ArticleOctober 10, 2021 · 3 min read time
Work takes up a significant part of our day. This is why, ideally, work should be a source of personal fulfilment and psychological well-being. This is something that we at Nitor actively support and strive to be better at. To commemorate World Mental Health Day, we listed some of the efforts we take to maintain and improve our well-being at work.
This Sunday, 10 October, is World Mental Health Day. In Finland, it's also a celebration of Finnish Literature Day celebrating the birthday of our national writer, Aleksis Kivi, who penned the first Finnish-language novel Seven Brothers.
Anyone who knows anything about Aleksis Kivi is aware of the mental health struggles he had. We are naturally a lot more educated on mental health issues nowadays. At the time, he was seen as a suffering artist or a drunk. Indeed, he suffered from the criticism his writing faced and drank heavily.
For most of us, life is a bit more mellow. Most of our work won’t become huge national successes but it will not get publicly ridiculed either. Still, how we view ourselves and how others recognise our work, plays a big role in our well-being. Everyone – from famous novelists to us nine-to-fivers – deserve to feel well at work.
My dream is that work becomes a more widely recognised positive factor for our mental health. That at the end of the workday, we are in a better mental state than we were at the start of it. I thought I’d list some of the ways we at Nitor acknowledge the commonness of mental health issues and how we try to maintain our well-being as a community.
We have an expansive occupational health service that includes occupational health psychology, short-term psychotherapy, a mental health chat and other low threshold mental health services.
Peer support and leadership
We frequently ask Nitoreans how they are doing in a monthly well-being poll. If someone is not doing well, we can act quickly and offer our support.
We have an extensive peer-to-peer coaching system called Kamu-Kaveri available to support all our employees. Nitoreans are encouraged to use work time to also discuss well-being related issues and spar each other on.
We try to maintain a low hierarchy. However, sometimes even the most independent knowledge-workers need guidance and leadership. Nitor founders and business unit leads have frequent face-to-face meetings with all Nitoreans.
Activity and exercise
Nitor arranges activities like yoga, beach volley and floorball, and supports all initiatives of Nitoreans who want to arrange activities.
Nitor supports cycling as a means of transportation. We have a bike benefit for all Nitoreans and we participate in a playful cycling challenge called Kilometrikisa (Kilometer race) annually to donate money for charity.
Our November and April challenges are bigger events where we try to encourage each other to exercise more. For instance, last April we raised 3000 € to Mieli ry, a Finnish mental health organisation, by walking, running, cycling and relying on our four-legged personal trainers for some daily fresh air.
Ways of working
Nitoreans can flexibly choose the work model that suits them best. If a four-day workweek helps someone manage their work-life balance better, it can be arranged.
Our offices include quiet workspaces and areas where more collaborative work is possible. Participating remotely in most of the meetings and events is possible, and it’s been made even easier during the past years. Flexibility in terms of job location helps many to structure their life and organise their schedules better. This hopefully results in increased life satisfaction and a better work-life balance.
Lots of work ahead
We aren’t perfect and there is still a lot of work ahead. For example, diversity is one issue that we are very slowly (but surely) improving as we grow as a company. We acknowledge that being in the minority has been an extra hurdle for women and in general for people who aren’t in the visible majority of Nitoreans.
The global pandemic in 2020–2021 inevitably limited a lot of our daily social interactions. This had an effect on the sense of belonging and togetherness for many of us. Luckily, our community, for the most part, is doing well and even thriving now that the world is starting to open up again, and we can meet our colleagues in person.