Attend a Swedish Work Environment course, they said, sign up here, they said, it’s all digital, they said. They even delivered a box of books (all in Swedish, “Herregud!”), a welcome letter with a list of instructions and a yummy chocolate bar (70% cocoa, the good stuff) to enjoy a Digifika (Swedish coffee break).

The letter with instructions, well that was the easy part; I had to read some stuff in Swedish (I could do that, sure), add a photo, upload it onto their Teams channel and introduce myself, WHAT?! Speak Swedish even for a minute in front of how many native Swedish speakers? “Herregud” again!

But hey, nothing could stop me from finding out more about what the organization I now find myself working for, actually does. It was…is all part of my induction to the Clever Collaboration Group Europe AB, the real work life induction, not just the study part that I had previously been doing.

So here I was a couple of weeks ago ready for BAM!, that’s “Bättre Arbetsmiljö” or Better Work Environment to English natives like me. It sounded interesting and I was sort of expecting “touchy-feely” stuff given that the work environment in Sweden is a little “gentler” than what I have been previously exposed to.

Was I wrong?

Yes, I was most definitely wrong. Those Swedes know what they’re talking about when it comes to work environment. Think HSE, OSH, QMS, internal audit, rules, laws, regulations and a good dose of HR (it’s all about keeping people safe and well at work you know) all rolled into one. This is Scandinavian Viking stuff, hits you hard in a good way of course, makes you stronger. Why was I even surprised? My colleague, the energetic, passionate, former pro-athlete Carolin lives this stuff and loves what she does. I should have guessed really, but I guess that my settling into work in a new country with new language kind of got in the way of my usual radar.

So, three sessions later with one still to go, I am now in full BAM! mode. I have lived it, felt it with the other participants who all seem as enthused as me about what BAM can bring to the workplace. A systematic approach is what is laid out AND how to achieve it. What I have enjoyed the most is that it is not just another health and safety session with the focus on physical safety and a bit of health. Don’t get me wrong, I have always enjoyed those. No, BAM takes it up a notch and makes you consider all aspects of working life, and whether you are working from a desk or loading stuff onto trucks, teaching from a classroom or selling out on the road, it covers the full spectrum and forces you to appreciate how even office-based employees sitting comfortably (we hope) in their offices can feel the effects of a better work environment when a systematic approach is applied.

 I wrote the other day about finding it difficult over the years to get executives to buy into health and safety KPIs if they did not work in “high-risk” areas, but BAM shows you that when you have people working for you, THAT IS a high risk especially if you don’t take care of them and employ a system which seeks to keep improving the work environment for everyone.

Go on, I dare you…say it…BAM! 😊

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