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How was your day at work today?

Factory2Fit’s new Worker Feedback Dashboard application gives factory workers feedback on their wellbeing and on how their shifts are going

In collaboration with Finn-Power Oy, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed an app that gives workers in the manufacturing industry positive feedback on their personal wellbeing at work and work performance. The app is currently being piloted by the workers at Stera Oy in Forssa, Finland. It was developed as part of the European research project Factory2Fit, funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.   

In the pilot, the app is integrated into the highly automated Prima Power sheet metal working lines manufactured by Finn-Power. It combines the operational data of the automation line and the personal wellbeing data collected using the Fitbit activity tracker. This is displayed as feedback to the worker wearing the Fitbit. The worker is the only one with access to this data.

The purpose of the app is to help workers become aware of how a smooth work flow affects their personal wellbeing and how their personal wellbeing in turn affects their work performance. The app also encourages people to favour a lifestyle of wellbeing.

The operators of an automated Prima Power line at Stera have been piloting the app since April 2018. The operators participating in the pilot have reported that seeing the utilisation rate of the machine after their work shift has been a good motivator.

It has been surprising to see that the number of steps taken during a single work shift may amount to 10,000. After each shift, a graphic trend figure shows the operators how the shift went. The graph helps them recall if something special happened during the shift. They are for example able to analyse how they coped in an error situation and reflect on whether they could do something differently in the future. In the long term, the app may help people find their personal style and way of working that suits them the best.

Tero Marjamäki, Business Unit Manager at Stera points out: “Once we can increase people’s job satisfaction, the work efficiency will also improve. This application gives feedback to the workers themselves only, and that is the way it should be. In the future, we should have a third party involved, providing the employer with compiled and filtered feedback, which would help us identify problem areas and things that need changes.”

“Finn-Power wants to be a forerunner in the development of worker wellbeing as it is one of the competitive advantages on the future markets” says Esko Petäjä, R&D Manager at Finn-Power Oy.

Factory2Fit project coordinator Eija Kaasinen from VTT points out that “In the working life of the future, workers will increasingly take responsibility for their competence and for its development. The Factory2Fit app supports this development by providing positive feedback and helping workers identify their own strengths and areas for personal development. Monitoring of wellbeing at work and work performance supports individual on-the-job learning at a pace that suits the person in question”.

Päivi Heikkilä, VTT research scientist in charge of the piloting notes: “When we interviewed factory workers, we found out that workers often see feedback as something negative, because what is monitored is the number of errors or the downtime of machinery. With the worker feedback dashboard app we particularly want to emphasise positive feedback that can raise the spirits at work and have a positive impact on the worker’s job satisfaction and motivation”.

In the increasingly digitalised working environments, workers easily lose sight of what they achieve at work. Positive feedback on work performance, recognition of personal achievements as well as experiences of success are, however, important to maintain work motivation.

The Factory2Fit project, funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme started in October 2016 and will continue until September 2019. The project develops solutions with the help of which the working environments in the manufacturing industry can be adapted in accordance with the individual skills, needs and preferences of the workers. Another area of development are the solutions that support sharing of information and individual on-the-job learning as well as employee participation in the planning of their own work and working environments. There are nine partners involved in the project: VTT, Finn-Power Oy (Prima Power) and Visual Components from Finland, Continental, Amorph Systems and Chemnitz University of Technology from Germany, United Technologies Research Center and Carr Communications from Ireland and the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) from Greece. 

VTT’s press release:
https://www.vttresearch.com/media/news/how-was-your-day-at-work-today

VTT’s press release (in Finnish):
https://www.vtt.fi/medialle/uutiset/miten-meni-t%C3%A4n%C3%A4%C3%A4n-t%C3%B6iss%C3%A4

Photos: Päivi Heikkilä, VTT

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