India Inc takes mental health to heart
Work-related stress can impact one’s mental health.
Which is why Saurabh Tiwari says he’s fortunate that his company understands this and is doing whatever it can to help mitigate that stress.
“My company provides opportunities according to my interest, and if anyone is feeling stressed or has additional workload, they can talk with their supervisor to resolve it,” says the 31-year-old who’s working from home for a Bengaluru-based IT firm.
Not everyone’s as lucky.
A Deloitte survey said employees considered workplace-related stress to be the biggest factor affecting their mental health.
Poor mental health costs Indian firms a combined $14 billion every year, the report added.
Globally, it was worse.
The World Health Organisation estimated that the international economy had to forego $1 trillion in lost productivity every year.
India Inc took note of this during the pandemic in a big way.
Ranging from online seminars for raising awareness to surveys and quizzes to gauge one’s mental health, to no-questions-asked wellness leaves, and free access to in-house counsellors and mental well-being apps, the message from the corporate houses was clear: We take the mental health of our employees seriously.
Now, even though the Covid situation is better, firms are not abandoning these steps.
Rather, some are going beyond the basics, putting their learnings of the past two-and-a-half years to use.
Tech giant Infosys is, for instance, banking on “leave nudges” and letting people make their own choices, including when and where to work.
“The pandemic showed us that the most important need for every individual is flexibility, and the company has ensured that this is now built into our approach at work,” says Richard Lobo, executive vice-president, and head-HR at Infosys.
“We found that by using data and analytics, we could identify teams/individuals in need of interventions.
“One of the top nudges we use is encouraging individuals and teams to plan their leaves in smaller units regularly,” Lobo adds.
Commercial real estate services firm JLL, meanwhile, says creating ally groups within the organisation and clubs for people having similar interests gives employees a chance to connect on a deeper level.
The firm is “providing staffers flexibility in managing their work and life, supporting career aspirations, sensitising managers against any kinds of biases, educating them to empower their teams and become true enablers, and providing employees with resources to recuperate,” says Meenakshi Cornelius, head-HR, India cluster at JLL.
“The stigma associated with mental health in our society continues to pose a challenge, but our focus on creating an inclusive workplace has borne fruit,” she adds.
Reliance Industries found confidential one-to-one counselling with an expert to be the best mode of intervention.
The conglomerate also created a guide to make people managers aware of signs and symptoms to look out for, and be equipped to manage any situation with compassion and empathy.
The guide had sections on understanding stressors at different stages of life, and on ways to converse with people facing troubles.
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