Research activities

The change in working life also affects work ability. At Varma we want to understand how work is changing and the challenges it places on work ability so that we can produce timely and reliable research-based information on work ability for our clients. On this page you will find information about current projects and the latest research findings.

Our key objectives

Our objectives are

  • to identify and describe the prevailing and emerging disability risk factors
  • to understand the general development of risk factors and how they relate to the change in work
  • to produce information on how the management of disability risks can be influenced

We carry out research and studies as part of our own activities and in collaboration with research institutes.

Our publication series ‘Information about work ability’

Information about work ability 1/2020: Work ability and the transformation of work – perspectives and tools to support work ability management

A lot of positive development has taken place in working life, but at the same time, studies have revealed concerning signals of challenges related to work ability. Absences due to illness have increased, mental health problems have increased and the number of disability pensions has also taken an upward turn. This report compiles research information on work ability and disability and also offers specialists new practical tools to support work ability.

Work ability and transformation of work research report (in Finnish)

Work ability and transformation of work fact sheet in Finnish

Work ability and transformation of work fact sheet in English

Information about work ability 1/2021: Data-driven work ability management – overview of the situation and development needs from the perspective of companies

Using a questionnaire, we determined the current state and development needs of our client companies’ data-driven work ability management. Based on the results, companies know how to produce data related to work ability, but they need to improve how they make use of the data in managing disability risks.

Data-driven work ability management research report (in Finnish)

Data-driven work ability management – summary of results (in Finnish)

Data-driven work ability management fact sheet in Finnish

Data-driven work ability management fact sheet in English

Our other publications

Customer survey – Impacts of the coronavirus on working life and work ability

The coronavirus pandemic has affected working life in many ways. We examined the effects of the pandemic on work and work ability in our client companies. Workplaces have good opportunities to influence employees’ working conditions in many ways and to support their work ability in the midst of changes.

Results of the survey on the impacts of the coronavirus on working life 1/2021 (in Finnish)

Our current research

Employment and rehabilitation of mental health rehabilitants through individual training at work

In collaboration with the career coaching company Spring House, Varma is piloting an Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model as a means of rehabilitating and finding employment for mental health rehabilitants. The effectiveness of the IPS model is backed by solid research findings. Based on the pilot, Varma is implementing a comparative study to determine the IPS model’s effects on the work engagement of mental health rehabilitants, as well as the work ability and functional capacity of the rehabilitants. In addition, the study will create a model of and evaluate which mechanisms make the model effective.

More information on the Individual Placement and Support model on the project’s website

Our co-operation projects

Flexible employees in changing work life (2019–2022)

Varma is involved in the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health’s study (In Finnish: Kimmoisat työntekijät muuttuvassa työelämässä) that looks into how management that empowers and values employees supports self-management and promotes the proactive development of work and employees’ competence, as well as their work engagement. As part of the study, a new tool to help workplaces and occupational health care identify burnout is validated. Several of Varma’s client organisations are taking part in the project.

More information in Finnish about the study 'Flexible employees in changing work life'

On a successful career path – intervention study on engaging young people at work

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health’s study (in Finnish: Onnistuneesti työuralle) spans the years 2020 to 2023 and looks into the effects of group coaching aimed at young employees and supervisor training on the work engagement, goal-orientation and work ability of young employees.

More information in Finnish about the intervention study on engaging young employees at work

New forms of work and looking after work ability – health behaviour in remote work

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health’s study (In Finnish: Työn uudet muodot ja työkyvystä huolehtiminen - terveyskäyttäytyminen etätyössä) covers the years 2020 to 2023 and aims to produce information on the connection between work that is independent of time and place and health behaviour, particularly in terms of alcohol consumption and its hidden work ability risks, and creates new practices for identifying various risks and maintaining work ability. Varma is a co-operation partner in the project.

More information in Finnish about the study 'New forms of work and looking after work ability – health behaviour in remote work'

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health's blog post in Finnish: Let’s make remote work promote good health

Our research team

Auli Airila

Research Manager

050 545 2101

Work ability management research

Marika Schaupp

Research Manager

050 582 4376

Work ability management research

Help with using our services

Take care of your work ability matters online

In our online service, you can, for instance

  • survey your organisation’s disability risks
  • examine data and analyses related to work ability
  • devise a work ability management plan of action

Take care of your matters online