World Day for Health and Safety at Work
Hello Thomas, thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.
What exactly does safety and health at work mean to you personally?
I am convinced that we humans are not biologically made for office work. Spending many hours in a sitting position is neither healthy nor particularly natural. Studies confirm long-term damage to the back and neck, but also an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and many others. In general, office work goes hand in hand with a rather unhealthy lifestyle. Avoiding this is very important to me personally. I don't want to get sick and of course I don't want others to get sick either. That's why I try and we try to actively counteract this.
What does health and safety mean in the context of wunschlösung's work?
We do a lot of desk work in our job, which is hard to avoid in an IT company. But that doesn't mean we just have to accept that occupational diseases will hit us. Instead, we very actively ask ourselves, "How can we combine what we do and what is good for us?"
The difference between Thomas as a private person and Thomas as the founder of wunschlösung is that I can actively change things here - not only in how I work, but also in how others work.
On the one hand, for me this means actively intervening and enabling obvious things like height-adjustable desks, ergonomic chairs and adjustable screens. By the way, this also includes encouraging more movement, like for the company run. I'm also a fan of walking meetings and productive meetings on the terrace. On the other hand, dealing with the topic consciously and openly is also relevant. Education about ergonomics, healthy working and good living are just as important to us. The best height-adjustable desk is no use if the team doesn't know how to use it in a way that is easy on the back. We don't want to just tick off a checklist and say, "It's all there." The team should receive real support.
We organise several team events every year. This year, for the first time, we have consciously decided to organise at least one active event. At the beginning, not everyone will always be immediately enthusiastic. Nevertheless, we are convinced that it will do us good as a team in the long run. That's why we definitely want to do it.
Have you ever felt unsafe here or in another job? If so, could you change it?
In my personal experience, definitely. One of the biggest danger areas in the IT industry is stress. It quickly becomes clear that it is important to learn where your own limits are. How much can I do and in what environment? Where do I feel comfortable, what mode works for me? Everyone has to negotiate for themselves and with their environment what the best working conditions are. This is an important aspect of coping with stress. Only with an active approach to the topic can one manage to build knowledge and help oneself.
For my part, I deal a lot with exercise, nutrition, but also with topics like self-leadership and psycho-hygiene. Not everything is in the hands of the employer. It's our job to support the team as best we can, but ultimately the motivation has to come from within. Here I see no difference between private life and professional life.
Neglecting these issues can unfortunately lead to serious medical problems, because when the stress becomes too great, the body breaks where its most sensitive weak point is. This can be joint problems and neck problems, but also burnout or depression.
What also worries me in the IT industry in the long term is, in my view, a tendency to become lonely. We spend so many hours a day looking at screens instead of people or nature - even though we are social beings. It can be difficult not to feel isolated, especially if you work from home all the time.
This is where I see the long-term task of ensuring that we don't lose ourselves.
When we talk about keeping our team healthy and fit, we are not only talking about physical aspects. What do we have to offer for mental health?
Probably still too few. At the very beginning, when we founded wunschlösung, it was already important to us to create a company for people. Mental health is not the only topic, but it is a very important one. We want to be measured by this. That's why we have set ourselves the goal for this year to destigmatise the topic, to strengthen the open and conscious handling of it and to build up further concrete support offers - anonymously if you like. This is not yet possible in many companies. Maybe it is also a generational issue, but unfortunately I also know the attitude of always having to function and, best of all, to smile. I think that is very harmful and we want to actively counteract that here.
I believe that our most important cornerstone is therefore open and honest interaction with each other. In the wunschlösung there is a deep awareness that mental health is important and not a taboo subject. It is worth protecting and we all have to tackle it together. This can already happen in small routines, such as cooking together, eating together or going out to celebrate. The team also does a lot together in private and we think that's absolutely great and worth supporting. Every conversation, whether it's about team feedback or at the coffee machine, is part of that. It's a way of being there for each other that we like to use.
Do you think there are things we can do better?
Always. I will answer "yes" to this question all my life. Nobody is perfect, nobody can be perfect. But there is always room to get better. As a person or as a company, you are never finished. In my opinion, you shouldn't let that deter you. Being able to grow and then to grow is something very beautiful and motivating.
Specifically, we continuously try to look for opportunities that will help our team. When we find something and are convinced that it is useful, we also implement it consistently - for example, in our tech budget and ergonomic equipment.
However, the topic of health is always a fine line between professional and private life. And every person is different. It is important to us not to patronise our team or overstep boundaries. We want to support where we can and where it makes sense. For example, in nutrition and exercise, self-organisation or stress management.
Thank you, Thomas! Would you like to know more?
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