Photo: Patrik Rastenberger

Published December 9, 2016

Careers are extended with a will and a way

Writer

The writer is Director-General of the Department for Occupational Safety and Health, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Employers’ abilities to provide employment and employees’ work abilities play a key role in extending working careers. Attractive and meaningful work, a high-quality working environment and a functional working community increase employees’ willingness to work and continue their careers slightly longer. This is also supported by opportunities for harmonising work with other parts of life.

Well-being at work refers to work that is meaningful and effortless and occurs within a safe environment and a working community that promote health and support employees’ careers. Each one of us is personally responsible for creating and maintaining well-being at work. It is not something that can be bought in or outsourced.

As a society, we have made a promise of a certain level of well-being for ourselves and one another. This is something that we pay for by working.

The fact that our lives are longer is a result of our welfare policy. Nevertheless, the longer life expectancy will not automatically translate into increased leisure time, but will require us to work longer during our lifetimes.

Three issues, dependent on our willingness and our endeavours, underlie the extension of careers. People must have the opportunity, ability and willingness to work. Willpower is needed to turn opportunities into reality.

Opportunities emerge, for instance, from employers’ skills in providing employment, which play a part in laying the foundation for the ability to provide employment. The workforce that we have is what we have. On a global scale, it is highly trained and competent and in part also highly experienced. It provides the basis for our wealth, now and in the future.

Work ability and functional capacity lay the foundation for working. Longer careers will be accomplished when employers’ ability to provide employment and employees’ ability to work meet. This also applies to older people and those with partial work ability. A healthy and safe working environment is also the basis for any company’s economic prosperity.

Attractive and meaningful work, a high-quality working environment and a functional working community increase employees’ willingness to work and prolong their careers. This is also supported by opportunities for harmonising work with other parts of life. Good practices, even award-winning ones, are available to suit the needs of every workplace.

A real opportunity, the ability and willingness to work: these are the cornerstones of well-being at work.

The Finnish Working Life Prize will be awarded to a Finnish workplace for the last time in 2017. The theme of the open call is willpower. We are looking for examples of how people can successfully adjust to the changing world through their own action. The application period is from 2 January to 15 February 2017.

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