The starting point of the Finnmotion project was to create a new model for improving wellbeing at work. The novelty value of the project was to combine training of the mind and training of the body in a new way.
Finnmotion understands that our state of mind affects how we experience ourselves, our work and our colleagues. Finnmotion exercises improve each employee’s wellbeing and self confidence, and at the same time have a positive impact on the relationships and interactions within the work community. The benefit of this method is that it can be practiced during the working day, but the participants can also use it to enhance their personal wellbeing anywhere at any time.
The aim of the Hailuoto project was to change the wellbeing at work culture in Hailuoto local council. The intention was to increase the employees’ interest in improving their own wellbeing and to offer an opportunity to use the exercises during the working day. The exercises would improve the posture and balance of the participants, and have a positive effect on their physical wellbeing and self assurance. At the same time, we hoped that employees taking part in the project would experience how their uplifted state of mind affected the way they experienced the world around themselves.
The method used was Finnmotion Posture Programme developed by Marja Putkisto and Method Putkisto pedagogy.
Of the 100 employees of Hailuoto local council, 32 took part in the project.
Implementation of the project
The project started at the beginning of February 2020 and was completed mid-June 2020. The original timetable of the project was 12 weeks, but the Covid-19 pandemic interfered and the project was extended by a month.
The project began with a workshop, followed by a six-week learning period. Each week had its own theme, with its precise, targeted physical exercises. At the beginning of the week, the physical exercises and themes where introduced in a group session. Everyone received the physical exercise instructions also in writing and repeated the exercises independently for 3-6 minutes per day. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, from week 5 onwards the team sessions were online instead of in the workplace. Weeks 7-12 were for independent exercising and for physically, emotionally and psychologically internalising the six themes introduced. Contrary to the original plan, the closing workshop was also online.
The participants utilised special equipment for the physical exercises, provided as part of the project and displayed at the “Charging Station” in the workplace.
On the whole, the mission of the project was to enhance awareness of how each of us affects our surroundings, and how the way we physically carry ourselves will affect the way we experience our environment and other people. This understanding provides an opportunity for building a new organisational culture.
The aim of the Finnmotion Posture School was to change the wellbeing at work culture in the Hailuoto local council. The council leader Aki Heiskanen said: “If this project changes life for one person, it has been a success.”
Based on closing interviews, we succeeded in affecting the lives of several people. Finnmotion provided the practical tools, both physical exercises and new ways of thinking, for enhancing wellbeing at work.
At the closing interviews participants said their awareness of their own bodies and postures had improved. This is an essential step for the prevention of posture erosion and the resulting loss of balance and mobility, It is also a precondition for independent posture maintenance. Posture erosion is common, but by recognising the causes and providing tools to fight it, Finnmotion can help to stop and reverse it.
As a result of the project, the employees are motivated to do the exercises during the working day, as well as in their spare time. They are utilising the techniques provided in a creative and versatile way for enhancing their own wellbeing.
Self-awareness and self-assurance have improved: The participants now perceive their work, their employer and their colleagues more positively.The project had a positive impact on the atmosphere at work. “Altogether a good project, participants found. Especially exercising together was seen as “fun, really good and inspiring”. “I wish everyone could take part.”
Finnmotion provided a reason to stop and think in the middle of the working day. Even a brief exercise session clarified thoughts. One of the participants commented, that Finnmotion gave her something meaningful to think about during otherwise routine work.
Finnmotion taught participants to observe their own level of alertness and how it affected them and their colleagues. One shift worker explained how he had done some of the exercises during a night shift and noticed an improvement in his alertness, which led him to encourage his co-workers (not participating in Finnmotion) to join in the exercises he was doing.
“It has been great. I have been given a lot of help and significant changes have happened in my body. I am more aware of my posture. I feel more upright, my body is less lopsided, I can walk better (not dragging my leg), I have a greater range of movement and my upper body is more relaxed. There is still a lot to do, but much has improved already. This will become a permanent part of my life.”
The Finnmotion Posture Programme opened the door for new behaviors at work. At Hailuoto town hall you can now meet the council leader, appearing to be balancing and juggling, but he knows that you are actually doing precise and targeted body work, enhancing wellbeing at work for a few minutes each day.
The latest sick-leave figure in Hailuoto council was 1.3%, compared to 10% a few years ago.
How the exceptional times affected the result
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most Posture Programme participants had to work from home. This had an effect on doing the physical exercises.
At work, exercising together was a strong motivator and participants would invite each other to join in. At home, the special equipment and the encouragement of colleagues were not available, which led to reduced number of exercise session.
At the beginning, we took photos of the participants to establish the starting posture, intending to compare it with their posture at the end of the programme. However, due to having to complete the project online, we did not have an opportunity to take the end of project photos.
All in all, the project results were good. The changes in consciousness the participants achieved will help them wherever they are working from.