Vesa Perkiö works as an Account Manager at Visma. His clients are schools to which Vesa sells Wilma – a software, which has become a concept in Finland and is certainly familiar to all Finnish school-aged children and their parents. Vesa has no managerial responsibilities, rather he is part of the sales team. In recent years, Vesa has taken a lot of responsibility for himself at his workplace and has had trouble saying no.
He realized that his workload had grown to be immense. In addition to that, he has had significant changes in his life within the last year. Recently, Vesa finally stopped to think about what to do with his life. Feeling that he has gone through some tough times, Vesa took action to get help. At Visma, his manager directed him to Auntie.
"Auntie gave me something completely different. My situation was taken into account and no attempt was made to shoehorn my experience into any particular category. I felt that I really got help and support."
Vesa Perkiö, Account Manager, Visma
Hard times at work and raising a family during the coronavirus pandemic
“After staying home for a year, I started to get feedback from my family that the stress was starting to take its toll and I was becoming more irritable,” Vesa says. Vesa no longer knew how to improve his situation when everything felt exhausting and like a pain in the neck. The impact of the coronavirus has been significant to his well-being since, like many others, he has been working remotely. In addition, his first child was born during this time. Perhaps all the sleepless nights and being stuck looking at the same four walls accelerated the decline of his mental well-being.
Vesa feels that he has been stuck in the same loop, just trying to focus on performance and to keep going. Constantly executing with a forced pace caused a certain kind of stagnation, as in no matter how hard you try and force yourself to the rhythm, it feels like you’re walking in slow motion and not getting anywhere. He felt he needed a reality check; that life is not all about performing tasks like a robot. Of course, other responsibilities in addition to work have an impact. Vesa is a hockey coach and the coronavirus has caused its own circus in that area of his life as well. However, Vesa did state that he now understands that not everything needs to be done at full throttle in that aspect of his life as well.
“Aha moments” from the Lost in Transition package
Vesa’s Auntie package was Lost in Transition, which felt the best match based on its description. The sessions were effective and helpful. In sessions with an Auntie professional, Vesa experienced ”aha moments” during the discussions. Some of the ”aha moments” were bigger, for example, is this job I do really my thing; but small everyday things came up as well where changes could be made. While working in an office, you can make the transition from ”work mode” to ”home mode” on your way home. In remote work, you have to consciously end your workday and decide when you will start moving and releasing some energy. To help with this, Vesa is using a tactic, in which you think about what you would say to someone else if they asked you if it would be OK for them to go exercising. The answer would be yes of course. For Vesa, frisbee golf is a great way to end the workday and unwind.
The best thing about Auntie was the structure and concrete tools it provided, with which Vesa was able to improve his well-being at work after the sessions were complete. A few years ago, Vesa had gone to see an occupational psychologist and received the frustrating advice that he should just sleep more! Auntie gave him something completely different. His situation was taken into account and no attempt was made to shoehorn his experience into any particular category. He felt that he really got help and support.
Package sessions followed a tight schedule, once a week, and in total just over one month. The exercises were good and there were not too many. After the package, Vesa was able to keep the good flow going, but as the demands of work increased towards spring, Vesa again found himself going back to his old ways. However, this time he was able to take advantage of what he had learned, hit the brakes, and said no. He learned to recognize what he has time for, what he can do, and from where in his work he gets feelings of success from. The biggest victory was that he learned to recognize his situation, for example, when speed is starting to ramp up, then in order to stay healthy, he needs to slow down.
The solution-focused approach was surprising
After the initial zero expectations, Auntie surprised Vesa with its solution-focused approach. Auntie went straight to the issue at hand and time was not wasted on nonsense or circling the issues. The Auntie professional came up with sharp questions that made him think. The once-a-week pace was just right, the next appointments were always arranged according to Vesa’s schedule and communication was handled well remotely.
Vesa felt that the change in attitude in him was permanent. He has learned to no longer stress extensively about things, even though he is a stress-prone person by nature. Additionally, he has learned not to demand too much of himself — to be understanding towards himself. Although he at times still struggles with large workloads, Vesa feels that he is much more efficient these days. Unlike before, he can now stick to deadlines, and he has gained self-confidence. Previously he had noticed in himself some signs of giving up, thinking that this is not going anywhere, but now his attitude has changed. He has also learned to prioritize — what is important and what needs to be done. To be systematic is all about the small victories in each day, while before there was only chaos. The situation is a “work in progress”, but clearly on the right track!
Unreserved recommendation for Auntie
Since upwards of 37.5 hours per week are spent at work, it’s vital that you feel good while you are there, and the work must feel meaningful. We need to find ways to make it feel that way. Vesa recalls that he has heard a saying that even hard work can be made easy by having good co-workers and a good work community. How people feel at work has a massive impact on how it feels to be a part of that work community and how it functions for each of its members.
Vesa is confident that he will continue to implement the skills he learned from his Auntie package when it is time to return to working locally at the office, a time he has fond memories of.
Vesa unreservedly recommends Auntie to anyone struggling to cope with their work. For those who feel confused about their career, the Lost in Transition package is just right. He has also advised colleagues to contact the HR department or their manager to gain access to an Auntie package.
Visma offers Auntie's low-threshold mental well-being service to its employees. The five video meetings in Auntie’s discussion packages will help you cope with everyday challenges before they escalate into problems or crises.