THANOS magazine

Denmark | Europe | April 12, 2022

A look in the mirror

By Peter Thomasen and Carsten Mandalay, CEOs of Begravelsesservice, Denmark

Since March 2020, the pandemic has changed the way we work at Begravelses service and COVID-19, along with the following restrictions, have forced us to take a good look in the mirror. 

Attending to individual needs and offering a highly personal service are factors of utmost importance. Begravelses service serve to please our customers, and this permeates throughout the organization. Helping colleagues with everything from work related tasks to private affairs is the norm as our highly social culture is embedded in strong relationships. To accommodate this culture in times of social distance and assembly bans, we have had to rapidly implement improved IT and digital solutions. Both to ensure that we meet our customers as needed and to ensure seamless internal communication. This set a thought process in motion – how do we ensure the best possible conditions and environment for our personnel.

The Danish Working Environment Authority (WEA) has set up a pool that funds the process of small companies initiating projects to prevent both physical and psychological wear and work-related accidents. Begravelses service has been granted the funding and through corporation with a consulting house, we have initiated the process of being ISO45001-certified (occupational health and safety management) and will be so by the end of 2022. 

Begravelses service offer a 24-hour service, meaning that the work-life balance is always subject to improvement. Now, in the light of the pandemic, it is more relevant and important than ever. The job as a Funeral Director is a big part of private life and thus, to ensure our personnel means ensuring the surroundings both on and off duty. We found it essential to implement additions to the free public health care and pension offered in Denmark to strengthen focus on health and to encourage employees to start thinking about retirement prior to retiring. We feel confident that these initiatives all play a part in a safer working environment, which in turn will act as an enabling factor for more satisfied personnel and thus, result in even more satisfied customers.

Moreover, the aftermath of dealing with changes in workflows has fueled this thought process and intensified the need for looking at ways to improve our company. Examples are the increased amount of virtual customer contact, alternatives to traditional ceremonies in the form of outdoor or virtual settlements, and especially the shift in a highly collective work effort to a working environment forced to individual task-solving.

Hence, COVID-19 restrictions such as the assembly ban, and social distancing have changed our workflows. An example of changed workflows includes how our employees have worked in shifting teams as a precaution to diminish the likelihood of an internal virus outbreak, both risking our employees as well as our customers. As a result, employees have had to deal with heavy lifting by themselves which led to investing in equipment enabling them to work with all the safety measures needed.

The example merely serves as one amongst many improvements that have been essential to ensure our personnel. We expect a high demand for the best employees in the following years, hence funeral homes ought to put in an extra effort if they wish to attract the best Funeral Directors. And so, the pandemic, despite having devastating consequences, has brought food for thoughts and improvements at Begravelses service and we hope that our story serves as inspiration throughout the industry. 

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