Parents were at the greatest risk during the pandemic

Finalists of the Via Bona award in the category Outstanding Employer for 2021

The pandemic has worsened domestic violence in Slovakia.The pandemic has worsened domestic violence in Slovakia. (Source: Courtesy of Ikea Bratislava)

The new approach to home office triggered by Covid has been welcomed as bringing undeniable advantages. But two years after the outbreak of the pandemic, businesses and labour market experts recognise and discuss its drawbacks, too.

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One of them is pressure on mental health, for those who have spent extended periods of time alone in their homes, as well as those with children struggling to maintain a worklife balance.

Mental health and domestic violence, another phenomenon that experts say has worsened during the pandemic, dominated this year’s applications for the Via Bona award in the Outstanding Employer category. In their applications for the prestigious national prize, handed out by the Pontis Foundation to responsible and fair businesses, companies also addressed employment of people from marginalised communities.

“In the Outstanding Employer category, the award goes to projects and activities that create fair and dignified conditions and opportunities for diverse groups of employees in an exceptional way,” Silvia Porubänová, executive director of the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights and the ambassador of this category, told The Slovak Spectator. “When choosing finalists, it is mainly a matter of finding the best ones with consistent, comprehensive, and inspiring results for others with a visible impact.”

A total of five companies enrolled for the award in this category, listing activities and projects they implemented in 2021. This was a decline compared to 11 nominations in 2020 and nine in 2019, despite the deadline being prolonged by one week. One reason was the war in Ukraine, which broke out at a time when the nomination process was coming to its end, noted Lucia Víglašová, spokesperson of the Pontis Foundation.

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“Many companies prioritised other things linked to the war, which is understandable,” said Víglašová, adding that given the situation, the organisers perceived the number of nominations very positively.

Companies Accenture, Ikea Bratislava and Passel Slovakia have been shortlisted for the award that will be handed out in Bratislava on June 29.

“This year’s finalists have seized specific areas and topics,” said Porubänová.

Ikea addresses domestic violence through a synergistic and sensitive approach, including research, campaigning, training and activities regarding domestic violence. Accenture focuses on authentic and sophisticated support of the mental health and mental resilience of employees. Passel contributes to the social inclusion of Roma from disadvantaged backgrounds and is a worthwhile example for other companies, according to Porubänová.

Happy employees come from happy homes

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