It is an unusual sight... fifty Arkema employees taking part in a meditation session in a comfortable auditorium! This collective relaxation is quite unusual in the workplace, but is no gimmick. On the contrary, it reflects a growing interest in QLW. “Our efforts to improve QLW are a response to the need to find resources to deal more effectively with the constraints and complexity of tasks. We are working on everything that nourishes people and provides a positive balance to stress,” says Corinne Haran, Head of QLW at Arkema’s heaquarters. Mindfulness workshops are held regularly alongside talks on a range of issues including self-confidence, creativity and emotional intelligence – soft skills that can help improve our behavioral expertise.
“In the workplace, people also want to have their horizons broadened, to meet people, and experience a shared enjoyment. All this has profound effects. You can clearly see the positive impact on individual and team engagement.”
QLW is not exclusive to the central departments. It is also finding its way into life at production sites, through themed weeks, with plenty of local initiatives. When Isabelle Simonetto, a neuroscientist who studies applied research in industry, gave a talk at the Colombes headquarters on the way our brain works to avoid professional and personal risk, she extended the initiative to all sites (production, research, commercial).
On this subject, Arkema is implementing an active psychosocial risk prevention policy in the widest sense. A pioneer in workplace well-being, the Group has created a central stress monitoring unit tasked with spotting high-risk situations. It has put in place awareness-raising programs, led mainly by occupational physicians, focusing on health and well-being at work. In addition, our yearly “Netiquette Week” reviews tips for achieving online- offline balance. We also pay special attention to ergonomics at workstations on all of the Group’s sites, either at the design stage or by adapting existing spaces. Best practices are shared among a network of officers. As Pauline Saint Macary, Head of Employee Relations France, puts it: “We must tackle QLW from every angle – the design of the working environment, ergonomics, working conditions, remote working, consideration of disabilities and so on. It is a global approach that we work on collectively, under the Health and Work agreement signed with all employee representatives, drawing on the expertise and suggestions of our employees.”
We want to rank among the best companies to work for. This is about wellbeing and performance for our employees. It is also about demand from younger generations who are avoiding companies that don’t tackle these issues. We are often asked about it during the recruitment process. What are you doing about QLW and CSR? The same goes for remote working, which gives employees greater flexibility. Our QLW policy is a means of becoming more attractive.
Head of QLW at the Arkema headquarters