta Hämäläinen 17 May 2021, 10:05 EEST

For more than a year, people around the world have coped with the exceptional circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our everyday lives have changed in many ways, as contacts and travel have been restricted. Millions of people have worked remotely from their homes for months on end. This is the case also at Fortum. Our highest priority is to keep our people safe and, at the same time, to ensure business continuity. To this end, we have adopted new ways of working and support for remote work.

Fortum supports remote working

Working from home instead of at the office should not mean working alone. Colleagues are an important community for most people and being detached from that community can be very straining. Things that may seem trivial, such as chatting for a few minutes at the coffee machine or sharing a laugh in the hallway, are suddenly much more meaningful. When someone has a bad day, having a friend to vent to can really help – and successes feel much better when shared with a colleague.

We encourage people at Fortum to maintain active contact with colleagues. And not just by having work-related meetings: coffee breaks, little chats, and moments to catch up are just as important, if not more so. It is important to keep in mind that we are part of the same team, supporting each other. In the managers’ role, this is naturally emphasised. With uncertainty about the pandemic and the wellbeing of oneself and loved ones causing stress, asking how team members are doing and really listening to them is more important than ever.

Remote working has its challenges, but there are positive aspects to it, as well. Some people find it easier to concentrate at home, and the time saved from commuting can be spent on a leisurely breakfast, for example. I’ve found that a refreshing morning walk is a great way to start the day, and taking my coffee break outside in the sun cheers me up wonderfully now that it’s almost summer and the days are warm. Regular walking meetings in the sun are also a good way to combine outdoor exercise and work.

Mind and body both need attention

It is not only our minds that are under stress, our bodies are too. Working conditions at home may not be as ergonomic as those at the office, where desks and work chairs are set at the perfect height for each user and the lighting is optimised. At home, we may be sitting on the sofa with our laptops or at the kitchen table. Many of us get so caught up in what we are doing that we forget to take breaks and stretch our legs. Those of us who normally use public transportation to come to work are no longer walking from the bus stop or train station, so we are getting less exercise.

Fortum provides its personnel with a variety of tools to help us feel better physically and mentally. Our Energise Your Day wellbeing programme offers a variety of tools and support for wellbeing while working remotely, and the Take a Break concept offers a weekly home workout. Ergonomic guidance helps set up the workspace in a way that minimises physical discomfort and helps to keep us going. We also have external partners who provide things like individual and team coaching, exercise programmes, and videos. Our eLearnings include material on Mind Management, intelligent working habits, and more.

Open Leadership turns challenge into success

When the home is also the workplace, it can be difficult to maintain boundaries between work and personal life. Work tasks sometimes seep into free time and winding down after the workday may be difficult. It is important to manage the work-life balance and ensure that there is enough time to relax, enjoy leisure activities, and sleep sufficiently. This means we must pay attention to scheduling and self-management.

Self-management is one of the principles of our Open Leadership approach. Recognising our own strengths, challenges, and personal preferences helps us adjust our ways of working. Open Leadership also stresses continuous learning, which is vitally important to our shared success. Open Leadership is a combination of belief in our people, wanting what is best for them, and expecting them to deliver results. It is based on a growth mindset that welcomes challenges and seizes opportunities to learn from feedback as well as from others’ successes. Right now, we are doing our best to offer everyone at Fortum a working environment that allows us all to thrive – even in exceptional times.

Reetta Hämäläinen

Manager, well-being

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