60 years old | Workplaces also enjoy doing work, reminds Jari Hakanen, who has studied well-being at work

“Working life has become more and more demanding, and therefore it is even more important to strengthen the good,” says Jari Hakanen, a research professor at the National Institute of Occupational Health.

Summer vacation season is nearing completion. The looming return to work is haunting many.

Research Professor at the National Institute of Occupational Health Jari Hakanen does not belong to them, even if the holiday draws its last. He boasts that he can easily get into holiday mode – and also stay that way. Routines that are repeated from year to year help with the transition.

“After graduation, every summer vacation I’ve watched Ingmar Bergmanin Strawberry spot with his wife. And the first day of the holiday typically starts with washing the windows of the house and listening to rock. ”

At the end of the holiday, Hakanen digs out a pasta machine.

“Kneading pasta is a great way to imagine that time is endless.”

Hakanen if anyone knows how important part of vacation and leisure is in working life. For twenty years, he has studied well-being at work, especially from the perspective of coping at work.

Kontula grown Haka became a researcher of the work through the bends. Having succeeded in science, he ended up studying for a master’s degree in engineering a bit like with autopilot, but it didn’t take him with him.

It was replaced by Social Psychology.

“And it was immediately love. Things were varied, allowed me to think and develop my own thinking. ”

Hakanen’s master’s degree in the treatment experience of people with incurable cancer received his first social psychology board in twenty years.

“It looked like black could become a researcher.”

However, almost a decade was spent on more practical duels in adult education as well as in the STAKES suicide prevention project.

When he comes at the turn of the millennium to the National Institute of Occupational Health from outside the study of working life, Haka wondered a couple of things.

“First, the speech was so negative. There was only talk about risks, symptoms, stress, burnout, sick leave and so on. The name of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health could well have been the Finnish Institute of Occupational Diseases, ”Hakanen jokes.

Not to be misunderstood. Of course, all of the above are important things, Hakanen emphasizes.

“But black felt that complex issues were approached unilaterally. I wanted to pay more attention to the fact that work is also enjoyed in the workplace. ”

Another thing that confused Haka was that very little research was done on the interaction between work and other life.

“The man was a bit like a working man. Work and family were seen only as a source of conflict. Fortunately, today they are already starting to see how they enrich each other. ”

Many Hakanen’s research topics have approached well-being at work from a resource-based perspective.

“Working life has become more demanding and therefore efforts must be made to strengthen the good.”

He has been particularly interested in what supports his author at work. Could work, in addition to its workload, even enrich life?

The idea began to sprout twenty years ago after Hakanen became acquainted with the leading occupational fatigue researcher of his time. To Wilmar Schaufel From the University of Utrecht. Schaufeli talked about the method he had developed to study the opposite of burnout, and asked if Hakan would be interested in doing similar research in Finland.

Schaufel’s term “work engagement” Hakanen turned work into suction.

According to Hakanen, the term is a bit Hönö, but descriptive. In the suction of work, the employee feels energetic, dedicated, and reaches a state of immersion like Flow.

It is often talked aboutthat enthusiasm for work would primarily depend on the personality. No, Hakanen says.

“Everyone can think about their own work history. Have you always experienced the suction of work in the same way so that it just depends on your own attitude? ”

This is supported by a study published by TTL in the spring, which examined the absorption of work in 87 different workplaces and 11 different occupational groups. Three things rose above the others: the development of the work, seeing the results and significance of the work, and working in a good and encouraging team.

The so-called tuning of work, ie the opportunity to make the work more suitable for oneself, also increases the meaning of the work. In several workplaces, things have been raised.

“It’s a sweet thing that this is also a research-driven thing. Twenty years of research and a lot of evidence have been gained on how many positive consequences these things have on an employee’s health and quality of life. And the same goes for performance and productivity from the employer’s perspective. ”

Do things come true in your own work?

“Yes. However, it is important to limit your own work. There are a lot of resources in my work, and they buffer the workload. I have a need for a world healer to add good to the world. At the same time, I get to do research, train, write, analyze and be on the edge of new knowledge. ”

However, work is only one part of life.

“The number one thing is my family. It is a huge resource and a source of meaning. ”


  • Born in Helsinki in 1961.

  • Research Professor, National Institute of Occupational Health.

  • Docent of Social Psychology, University of Helsinki.

  • Researched, among other things, work suction, work tuning, service leadership, work exhaustion, boredom at work, work holism, and the interaction between work and family life.

  • Currently pulling e.g. How Finland Can, a study that collects new information on the development of the well-being of Finnish employees at work during the Korona period.

  • Acknowledgments e.g. the Golden Special Merit Medal for the Development of Work Environment Work 2021 and the Working Life Researcher of the Year 2012.

  • Enjoys movies, literature, cooking, padel and football. Great passions include Italy.

  • The family includes a wife and two adult children.

  • Turns 60 years old on Sunday, August 8th.



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