The health of our staff is an essential prerequisite for the sustainable development of our company's business and for safeguarding our high quality standard. In our Sustainability Strategy approved by the Executive Board in 2015, we explicitly set ourselves the goal of preserving and restoring the performance capability of our employees. This is something that we intend to accomplish by, among other things, continuing with and adding to our existing health and wellness programmes. Given that most of our staff work at a desk, good ergonomic working conditions as well as relief from eye and back strain are particularly important, although in more general terms we also address the ability to cope with stressful situations. To this end, we have put in place a range of measures as part of our in-house health management. The focus is on prevention, e.g. through workplace inspections, information sharing and awareness raising, advice and treatment relating to matters of general medicine as well as vaccinations and vaccination advice. In addition to the support provided by our company physician, we organise our health management activities in the form of wellness days, seminars and a range of sports opportunities.
We offer our staff at Home Office in Hannover a broad range of fitness opportunities, for example through company sports groups dedicated to various types of sport as well as through cooperation arrangements with fitness studios. Courses in back training are offered on a regular basis. When it comes to individual workstations, we ensure the best possible room layout and ergonomically designed furnishings, including electronically height-adjustable desks and chairs with a flexible range of adjustment options. We make appropriate facilities available for a mobile massage service that makes regular in-house visits to the Hannover location. Where required, we pay the costs of special computer glasses.
A heavy workload can cause stress and hence potentially lead to other medical issues. For several years now we have therefore offered seminars for staff and managers designed to help identify stress triggers and develop coping strategies. In a seminar offered under the name "Relaxation skills" we have taken the aims discussed above a step further and added the aspect of relaxation. Our focus thus remains on prevention and a holistic understanding of well-being, thereby ensuring that challenges do not give rise to undue stress.
In the year under review we updated the further training available in relation to health, working capacity and the support provided to our staff in the late phase of their professional life. For this purpose we launched a seminar that imparts know-how to our employees on the correlations between the workplace and wellness and promotes awareness of resilience factors. The participants learn about their own individual resources that support them in a healthy lifestyle and in the preservation of their long-term ability to perform.
As part of our Sustainability Strategy we decided to introduce a counselling service to assist with professional and personal crises. Since 1 August 2016 we have made an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) available to our staff and managers at the Hannover location in the form of an external telephone support line. This makes it possible to obtain immediate advice – free of charge and anonymously – on personal, professional and psychological matters as well as other health-related concerns and family support. We decided to cooperate with the EAP service provider CarpeDiem24, which stands ready to assist callers with well trained and experienced counsellors and can draw on many years of expertise.
The risk of physical impairment to our employees, i.e. of occupational injuries or fatalities, is minimal owing to our business operations as a financial services provider. Employees in Germany reported altogether 9 accidents while at work or commuting in 2016; the total number of employee days lost was 13,222. The rate of absenteeism due to illness was slightly higher in Hannover in 2016 than in the previous year at 3.9% (previous year: 3.8%). No work-related fatalities were recorded among the workforce at any Group company.