Occupational health & safety

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Our approach to health and occupational safety

We take our obligation to ensure the health and safety of our employees very seriously. The Board of Management assumes overall responsibility for occupational health and safety, as well as for environmental protection. We bundle and manage our occupational health and safety programs at Group level; health and safety managers (H&S managers) are responsible for implementing these programs locally. The general responsibilities, duties and programs for health and safety management are outlined in the Management System Manual for Quality, Health, Safety and Environmental Protection. The manual serves to harmonize and align our management systems with common targets across the Group. Our Conditions for Purchasing also include agreements on occupational health and safety, which our suppliers must fulfill.

Occupational health and safety in the Group is firmly anchored in our structures, through certified management systems and suitable policies and guidelines. We conform to the ISO 45001 standard in this connection. In 2018, we were one of the first DAX-listed companies to have our H&S management system certified according to the standard. Before that, we had been certified to OHSAS 18001 from 2011. In 2023, our H&S management system, which is certified pursuant to ISO 45001, ISO 14001 img and ISO 9001, underwent a successful review. Deutsche Telekom’s umbrella certificates for occupational health and safety, environmental protection, and quality are slated for review and recertification in 2024. At the end of the 2023 financial year, 18 sites were certified pursuant to ISO 9001 img, 89 sites pursuant to ISO 14001, and 83 sites pursuant to ISO 45001. The certificates certify that we have systematic procedures and processes in place to ensure and continually improve occupational health and safety as well as environmental protection.

We promote health awareness and health literacy among our employees, with targeted measures and comprehensive programs. At the same time, safety in the workplace is our highest priority. We view legally mandated occupational health and safety standards as minimum requirements. Awareness-raising, prevention, and personal responsibility are of particular importance to us. For this reason, we offer training courses on all relevant topics, such as first-aid, fire safety, and driver safety.

We regularly determine risks to health and safety. We produce risk assessments for all activities and use them to derive appropriate measures – such as mandatory fire safety instructions for all employees. When we collaborate with external service providers, it is important that our safety standards be met.

Our portfolio of occupational health and safety measures also includes many voluntary measures to promote health within the company. These include, for example:

  • An annual, comprehensive health check by company doctors
  • Vaccinations and hygiene measures
  • Colon cancer screening
  • Exercise/fitness activities
  • Programs for recovery and resilience, mindfulness, health-oriented leadership
  • Increasingly, digital training

In the reporting year, we received a number of awards for our efforts on behalf of in-company health promotion. For example, for our “One Minute to Arrive” mindfulness initiative, we were honored as an “Employee Wellbeing Champion” (award: Special Mention). With “One Minute to Arrive,” we encourage our employees to take a minute to pause and reflect at the beginning of every meeting. In that minute, participants are encouraged to concentrate on the moment – while also taking note of their breathing, if they wish – and thereby become better able to open the meeting in a collected and focused manner. The initiative, which is being offered in the context of New Work, is an organizational development measure aimed at enhancing everyday working life. In the EU segment, the OTE Group received several awards for its “Health & Safety” initiatives. The group was honored for its efforts to promote a workplace culture of health and safety, for example, and for its development of individualized programs for promoting employees’ physical and mental health and their overall well-being. Also, in the area of occupational safety, a first aid app img introduced in the Germany segment img received the German Stevie Award. More information on the application is available here.

The impact assessment of our materiality analysis identified potential risks to health and safety in the work and process steps of Deutsche Telekom’s upstream and downstream value chains. Insufficient hygienic measures, deficient safeguards, and a lack of preventive measures can result in accidents or damage to employee health. Our measures to improve occupational health and safety are aimed at reducing these risks. They also have a positive effect on the environment. A structured occupational safety process for handling hazardous materials, for example, ensures that hazardous materials cannot leak out or pose a risk to the environment.

We also work together with certified waste disposal companies, to ensure that the disposal of our electronics products does not harm the environment or the health of the local population.

 

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 403 3-3 (Management of material topics)
  • GRI 403-1 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-4 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-5 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-6 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-7 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-8 (Occupational Health and Safety)

 

Our contribution to the SDGs

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Effectiveness of our occupational health and safety measures

In line with the PDCA cycle (plan, do, check, act), we systematically investigate and measure the effectiveness of our measures. We endeavor to continuously develop and enhance our management system. To this end, we regularly investigate how occupational health and safety are integrated in management and leadership activities and derive improvement strategies as needed. This includes reviewing the results of our employee survey, evaluating stress prevention measures under collective agreements, competitor analyses, and other indicators. We analyze this information on an ongoing basis and use it to develop suitable measures to promote the health and well-being of our employees. In addition, all employees can actively help shape our measures for occupational health and safety, in line with the requirements of ISO 45001.

Different indicators reflect the effectiveness of our corporate health management activities:

  • At Deutsche Telekom in Germany, the health rate (including long-term illnesses) in the reporting year was 94.3 percent (prior year: 93.8 percent). Excluding long-term illnesses, the health rate over the same period was 95.8 percent (prior year: 95.2 percent). The health rate is reported to the Board of Management at the end of each quarter.
  • The total number of accidents at work remained at a low level in the reporting year. In 2023, the accident rate in Germany was 5.2 accidents (accidents resulting in more than three days of absence) per thousand employees (prior year: 5.5). 
  • The Group-wide health index img – which was most recently determined in connection with the 2021 employee survey, in nearly all countries with Deutsche Telekom employees – was 69 (on a scale of 0 to 100). This represents a slight increase of four points with respect to the previous survey in 2019. Preparations for determining the next health index began in 2023.

In the fall of 2023, the company’s annual flu-shot campaign again took place. Between October and December 2023, some 6 800 of our employees in Germany received their flu shots via the campaign. 

While we did not offer COVID-19 vaccinations in 2023, we did monitor and assess the coronavirus situation on an ongoing basis. As a result, we would be in a position to resume our COVID-19 vaccination program as necessary, on short notice.

 

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 403-2 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-3 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-6 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-9 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-10 (Occupational Health and Safety)

 

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Psychosocial support in connection with personal and professional changes

We attach great importance to the psychosocial support that the Employee and Executive Advisory Service (MFB) provides for various transformation processes across the Group. The goal is to help affected employees, managers, and teams deal with professional and private changes, and to prevent psychosocial crises. In the event of an acute crisis, our crisis intervention takes action: The party concerned, along with family members when needed, can make use of professional counseling from an experienced team of experts.

In Germany, we also offer free and anonymous personal counseling and consultation hours. Via the service, company employees can consult healthcare professionals (employed by healthcare providers) – in person, either at the professionals’ own locations or at Deutsche Telekom facilities. And consultations can also be initiated and conducted via telephone calls, video chats, messaging and email. Employees can also contact health professionals via the “Talk Time” telephone helpline, which as of 2023 is available on a 24/7 basis to deal with both urgent and non-urgent situations. If necessary, employees seeking help are referred directly to local experts or specialist agencies. The counselors have a duty to maintain confidentiality and are familiar with the specifics of the company. 

As of 2023, the Talk Time helpline is also available to employees outside of Germany, including employees in Greece, the UK, the Czech Republic and Türkiye. In 2024, the service will be extended to additional countries.

Since 2022, we have offered special psychosocial counseling to our international employees and helpers who have been exposed to stresses and disturbing events tied to Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine. In the reporting year, we also provided this free service to employees who have experienced other catastrophic events – such as the earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Syria in February 2023, and the war in the Middle East. In addition, the free, individual counseling offered by the service is not limited to our own employees; it is also open to employees’ family members and friends on location. Our counselors, working across international boundaries, offer victims, persons in mourning and persons seeking advice support in dealing with anxiety, fear, and other mental stresses. Also, the service is available in several different languages, including Turkish, Arabic, and Hebrew. 

Via our Employee and Executive Advisory Service (MFB), we have long provided special additional support to managers, in the form of presentations and workshops on healthy leadership, conflict management, mindfulness, and self-leadership, as well as on strategies for dealing with changes and mental stress.

Courses on virtual leadership are also part of these offerings. Working in hybrid or distributed teams has long been part of everyday life for some parts of Deutsche Telekom. During the pandemic, however, as more and more people worked from home, managers, who need to stay in touch with the teams and individuals under them and be aware of any relevant changes, faced the additional challenge of finding enough time and opportunity for personal interaction. In many cases, this meant relying on regular video conferences. As of the end of 2023, our office staff are increasingly leaving their home offices and again working at company facilities. Teamwork at our various locations has been benefitting from the intensified personal interaction that in-office work makes possible.

 

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 403-3 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-6 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-10 (Occupational Health and Safety)

 

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Digitalization and health

For many years now, we have offered our employees a comprehensive range of programs to help them stay healthy and fit, and sharp and motivated, as they face the challenges of the increasingly digital and agile img modern workplace.

The “My Health Journey” health program
In the reporting year, we continued our My Health Journey company health program for mental resilience, which is available to all employees in Germany. In addition to a series of workshops on developing mental resilience, mindfulness and good self-care habits, it provides science-based mindfulness training for managers and executives. The program also now includes modules covering all fields of prevention. In addition to the focus topic “Mental resilience,” we now also offer courses on good nutrition, regular exercise, and restful sleep. And the program also includes open lectures, and on-demand individual counseling on topics such as sleep and nutrition.

In the reporting year, an online “#mymoment” area once again offered our employees in Germany live workshops, video clips and handouts, all oriented to the topic of cultivating mindfulness in the workplace.

Since 2021, a training course entitled “Healthy, mindful leadership” has been available to managers and executives in nearly all of our German companies. This is a multimodal course designed to improve the digital health literacy of employees. In the reporting year, the course curriculum focused especially on dealing with the challenges of “New Work”. For example, it covered topics such as hybrid leadership, meaningfulness, and empathy. The “Healthy, mindful leadership” training course began in 2019 as a pilot project.

In addition, since 2020 our employees in Germany have access to the FITMIT5 (fitwith5) app img which is also integrated in the annual My Health Journey program. The training app includes an algorithm that puts together five-minute workout programs tailored to users’ needs. In addition, it provides further exercise and meditation resources, as well as a nutritional tips. In light of the positive feedback received, this offer was continued in the reporting year and is now available to all company employees free of charge. We also launched a collaboration with SHENTISPORTS in 2022 that enables our business customers to offer the FITMIT5 app to their own employees.

Other offerings and action days 
In 2023, we again held “action days,” or campaigns devoted to specific topics, for our employees. These included a Mindfulness Day, a Mental Health Day, a Sleep Day and a Nutrition Day. In some cases, the campaigns were conducted in several different languages. 

Our Mindfulness Day, which took place in September 2023, featured a diverse supporting program entitled “The Power in Small Habits.” Action day activities for our employees included online meditation and yoga; presentations on the challenges of the modern workplace; and presentations on strategies for dealing with digital technologies. In connection with our “Mental Health Day,” which took place in October 2023, we offered our employees a full week of webinars and expert presentations on topics such as resilience, self-care, and self-empathy. In addition, they had the opportunity to take part in a range of practical exercises, such as breath-training and short-meditation exercises. We view our efforts to promote mental health among our employees also as efforts to promote a positive corporate culture.

Our “Sleep Day,” which was held in June 2023, presented a wealth of information about sleep, including both restful nighttime sleep and sleep disorders. The presentation formats included numerous webinars and a virtual tour through a 3D sleep-obstacle course. The Day presented both general information, about the topics of sleep and rest, and tips and strategies on ways of improving one’s own individual sleep. 

The latter included information based on the latest findings from sleep research. To that end, in Germany we drew on the “Healthy Sleep” campaign, which developed from T-Systems’ “#ausruhezeichen,” a sleep and rest campaign launched in 2020. At the end of the reporting year, the three-year pilot phase of “#ausruhezeichen” also ended, with positive results. For example, employees who had taken part in the sleep coaching offered via the campaign reported that their sleeping habits had improved as a result. As of 2024, as a result of the campaign’s great success, we are offering a diverse range of similar measures to all Deutsche Telekom employees in Germany. In 2022, one Deutsche Telekom location in Bonn set aside a room in which employees could spend short periods sleeping or resting. The pilot phase of this arrangement proved to be such a success that the room has been kept “in operation.” The room, which features a rest area, and a day bed for power naps, is available to all employees working at the location. 

About nutrition, another health topic: Since 2021, we have been working with BARMER, a health-insurance provider, to provide online presentations by nutrition consultants and top athletes, as well as team workshops and added offerings such as Weight Watchers Online throughout the Group.

 

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 403-6 (Occupational Health and Safety)

 

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Digital solutions for occupational safety

To be effective, occupational safety management has to stay up to date. Even though our employees and managers work at many different locations, and often work remotely, they should still have easy access to our occupational safety programs. For this reason, Deutsche Telekom is working to digitalize and simplify the relevant core processes. For example, assessments of physical and technical hazards have been managed digitally in Germany since 2023. Also, since 2015 the Group has been preparing assessments of risks to mental health in digital form. Also, the company has set up an online portal for reporting of accidents and near-accidents.

In 2023, we introduced interactive, web-based training courses on such subjects, to ensure we are reaching all of our highly mobile workforce. As of August 2023, employees throughout the Group have online access to information about a range of key topics in this area, such as fire safety; safe traffic routes; proper use of tablets by field-service staff; and healthy, safe use of computer displays. Participants automatically receive certification of their participation in a course that complies with legal requirements. For executives and managers, we have also introduced a mandatory training course entitled “Management skills in occupational health and safety.” The digital content in this area is barrier-free – meaning it can also be easily accessed by persons with disabilities – and it is available in both English and German. We plan to gradually expand our range of online instruction in this area. 

Also in 2023, we launched, on a Group-wide basis, a dedicated first aid app img. All Deutsche Telekom employees are invited to install it on their work devices. In any emergency situations at Deutsche Telekom locations, they can use it to quickly alert nearby first responders, which the app automatically locates via GPS img tracking. Significantly, this location feature can be especially valuable in hybrid work environments. 

 

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 403-3 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-5 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-10 (Occupational Health and Safety)
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Health rate KPI

In Germany, the health rate for the Deutsche Telekom Group in 2023 showed a slight improvement of 0.5 percentage points year-on-year, and stood at an average of 94.3 percent (including the long-term sick). Musculoskeletal disorders, respiratory diseases, and mental health problems account for the bulk of illness-related absenteeism at Deutsche Telekom.

Not including the long-term sick, the company’s 2023 health rate amounted to 95.8 percent, which is slightly higher – by 0.4 percentage points – than the value for the previous year. The health rate is reported to the Board of Management at the end of each quarter. The company aims to increase its health rate.

Targeted health protection programs were implemented in the individual companies. Across all segments, management training courses on the topic of “healthy leadership” were either introduced or continued. The aim is to raise managers’ awareness of this issue and train them accordingly. Additionally, a structured absence management system will be put in place to ensure that employees and managers regularly communicate about illness-related absences so that appropriate action can be taken early on.

  2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Group (national) 93.8 93.7 93.6 94.0 95.0 95.3 93.8 94.3

Further information about this is available in the HR Factbook.

 

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 403-9 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-10 (Occupational Health and Safety)

 

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Work-related accidents in Germany KPI

In the reporting year, the number of workplace and commuting accidents remained at a low level. The accident rate in Germany for 2023 was 5.2 accidents (resulting in over three days of absence) per thousand employees, which continues to be below the industry average.

Deutsche Telekom has an occupational health and safety management system pursuant to ISO 45001 in place to reduce the number of work-related accidents. This certified system makes it possible to map the entire health and safety process and to develop sets of measures to further improve employee safety.

Further information about this is available in the HR Factbook.

 

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 403-9 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-10 (Occupational Health and Safety)

 

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    We are working on behalf

    of an online world in which all people

    can participate and coexist in

    keeping with democratic principles

    We are working on behalf of an online world in which all people can participate and coexist in keeping with democratic principles

    Via our “No hate speech” initiative, we once again reached a great many people (about 865 million media contacts), including the many opinion leaders and educators (about 5.7 million people) we contacted directly.

    Our “ShareWithCare” campaign also reached a great many people – and it has played an important role, worldwide, in discussion about online sharing of photos of children. With over 250 million media contacts, ShareWithCare has successfully raised awareness about issues surrounding online sharing of children’s photos and data.

    Also, via programs such as Teachtoday and Scroller, we have continued working to promote media literacy in people of all ages, always with the aim of helping people navigate cyberspace safely, securely and with confidence.

    More than 200 000 people work at Deutsche Telekom – and every one of them is unique. This diversity is our strength. In keeping with our understanding of diversity, we offer our employees many ways to keep developing and growing professionally and personally. Thanks to such efforts, our employees’ satisfaction levels remain high: In 2023, our “engagement score,” which is calculated on the basis of responses in subject areas such as mood, employer attractiveness, brand identity, and inspiration, totaled 76 percent.

    Detailed examples of our progress in 2023, described from the perspectives of both the Group and our segments, are presented in the subsections.

    Highlight numbers

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    Progress of selected KPIs in  2023

    • 2022 2023

    • Community Contribution 2 346m. € 1 504m. €

    • Beneficiaries – Focus Topics 41m. 51m.

    • Reach – Focus Topics 2 070m. 1 734m.

    • Employee satisfaction 78% 76%

    • Proportion of women in middle and upper management 28.1% 27.9%

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