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Recipes for reforming working life – lessons learned from Working Life Prize finalists

The Working Life Prize is being awarded for the last time this spring, with nine workplaces selected for the final from 99 excellent applications. The experiences of the nine finalists have been collected to form a series of examples for reforming working life.


People in the chosen workplaces have together reformed their work and ways of working in order to generate better results and improve their ability to work. The workplaces have adopted a range of bold and novel innovations, including intelligent nappies, singing chefs and a touring car used for commuting. Managers have had the courage to do whatever was necessary, whether it be jumping into a drainage well or helping to nurse patients. Employees have been flexible with their working-hour arrangements and superiors have offered them opportunities for planning their own shift schedules. The attitude has been “let’s do it”, rather than “it won’t work anyway”.

The workplaces selected for the final are:

  • Anninpirtti
  • Tupahoiva Oy
  • Mustijoen perusturva – Mäntsälän ja Pornaisten lastensuojelu (child protection services in Mäntsälä and Pornainen)
  • Maustaja Oy
  • Etelä-Karjalan pelastuslaitos (South Karelia rescue department)
  • Järvi-Saimaan Palvelut Oy
  • Skanska Oy, Tampere
  • City of Joensuu
  • University of Turku

The Fund for the Working Life Prize grants the prize to workplaces who have promoted lifelong learning, the development of expertise, well-being at work and, as a result, the extension of working careers. The nine finalists will be honoured at an event celebrating workplace well-being on 9 May. Each prize is worth a maximum of 30,000 euros. The general public now has the opportunity to vote for the most inspiring example and workplace. The winning workplace will be given an extra award of 10,000 euros. Voting online takes place between 20 April and 3 May. The examples and the voting link are available on the website of the Working Life Prize (in Finnish).

This year, the theme of the Working Life Prize is willpower. “Willpower is needed in work communities to find the best ways of operating amid a changing working life,” according to Päivi Sillanaukee, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, who is also a member of the management group of the Fund for the Working Life Prize. “Who has the best recipe for reforming working life? Familiarise yourself with the examples, adopt some positive measures for your own work community and vote for your favourite. Now you have an opportunity to influence!”

Fund for the Working Life Prize

The Fund for the Working Life Prize was established by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish National Fund for Research and Development Sitra. The management group of the fund also includes a representative from the Finnish Work Environment Fund. The initial capital of the fund was 300,000 euros. Sitra and the Ministry for Social Affairs and Health have increased the fund in equal shares, and the ministry allocated 150,000 euros, a grant to Finland by the Carl Bertelsmann foundation, to this prize. The funds will be used by the end of 2017. The prize is awarded by the Fund for the Working Life Prize and President of the Republic, Sauli Niinistö, is the patron of the prize.

The previous recipients of the Working Life Prize are:

  • 2008 – Professor Juhani Ilmarinen
  • 2010 – Ruoka-Saarioinen Oy’s Sahalahti factory and jointly the Technology Industries of Finland and the Finnish Metalworkers’ Union
  • 2013 – Berner Oy
  • 2015 – Pipelife Finland Oy and the city of Kankaanpää

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