Physical and mental health at work

Today is World Day for Safety and Health at Work. This day is important because employee wellbeing matters at all Unilin locations. That includes both physical and mental wellbeing. 

28 April 2023

Today is World Day for Safety and Health at Work. This day is important because employee wellbeing matters at all Unilin locations. That includes both physical and mental wellbeing. How can we create a sustainable and safe working environment in which all employees feel well and able to develop? 'Our Home' is an important part of our One Home sustainability strategy. "We focus on sharing best practices and learning from each other," Sarah Van Marcke, Unilin Learning & Wellbeing Manager, says. "That is what gradually leads us to a wide range of services that every colleague can access."

"The Our Home pillar of our One Home sustainability strategy is about our role as a sustainable employer. That role also includes safety. Our zero-harm safety approach has already yielded excellent results. However, we go much further than that: physical and mental health are also key elements. We see this as a shared responsibility. As a company, we need to create the necessary framework and take initiatives that encourage wellbeing. Ergonomic equipment, raising awareness of resilience, offering healthy food, getting active for charity together are just a few examples of this. Managers need to be alert to any signs in their team and of individual colleagues and spot where there is room for improvement in terms of lifestyle adjustments or the sharing of ideas. Everyone plays their part," Sarah argues.

Insufficiently known

"Our wellbeing policy focuses on universal themes in each of our sites: a healthy lifestyle, resilience, growth and development and people dynamics – our relationship with colleagues and managers and the connection and fun we experience at work. Each division and country have physical wellbeing activities based on local needs. A lot of our work is about ergonomics, sports and exercise, resilience support, local stop smoking programmes, healthy eating and sleeping habits. Not everyone is aware of these initiatives, though."

Learning from each other

We want to expand and promote our offer and continue our work on these themes everywhere. Sarah: "In many countries, we already have numerous initiatives that respond to local needs. We want to highlight those initiatives and inspire each other. Headquarters is working with our wellbeing contacts in each division to get all this organised. The development of such an international network allows us to learn from each other and prevents each of us from reinventing the wheel."

Towards a sustainable range of services

"It is very important to respond to the most pressing needs first and devise structural and accessible responses to those needs. If we want to include stop smoking programmes as part of our services, we also need to organise these on a recurring rather than a one-off basis. This keeps it in the spotlight and makes more people aware of it."

The launch of our philosophy around lifelong learning 'The Dive' can accelerate the sharing of insights and tools. "Wellbeing is included more and more in The Dive's range of classroom, virtual and blended training courses. The Dive will also be developed internationally as a training concept. This will help raise awareness of our wellbeing services. For instance, the e-learning course on mental wellbeing we launched internationally last year has already attracted more than a thousand employees."

Holding up a mirror

Sarah doesn't think the current range of services reaches everyone who needs them. "Right now, our services are used mainly by colleagues who are already consciously focusing on their wellbeing. They tend to be interested in healthy eating and may be managing their stress in a conscious way already. That means we are not yet reaching a large group of employees. We therefore want to go beyond just providing information and also raise awareness. We also want to promote a conscious approach. Only then will people truly take action and eventually develop new habits. We think it's very important to foster a collective awareness of physical and mental wellbeing."

"Developments in our organisation reflect what has happened in society: more than one in three adults worldwide are overweight and more local studies show that two in three aren't physically active enough. Our company can help improve that by encouraging a healthier lifestyle."


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