A healthy company – a vital success factor

A healthy company – a vital success factor

The health of a company’s employees is a vital factor for success, especially for SMEs. It takes everyone to be efficient and pull together to manage the daily workload. All forces have to be united to get all orders finished on time and keep the customers satisfied.

A summer evening, carpentry entrepreneur Walter and his employee Jürg are processing the final pieces of wood for a major order on the CNC machine. Jürg has to grab his back constantly while working on the sawing machine, «There's something wrong,» he confides to his friend and boss. While the men are loading the long wooden pieces onto the delivery truck, Jürg almost drops one of them. «Hey, watch out,» Walter snaps. But then he notices that his employee is sweating profusely and breathing heavily. «Can you make it to the car? I'll drive you to the hospital,» he decides.

When it all gets too much

Only in the course of the evening it becomes clear that Jürg has suffered a severe slipped disc and will be out of action for many weeks. Whether an operation will be needed, whether he will ever be able to resume his work as carpenter - all of this is still unclear. Walter spends several hours at the hospital that evening. It is almost midnight by the time he finally finishes loading the wood. Which of his other five employees can he draw off for the big job? This gets Walter thinking. The pressure to meet deadlines in the construction industry and increasing foreign competition have been causing him problems for quite some time. He actually needs more help in the office, as his wife can only work on an hourly basis with three small children. He has already sent off several invoices late - and then had to wait for the money accordingly. One thing Walter knows for sure: it can't go on like this.

Absences: a burden for the whole team

This example clearly demonstrates that in SMEs, absences affect the whole company. Delays and losses of quality loom and the satisfaction of the customers is also at risk. This is a burden on the whole workforce, since they are now under additional pressure. If this pressure gets too extreme, it can undoubtedly cause further absences. It is all the more important to act now. Walter recognizes this and knows he has to do something. He asks himself how he is to manage it all on his own.

Care Management provides holistic support

In this difficult situation, the care management of an insurer can provide effective support: it arranges the right specialists for the slipped disc and recommends a specialist clinic for the employee affected. A case manager visits the company and not only supports the sick employee, but also takes a look at the situation as a whole. In this specific case, it would for example be conceivable to arrange coaching for the owner. There, he could learn how to cope better with pressure and stress. In addition, a talk takes place with the wife: she is able to mobilize her mother to look after the children and work for one more day per week in the company. All of this is a relief for Walter.

A new perspective

In a further step, the prevention specialist from the insurance company invites the whole team to a workshop. They all consider together how they could redistribute their work during the absence and how they intend to organize their work in future. Subsequently, a physiotherapist may drop by and show the carpenters some tricks for back-friendly working. In the meantime, there are constant talks with the injured Jürg. It soon becomes clear: he will be unable to continue his profession as carpenter as before. Supported by the case manager and in consultation with the boss and IV, he decides to undergo retraining in the commercial sector. He will thus be able to take a lot of the office work off Walter’s hands.

Remaining in contact

Half a year later, the insurance specialists revisit the company: Jürg is clearly enjoying his new role. Walter seems to be more relaxed and well-rested. He is proud to report that all of the employees attend a back course on Fridays at a gym. «We all still have a lot of stress,» he admits. «Could you come back to us so that we can look at that subject again in an employee workshop?»

Get healthy and stay healthy – how good is your insurer?

When deciding on personal insurance and  on an insurance for corporate life & pensions, don't just compare the premiums - but also the benefits. What can your insurer offer you if an employee has an accident or gets sick? Is your insurer also at your side to ensure that as far as possible absences don't occur in the first place? Zurich offers you both: In the event of a loss, we provide you with committed, expert and individual support - if necessary also with a case manager, who accompanies and supports the employees who have become unavailable. At the same time, our prevention team is at your side to ensure your employees remain as fit and healthy as possible. 

Want to know more? Contact us at praevention@zurich.ch or 044 628 34 00.