Denmark — Never too old for the kindergarten: reducing the strain to retain employees
Vuggestuen Kernehuset, a Danish kindergarten, found that musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) due to repetitive tasks increased the risk of early exit from work among its staff. Partnering with the municipality, it undertook a series of measures to raise health awareness, prevent MSDs and retain older employees. An occupational therapist conducted a work ability analysis to identify solutions. These included work environment adaptations, measure to improve work–life balance and reduced rates on fitness courses. Older employees also coached younger colleagues in being more health aware. The municipality trained the kindergarten manager as a health ambassador to raise employee awareness and encourage participation in health initiatives. Benefits comprised more sustainable working conditions, a reduction in MSDs and the retention of experience in the workplace. Success factors included the support from trade unions and external experts and the diverse range of measures undertaken. Changing employees’ behaviour patterns was identified as a challenge. While these measures are kindergarten specific, the approach is transferable to other businesses.