Helle Bonde

Meet Helle Bonde, Head of Global Health and Safety

Promoting health and safety at AFRY

Alongside sustainability and diversity, safety and well-being are becoming increasingly important for employees and organisations. It is a clear priority for AFRY to protect the safety and health of everyone involved in our projects and working in our offices throughout each working day.  

We had the opportunity to meet with Helle Bonde, Head of Global Health and Safety and asked some questions about AFRY's commitment to a healthy and safe workplace.  

What do you do at AFRY?  

I serve as the Head of Global Health and Safety, based in Åbyhöj, Denmark. In my role, I am responsible for developing and implementing policies and programmes to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our employees worldwide.  

How do the Health and Safety initiatives align with overall organisational goals and values?  

Our employees are our greatest asset. We believe that every person matters, and we strive to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for everyone who works for AFRY. The strategy is deeply rooted in integrating safety throughout our organisation, at AFRYs own locations and the projects we run or participate in globally. I work with different organisational units to integrate safety aspects into our daily operations, business planning and assignments.  

We prioritise not only meeting legal health and safety requirements but also contributing to AFRY's broader goals, such as operational excellence and sustainability. This means promoting a safety culture that aligns with our values and ensures the wellbeing of our staff throughout the value chain. By aligning safety practices with our organisational goals, we create a safer and more resilient workplace. With a systematic approach to safety our goal is to prevent work-related accidents or injuries from happening. One of the practices that support this approach is conducting risk assessments and safe work methods before work begins. We also strongly encourage everybody to speak up about unsafe working conditions and report hazardous situations and so-called near misses. That way we can learn and improve the working conditions.

How does AFRY prioritise health and safety at work globally?

AFRY actively promotes wellbeing in the workplace by considering both subjective and social aspects, in addition to physical and mental health. The company strives to create a global framework for wellness activities and emphasises the importance of a positive balance between career, family and personal roles over time. AFRY is increasing its focus on employee wellness, particularly stress prevention, and plans to introduce regular pulse checks to monitor and address potential issues.

An interesting example worth exploring further is our German sites. They have taken a proactive approach to anticipating and managing potential problem areas, and actively redesigned working conditions to counteract stress and other health problems.  

Helle Bonde
"By aligning safety practices with our organisational goals, we create a safer and more resilient workplace."

How do you get leaders to actively support health and safety initiatives?  

AFRY depends on its employees, and a sustainable workforce is crucial to our success. To be the Employer of Choice, we need leaders who advocate a proactive and preventive approach to health, safety, and well-being. This includes frequent dialogue about working conditions, workload, performance expectations and support needs. How do you get leaders to actively support health and safety initiatives?

What role does leadership play in promoting AFRY's safety culture?  

Managers are responsible for the overall design of working conditions, including physical safety, flexible workplaces, and work design. Promoting a mature health and safety culture is primarily about creating an atmosphere of trust where individuals feel comfortable talking about potential problems, incidents, or mistakes. Open communication is essential for leaders to address and resolve problems effectively.  

What is your best tip for achieving work-life balance at work?  

We often hear about work-life balance and imagine a scale with work on one side and private life on the other. But work can also be fulfilling, which challenges the need for complete separation. It is important to find a balance that suits different situations, knowing when clear boundaries are helpful and when a more mixed approach is appropriate.  

When we seek relaxation or activities outside of work, it can be frustrating if work gets in the way. Conversely, good work-related ideas often come when we are not focused on work. Instead of striving for 'work-life balance', think of it as managing 'work-life conflict'. The goal is to minimise how much work interferes with other activities when we don't want it to. Everyone has different preferences, so there is no universal solution for achieving balance. It depends on our goals and circumstances at any given time.

Group of people at office

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