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4Support, encouragement and good managers are the success factors for companies that want to reduce mental ill-health among their employees. That is the view of the psychologist and management consultant, Stefan Blomberg.
Mental ill-health is the fastest growing sickness category in recent years in different parts of society, including the maritime sector. It is not clear exactly what this is due to, though it is suspected that stress and continuous cutbacks have had their effect. It has also been possible to identify certain factors that affect our well-being at work through research. During his lecture, Stefan Blomberg talked about a research summary made by SBU (the Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services) last year. The summary described aspects of the work environment that can lead to mental health problems, and the results pointed to a number of risk factors.
High demands – few options
”High demands in combination with few options to influence the situation was one of them. Lack of social support, conflicts, bullying and unsafe working conditions were others,” said Stefan Blomberg.
Factors that made people feel good, on the other hand, included trust and support, order and good organisation, encouragement and good managers. Working in an organisation that is predictable and where people are listened to also promotes health. Stefan Blomberg talked about a large Swedish study published by Prevent in a report from 2009. In the paper, scientists were looking for healthy companies with low rates of sick leave, low staff turnover and high job satisfaction.
”The interesting thing was that you could find healthy workplaces in all different sectors, even among cleaning companies, which otherwise often have major problems in this area. It is possible, evidently, to create healthy workplaces, no matter which sector you are in,” he said.
Lack of resources no excuse
In the survey, which covered over 2,000 companies within all the private sectors, the researchers discovered four different keys to healthy companies. These were leadership and skills supply; participation; communication and knowledge; and the attitude to health and sickness rates. ”These four keys are something all companies can work with,” explained Stefan Blomberg.
”Having poor resources is no excuse. On the contrary, it is even more important in companies with less economic space to consider how they work. They certainly cannot afford to waste any resources on chaos.
Linda Sundgren

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