Activities that foster safe working environments and advocate mental wellbeing

Activities that foster safe working environments and advocate mental wellbeing

Workplaces should strongly advocate the importance of breaking the stigma attached to mental health and strive to promote mental wellness. Considering, how the definition of wellness has changed over the past few years, wellness programs in offices should be designed so as to evolve and stay true to the current lifestyle requirements of the workforce across age groups, gender, life stages and generations.

Believe and employ a holistic approach to wellness and tap into aspects of physical health, preventive health care and of course mental health. Experts suggest that organizations should roll out a ‘Mental Wellness Guideline’ for the employees to help maintain and enhance their mental well-being.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Srikanth Karra, CHRO at Mphasis, recommended, “Have special initiatives focused solely on mental health as a part of wellness programs that includes free counseling sessions, a wellness app promoting the formation of healthy habits and a ‘No Panic’ handbook about managing stress and anxiety. On the HR front, extend medical insurance policy to cover all employees and dependents for Covid treatment, as well as add new policies concerning leave and medical emergencies. A wellness calendar should be designed bearing in mind the diverse requirements and needs of employees and be packed with programs on relevant topics and activities.”

He advised, “Incentivize some activities and challenges by rewarding vouchers, gifts etc. Offer special discounts on gym memberships, fitness centers as well as online fitness programs. Deeply care for employees and their loved ones and be time and again consistently invested in preventive healthcare .The company should encourage all employees to undertake regular blood and health checks by partnering with reputed labs across locations.The partnerships with these labs should enable unique offers and exclusive discounts on Preventive Healthcare packages.Provide access to Mental Health surveys, Health Risk Assessments ( HRA’s), health Journals etc. which helps them to have access to health news and trends. This enables them to take informed decisions with regard to their well-being and to stay on top of their health requirements. Moreover, have access to Yoga and mindfulness videos by experts and guided meditation audio clips on wellness app that helps employees relax, rejuvenate and st ay energized all day long. These videos should be a click away and employees can access them as and when they need them.”

According to Ruchi Ahluwalia, Group Chief People Officer at Quess Corp, better health and wellbeing policies lead to higher levels of engagement; which in turn, results in better retention, increased productivity, happy customers and eventually happy families. She said, “A toxic workplace can cause a myriad of problems that affect people both mentally and physically. Therefore, follow a holistic approach to employee health and wellness. Set the benchmark for employee precedence in the workplace. A safe working environment is created for the benefit of all employees. Even as we move into the post pandemic stage, a flexible work schedule should continue for employees to prioritize their work-life balance. Most importantly, we have tie ups in place that extend emotional wellness awareness, counseling and emotional support to all employees 24/7. Introduce wellness leaves which enable employees to take breaks and foster a stress free life. Focus on stimulating mental well-being and a healthy emotional state for all employees.”

Asserting that for any organization that strives towards creating a safe working environment, it is essential to follow a bottom-up approach that allows the employees’ voices to resonate with the managers and the leaders, Akshay Raje, Head of People and Culture at Scaler, explained, “These voices need to be the drivers of policy changes in an organisation. With such an approach where the decisions are made on the basis of the feedback and opinions shared by the employees, any enterprise can truly nurture a safe and healthy work environment. Psychological safety at work enables employees to thrive. The well-being of an employee is closely linked with health and productivity. Some statistics prove employees in good physical, mental, and emotional health are more likely to deliver in the workplace than employees who don’t.”

He suggested, “Follow an open-door policy where the decisions are discussed with employees. Online open house sessions should be facilitated by founders every 15 days to keep people updated of latest developments on business front. This forum should allow an opportunity for people to share their challenges and grievances, that helps us develop initiatives that cater to their needs. Initiatives like 14 days period leave policy per year, flexible work timings, hybrid work, extended Diwali and year-ender leaves to workforce are some examples. Conduct programs for sensitizing the team on creating and facilitating a healthy and harassment-free workplace – specifically from a POSH policy perspective. Organizes multiple such workshops on floor as well as for the remote teams. Additionally, recognize the need to offer stigma-free therapeutic solutions to employees with an online counseling and emotional support platform that focuses on mental well-being. Offer meditation and yoga sessions for our employees.”

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