The flexibility of the hybrid workday requires more of both managers and employees. In the children's equipment business Stokke, employees receive help from Auntie to master self-leadership skills within the new normal.
With reorganization and pandemics followed by record breaking sales, the workday of Stokke's employees has changed considerably in recent years. Sara Hernández López from Stokke’s HR department therefore wanted to give colleagues an extra set of tools to master the changes and the high pace of the organization.
Stokke found the solution in Auntie, a digital low-threshold service for companies that want to take care of employees' mental health.
- We know that change often causes stress, and, we were in the middle of a pandemic. We needed an offer that takes care of our employees' mental health in the new everyday life, Hernández López explains.
Through Auntie, Stokke employees are offered conversations with a mental wellbeing professional, as well as support and tools to deal with, among other things, stress, worries, time management and other challenges. Eight months into the collaboration, Hernández López is surprised by the development.
- Where we thought that help with stress management would be the biggest driver of the Auntie service, we see that help with self-leadership is the most used package. In a hybrid workday, we sit further apart, and the need for frameworks and guidance within the new normal is very clear, she says.
"Most of us experience challenges during our lives, either at home or at work. It is not until we put the spotlight on them that we see how much they actually affect us, and what steps we can take to solve them."
Sara Hernández López, HR Advisor, Stokke
Flexibility requires more of employees
Home offices and hybrid forms of work require a greater degree of self-leadership. Although self-leadership for many is associated with flexibility and freedom, mastering it can take time and practice. In Stokke, employees gain both trust and responsibility, and are encouraged to show initiative.
- With are a flat structured company. Our employees have a great influence on their own work, Hernández López says, and continues:
- Nevertheless, we know that flexibility can be perceived as challenging for employees who are used to a firmer framework.
Norway has higher autonomy in working life than most other countries, and autonomy and co-determination are regarded by the The National Institute of Occupational Health in Norway as a major competitive advantage that is important to maintain. With changed work structures and greater physical distance, it is therefore important to help employees master the new everyday work.
- We naturally want our employees to have the prerequisites needed to do the best possible job. It is just as important, however, that they feel good while doing it, says Hernández López.
Work and private life are closely linked
In addition to headquarters in Ålesund and Stuttgart in Germany, Stokke has employees all over the world. Many work far away from their immediate family and the environment they grew up in. That makes a safety net extra important, Hernández López believes.
- Most of us experience challenges during our lives, either at home or at work. It is not until we put the spotlight on them that we see how much they actually affect us, and what steps we can take to solve them, she says, and elaborates:
- Among other things, I have participated in termination interviews where employees have chosen to leave our company due to challenges that are not work-related. Had we known the challenges they were facing, we could have come in earlier and perhaps made a difference.
Openness about feeling lonely
Hernández López herself has received help to deal with loneliness and stress. She is originally from Madrid, Spain but moved to Stuttgart in Germany after her studies and has worked in Stokke since 2019. When the corona pandemic came and Germany shut down, she felt discouraged.
- Living isolated for periods has been difficult for me. I have received good help from Auntie to sort out thoughts and feelings, and to see what steps I can take, Hernández López explains.
She is passionate about good mental health and talks openly with colleagues about the challenges she herself has felt on her body in recent years.
- For more people to take the step and dare to talk about how they feel, someone must take the lead. In this case that’s me, she concludes.
Read more about Stokke here: https://stokke.com