Primer workshops help improve well-being of entrepreneurs and small workplaces

Press release, 13th June 2016, Helsinki, Finland

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) has developed a workshop model ‒ Primer ‒ to support employees at small workplaces. The Primer model helps these employers reflect on and improve the factors that affect work ability, together with their peers. It is a practical tool for occupational health services, entrepreneur associations and business advisory services, but can also be applied to other groups. 

FIOH’s new workshop model increases entrepreneurs’ opportunities to flexibly and quickly improve their well-being at work. At the same time, occupational health services and actors working with enterprises obtain a tool that requires no special skills or extra time to learn to use.

“The Primer workshop is a method that helps participants think about the cornerstones of well-being at work, and to recognize things that are already in order and those that need improvement. The discussions that the workshop enables with peers, i.e. other entrepreneurs, is particularly important for entrepreneurs,” says Nina Nevanperä , researcher at FIOH.

Drawings and discussions

The Primer workshop lasts two hours, and guides participants to reflect on the different dimensions of their own work ability, their roles as professionals, and their working conditions. They draw a car, which helps them think about, for example, the characteristics of a fit and healthy entrepreneur or employee by describing them through the car’s features, parts and functions. Up to 20 different companies can take part in the same Primer workshop.

“At first, drawing may seem amusing to the participants, but this is exactly what makes the Primer workshop so effective. Drawing and laughing together are the social glue that joins the workshop participants together quickly. In just a few minutes, the discussions become surprisingly deep,” explains FIOH’s Senior Specialist Anne Salmi , depicting the workshop’s special features.

Fire and rescue workshop highlighted areas that need development

The Primer workshop was also tested and developed on fire and rescue personnel and supervisors; another group, like entrepreneurs and small workplaces, whose work is physically and psychosocially demanding and needs new, flexible and participatory solutions to promote workers’ work ability and health.

“Rescue operation roles must be exceptionally clear, and this may reflect on the HR management side. The Primer workshop can help to awaken multilevel discussions on work ability, breaking down any barriers created by roles. The opportunity to play a part in the development of one’s own work can promote work ability and motivation,” emphasizes FIOH’s Senior Researcher Sirpa Lusa .

Take a look at the Primer workshop method , www.ttl.fi/en/health/Documents/Primer.pdf

The Primer workshop model was developed in partnership with workplaces and entrepreneurs under the Women @ work – Working together with female entrepreneurs to promote their work ability and health at the workplace ESF development project co-ordinated by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and the Shape up your body and mind – promoting the work ability and health of people engaged in physically strenuous work at workplaces ESF development project carried out as part of the ESF consortium. The model has also been tested in the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health’s occupational safety officer course and with beautician teachers. The model is based on Hitting Home?, a model previously developed in the Young Driver Can! Promoting young professional drivers’ work ability and work life skills ESF project.

Want to know more? Contact

Anne Salmi, Senior Specialist, FIOH, tel. +358 43 824 1342, anne.salmi[at]ttl.fi

Nina Nevanperä, Researcher, FIOH, tel. +358 43 824 3247, nina.nevanpera[at]ttl.fi

Sirpa Lusa, Senior Researcher, FIOH, tel. +358 40 522 9754, sirpa.lusa[at]ttl.fi

Media Services

Kristiina Kulha, Head of Communications
FIOH, Helsinki
Tel. +358 30 474 2551, +358 40 548 6914, 
kristiina.kulha[at]ttl.fi

Tiina Kaksonen, Communications Assistant 
FIOH, Oulu
Tel. +358 30 474 3015, +358 50 364 3158
tiina.kaksonen[at]ttl.fi

www.ttl.fi

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) researches, develops and specializes in well-being at work. It promotes occupational health and safety and the well-being of workers. It is an independent institution under public law, working under the administrative sector of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. It has five regional offices, and its headquarters are in Helsinki. The number of personnel is about 560.

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About Us

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (Työterveyslaitos) researches, develops and specializes in well-being at work. It promotes occupational health and safety and the well-being of workers. It is an independent institution under public law, working under the administrative sector of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. It has five regional offices, and its headquarters are in Helsinki. It employs about 560 people.