India Inc steps up to protect the mental health of employees

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on April 10, 2020

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The coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdown has taken a toll on the mental health of scores of people working from home. With fear and anxiety about the economic uncertainty on one side and family issues on the other, individuals working from home are undergoing mental stress and a range of behavioural issues.

Employers, however, are not taking the issue lying down. From virtual yoga and fitness sessions to stress management courses and personal connect programmes, companies cutting across industries are pulling out all the stops to keep their employees’ mind and body in good shape.

Meditation classes

Healthcare-device maker Siemens Healthineers India has rolled out a three-day meditation programme for employees during the World Health Day under which employees are guided through a process of heartfulness meditation — a mix of theory and guided virtual meditation by an expert. The first series will begin from April 14 and involves three one-hour sessions on consecutive days.

Another healthcare major, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH), said it will be launching ‘desktop yoga’ — a platform for live yoga sessions for all its employees in the coming weeks. The company has already implemented e-engagement activities like the ‘muso-magic challenge’ (virtual anthem by GSK employees) and few other creative contests. GSKCH has also launched a compulsory online programme on mental health and well-being to all its managers, which will soon extend the programme to all its employees.

As a result, the traditional brick-and-mortar yoga and wellness centres are witnessing a spike in corporate enquiries.

“We are receiving a lot of enquiries from corporates. They have started to realise that it is very important to keep their employee morale high during such tough times,” Sarvesh Shashi, Founder of yoga and wellness studio chains SARVA and Diva Yoga.

SARVA, which counts Club Mahindra, Dainik Bhaskar, Aditya Birla and Equitas Bank as some of its corporate clients, is conducting 212 live classes every day for multiple corporates as well as its regular members.

“The virus affects the respiratory system which in turn decreases the immunity. Many people sitting at home are having three major issues. Poor posture, sleep issues, stress and anxiety. So we have curated a 7-day or 14-day wellness program to address these three issues,” Shashi added.

Reaching out

Psychologists also warn that sudden feelings of isolation can lead to a host of behavioural and emotional issues including depression, agitation, anger and loneliness.

Companies have also upped their employee outreach programmes to personally connect with their employees. Every HR manager of ITC Hotels, for instance, is reaching out to a minimum of 10 employees everyday to enquire about their health and safety and that of their family members. The luxury hotel chain said it has so far reached out to more than 1,200 employees at their homes and extended necessary support.

On its part, KONE Elevator India has rolled out activities such as ‘terrific weekday quizzes’, daily routine-setting mailers, morning coffee virtual break, lunch, evening tea, ‘Friday yammer’ contest “kone superheroes” to keep its employee’s spirit and morale ‘elevated’.

Published on April 10, 2020

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