Our health management strategy is designed to maintain and promote our employees’ health and performance. We view occupational health and safety legislation as minimum requirements.
Incorporating health and safety management throughout the Group
Our corporate occupational health and safety measures are effectively incorporated into our structures via certified management systems and appropriate policies and guidelines The foundation for this is the internationally recognized management standard OHSAS 18001, which we have been using since 2010. During the reporting year, 73 German and international locations were audited according to OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001. Their certification was renewed in all cases. With these results, we can guarantee a high health and safety standard in years to come.
All of the parties, tasks, and measures involved in the health and safety management system are described in a handbook titled Health & Safety Environment. The handbook was signed by our Board of Management as a symbol of our commitment to health and safety. Our health and safety measures are centrally steered at Group level, with health managers being responsible for implementation at the different locations. We systematically assess the effectiveness of our measures. This includes reviewing the results of our employee survey, evaluating stress prevention measures under collective agreements, competitor analyses, and other relevant indicators. The analysis of this data forms the basis for annual measures that by far exceed legal requirements. Some examples of this are our comprehensive psychosocial counseling programs as well as our driver safety training and exercise offers.
One focus of our corporate health promotion activities is encouraging our employees to assume responsibility for their own health. In this vein, we expect our managers to foster a corresponding corporate culture. Our Group-wide employee survey in particular, which is conducted in 30 countries, outlines a follow-up process which the managers go through together with their teams in 2-year cycles. Among other things, the employee survey determines the mental stress in the workplace, the available resources, and the consequences of stress on health. Health and safety management assists managers and teams when there are unsatisfactory results and provides recommendations for action together with offers based on the team results.
Different performance indicators reflect the effectiveness of our corporate health management activities:
- At Deutsche Telekom in Germany, the health rate (not counting people with long-term illnesses) in 2017 decreased slightly by 0.1 to 93.7 percent but still remained high.
- The total number of work-related accidents continued to decline in the reporting year in comparison with the previous year. The accident rate in Germany was 8.5 accidents (resulting in over three days of absence) per thousand employees, which continues to be well below the industry average.
- The Group-wide health index – calculated as part of the 2017 employee survey in 30 countries – increased positively by 0.1 to 3.6 (on a scale of 1 to 5).
In 2017, we were once again distinguished for our health and safety management. Within the scope of the German Corporate Health Award (DeutscherUnternehmenspreis Gesundheit), we received the excellence seal for our holistic corporate health management and were awarded the special prize "Innovative Corporate Health Promotion " for our Active Workplace project. We also again received the Corporate Health Award, an initiative of the Handelsblatt publishing group, among others. We've been in first place in the Service, IT, and Communication category multiple times. The jury, which consisted of experts in the fields of science, health, and occupational health and safety, especially honored the fact that health awareness is an important component of our corporate philosophy.
Fit and mobile at work
We have been offering our employees special fitness programs at locations in Germany since 2014 to help counteract the effects of a day spent working at their desks. Qualified "mobile fitness coaches" teach easy-to-do exercises particularly for back and neck to small teams of employees. These programs are very popular among our employees. By the end of 2017, we had given more than 1,000 courses within the framework of our comprehensive health promotion activities.
Recent scientific studies show that taking regular breaks is more effective than lengthy exercise sessions after work for people with desk jobs. We therefore added a new exercise offer in 2016 with the Active Workplace project. This project gives our employees the opportunity to combine their job with exercise with the help of so-called desk bikes. These stationary bikes help effectively prevent health risks associated with lack of movement at the office workstation.
About 4,000 employees were able to use a desk bike during its first implementation phase. This first phase was scientifically supported by a study conducted by BerufsgenossenschaftVerkehr (the occupational accident insurer of the transportation and telecommunication industries), the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV), and the German Sport University Cologne. The academics examined not only the test participants’ levels of acceptance and whether they felt good using the equipment, but also physiological activity parameters, energy conversion levels, and individual posture. Not only were participants having fun, their mental activity also increased. Another positive side effect was that participants burned more calories when cycling than when just sitting.
Because the positive response of our employees was supported by the accompanying study, we decided to order an additional 500 desk bikes in 2017. In the meantime, over 10,000 employees have taken advantage of this program. We are planning to expand the program in 2018 and include international locations as well.
Psychosocial counseling as part of change management
All employees face major challenges when there are changes in the workplace. That is why psychosocial counseling for transformation processes by the Employee and Executive Advisory Service plays an important role at Deutsche Telekom. Our goal is to provide support to employees and managers and prevent psychological crises.
To this end, we offer individual counseling and consultation hours. Employees can take advantage of several one-hour counseling sessions. Immediate phone counseling is also available through a special hotline ("TALK TIME"). We support managers and supervisors during change processes with appropriate tools. Talks and workshops on psychological health complete the offer. Targeted communication measures inform employees at affected locations of these offers.
In 2017 we especially supplemented the restructuring measures at DTSE (Deutsche Telekom Services Europe) by offering psychosocial counseling. We held special counseling days ("Employee and Executive Advisory Service on site") for greatly affected locations.
T-Systems: the Happiness project and research project on managerial health competence
Continuation of the Corporate Happiness project:
T-Systems started initiating changes in its corporate culture within the scope of a pilot project in 2016. The aim of the project is to apply the scientific findings of "positive psychology" to identify values that will enable all employees to better realize their potential. The project encourages them to independently work toward their own, as well as the company's, success. In 2016 we trained 27 "happiness ambassadors" under the pilot project, offered training courses and impulse talks, and launched the Stop Complaining initiative. Due to the positive effect of the project, we decided in 2017 to expand it throughout the entire Group and train an additional 30 happiness ambassadors. We also carried out numerous other activities at T-Systems during the reporting year. For example, we conducted various training sessions within the framework of the HR Academy (LINK to HR Academy, "Education and Development" subsection), held numerous impulse talks, and offered team building measures.
Research project on managerial health competence
Managers play a key role in promoting corporate health. That's because they not only influence their employees' workplace environment but also serve as an example. Numerous studies have proven a connection between managerial conduct and employee health. At the same time, managers themselves are an important target group for corporate health promotion measures, as they are frequently exposed to higher health hazards than employees without personnel responsibility.
Managers are hence the focus of the "HeLEvi" research project - the "Health opportunities – healthy self-management: recognizing, developing, and implementing potential" training program. T-Systems has paired up with the German Sport University Cologne and the local Cologne Institute for Health Economics and Clinical Epidemiology to carry out this project. The goal of the project is to design, implement, and evaluate an evidence-based training program for promoting health competence among managers. The project is being supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
A total of 143 managers have participated in the HeLEvi program. The project ended in November 2017 with a closing event in Bonn, during which the professors presented the research partners with the project method and the study results. The next step will be to entrench the topic and increase corporate health promotion awareness within the Group.
Strengthening the role of managers
Managers play an important role at the company when it comes to health promotion. In order to support Deutshe Telekom managers in their exemplary function, we already offer web-based training in addition to individual coaching. Topics include occupational health and safety, employee mental health, and corporate integration management after long-term illness. Health promotion is also a component of our current management development programs. Our managers can choose from among a comprehensive portfolio of offers for supporting their managerial competence. One such example is the "HelEvi" project - the evidence-based development program for T-Systems managers.
Digitalization and health – a joint project with health insurer BARMER
In 2016, researchers at the University of St. Gallen commissioned by health insurer BARMER and Deutsche Telekom examined how digitalization had changed the working world. The study showed positive aspects of digitalization, e.g. more flexible configuration of working hours and locations. Nevertheless, the results also pointed out risk factors with respect to physical and mental health. The study results are the basis for a corporate health management project that we started at the Group in May 2017 together with health insurer BARMER.
The aim of the project is to scientifically examine the effects of digitized workplaces as well as other use of digital technologies on employee health. With its "Digitalization and Health" pilot project, Deutsche Telekom is the first company to systematically tackle this range of topics together with a health insurer. The goal is to increase employee performance and identify starting points for engaging in early prevention within the corporate context. The project connects science, HR management, employee representatives as well as health business units, thereby contributing to innovative human resources and health management. Managers are the focus of this project. On the one hand, their managerial conduct is a decisive factor in the success of digitalization. On the other hand, they also bear a significant responsibility, for which they require support.
Initial measures were already tested at the end of 2017 – including M-Sence, an app for headache prevention, and Soma-Analytics, an app that provides personalized feedback on improving mental resilience and productivity. Other pilot projects are planned for 2018. A digital guide will be created, among other things, which will help with the selection of the individually appropriate health promotion measures.
Health and Sports at T-Systems Mexico
As part of our “Total Health” Program, an in-company training program was launched to promote physical exercise, improve the health and lifestyle of employees, and enable them to participate in relaxing activities with their co-workers.
This year’s “Health Month” was organized in October 2017 and included activities for all our employees. The company received government support through the Mexican Social Security Institute and employees were offered a check-up with eye test, blood-pressure measurements, testing for glucose levels, vaccinations for seasonal diseases, and height and weight checks.
The program included six health presentations, five guest specialists in insurance, dental and eye care, and four courses on civil defense. 371 employees took part in the Health Month representing30% of the workforce. They were able to attend any of the health events held in Puebla and Mexico City.
T-Systems Mexico seeks to promote greater integration, better quality of life, and a good work-life balance. This year TSMX organized various sports tournaments such as volleyball, basketball, soccer, and dominos from January to December. There was a big uptake and approximately 40% of our employees took part in various activities. This helped to improve our work ethic, enhanced teamwork, contributed to a healthy lifestyle and released stress.
Medical check-ups at T-Systems in Russia
In 2017, all employees at T-Systems CIS & Rus were given an opportunity to have a preventive medical check-up throughout the year. It included checks by the specialists listed below (Neurologist, Ophthalmologist, Cardiologist, and others).
A total of 1074 employees attended the medical check-up in 2017.
305 employees were vaccinated in the fall of 2017 (voluntarily).
The doctor in the office is still available every Tuesday from 11 a.m. until 3.00 p.m. for a consultation. Between 15 and 20 employees are given check-ups each week.