Ericsson’s Sena Erten says companies should celebrate work-life balance, not burnout

Ericsson believes organisations can gain enormously from encouraging a work-life balance for their employees.

Ericsson’s head of people for market area Middle East and Africa Sena Erten says that the telecommunications company has been working towards a culture that does not celebrate burnout, and truly puts people first.

But she says as the pandemic continues to alter the way people work, many find themselves in situations where home is their work, and work is home, and the added strain of global uncertainty during these times has definitely caused some employees to pour themselves into work, check emails at the dinner table and lose the very valuable concept of work-life balance.

She adds that for some, working from home has led to a feeling of being constantly on call.

“As employers, where do we draw the line, and do we even need to? The answer is quite simply, yes. Organisations have a responsibility to ensure that their people not only don’t need to be constantly on call but also understand that this behaviour will not be rewarded,” she says.

Sena says cultures that focus on people understand that employees are human, with requirements and responsibilities outside of their work-life, and a good company culture should be able to transition quite seamlessly from a physical office to a virtual one.

“Ericsson made the transition to remote work globally already at the beginning of March and now has 85,000 employees routinely working from home. We were able to move employees who operate customer networks from our global Network Operation Centres to home with zero impact on performance levels.”

In implementing the kind of environment, Sena explains that their holistic approach to employee health, safety and well-being is followed through an initiative called Ericsson Care.

“At Ericsson Care we’ve placed work-life balance at the top of our agenda globally across our organisation, particularly as the Covid-19 pandemic put additional pressures on our people and disrupted their lives. We’ve provided them access to wellness programmes, facilitated speakers on topics ranging from coping with stress to meditation and have ensured that we provide them with a health-conscious work environment. But most importantly, we’ve listened, we’ve ensured that we provide an environment where our people can speak up and feel heard.”

Sena concludes that they have seen study after study demonstrate that employees who have a good work-life balance simply do a better job, so promoting this balance isn’t only a moral responsibility for any organisation looking out for its people, it’s also a great business decision.