When it comes to performing at your best, physical performance alone is not enough. Training and maintaining professional skills have a key role for the performance itself, but mental control and well-being are also essential for the preparation and end result – jumping over the bar.
High jumper Ella Junnila aims to do this in a literal way in every high jump competition. Setting a new Finnish record and winning bronze at the European Championship are among her achievements. Orion sets the bar high in a more figurative way when it comes to corporate responsibility, and one of the important themes is the mental well-being of Orionees.
Ella Junnila listens to her mind and body and allows them to recover
Finland’s top high jumper is driven by an inner motivation that isn’t deterred by rain or even injuries:
“I want to discover my limits and find out how good I can be,” says Junnila.
Junnila says she is a performer who exercises self-leadership “with an iron fist”. In addition to being an elite athlete and carrying out disciplined training, she is studying politics at the University of Tampere. In the midst of her busy everyday life, she carefully listens to her mind and body and gives them time to rest when they need it. If your mind is in overdrive, your sleep will suffer and thinking about all the things you need to do will affect your ability to concentrate.
“My most effective way of relieving stress is writing to-do lists and chopping up big projects into smaller chunks. When I have listed even the smallest things that are on my mind in my calendar, I know that they will be taken care of on time. This means I can focus on what I’m doing,” Junnila says.
At Orion, the mental well-being of top professionals is ensured in Orion’s values and daily work
Orion also wants to take care of the mental well-being of its top professionals, and is constantly striving to make Orion an even more mind-friendly workplace. MIELI Mental Health Finland has awarded Orion the Supporting Mental health at Work® label in recognition of its efforts to systematically improve mental well-being.
“Professionals at Orion typically feel that their work is very meaningful – the meaningfulness of the work alone motivates people and inspires them to perform at their best. However, at times they have to cope with a heavy workload due to several overlapping projects and tasks, which can feel overwhelming,” says Katja Kärkkäinen, Wellbeing Manager at Orion, who develops well-being at work and working capacity management.
“The employees’ well-being and coping at work are regularly monitored with Empowered Personnel discussions held between the employee and supervisor. The goal of the discussions is to assess workload on a monthly basis. If the alarm levels are exceeded, actions are taken,” says Kärkkäinen.
A working culture where colleagues value and respect one another is an integral part of Orion’s values and early intervention model. A person who is finding it hard to cope may be blind to their situation and the support of the working community will help to speed up the identification of weak signals that may predict burnout. Supportive colleagues can help the person receive help before the problems build up and reach a crisis point. A caring culture is key here.
Joint discussions are held between the employee, the supervisor, HR and occupational healthcare to discover the actual root causes of the problems. The idea is to adapt the workload so that it corresponds to the person’s capacity to work and enables rehabilitation.
Orion also offers personalised mental well-being services, where employees can reflect on their own situation with the help of a professional. Preventive online training sessions on mental well-being are also widely offered.
Achievements are something to celebrate and learn from
Achievements are big motivators, both at work and in top-level sports. After a successful jump and competition, Ella Junnila gives herself full permission to enjoy her achievement.
“I pat myself on the back and congratulate myself. However, there’s always room to improve your performance in the high jump, so even when I have been successful, I’ll review my performance carefully: what did I do well and what can I improve?"
Junnila also uses self-reflection to help her in her studies. After a successful project, she will reflect on what kind of member of the group she was, what she would have wanted from others and whether she was able to communicate this to them.
“I want to develop as a student, as a person and as a high jumper. You can still raise the bar, even if you are pleased with your performance!” Junnila says.
Orion has been focusing on developing a coaching leadership culture for years. The aim is that supervisors will help their employees succeed as individuals and the team to succeed together. At Orion, development discussions are called Succeeding Together discussions, which reflects the importance of collaboration.
Orion often receives positive feedback about its team spirit, where colleagues encourage and support each other. The knowledge that colleagues and supervisors care about each other is reflected as well-being and the feeling of psychological safety in the working community.
Ella’s tips to promote mental well-being and relieve stress:
- Learn to listen to your body. When it is physically tired, it needs rest, but you can alleviate mental fatigue with exercise. When my mind and body are in overdrive I like to stretch –when you stretch your big muscle groups, the body calms down.
- Find a way to relax without using electronic devices. I love to read, but painting, writing or handicrafts, for example, are other good ways to relax.
- Sleep and nutritious food help me to recover. I make sure I get enough energy, protein and trace elements from my food. However, sometimes I think that the only thing that will help me recover is a jam doughnut.