Companies Extend a Helping Hand to Staff Regarding Mental Health

Published On 25 Oct 2019 By Sakshi Aggarwal

WeWork India has introduced a campaign that includes the launch of Out-of-Office (OOO) email template that promotes the employees and others to make the best use of it if and when they require a mental health break. The email informs that the employee wishes to get a break from work in order to rejuvenate and the work shall be managed by XYZ in his/her absence. 

OOO e-mails are often received as a reply informing that the concerned recipient has been on leave for a specific period of time. Irrespective of the reason for the leave, OOO is usually unemotional. WeWork India has witnessed that employees take leaves for vacation or other errands, but seldom do that for personal issues including mental health because of the disgrace attached to it. 

The company has planned to lend a helping hand by initiating discussions related to mental health. The campaign-’It’s okay to not feel okay’- is introduced as a conversation starter on mental health with the motive of removing the disgrace that comes along with the issue.  

The Brand and Marketing Head Vineet Singh stated, “I am one of those who works on stretched hours. Now I understand the importance of taking a break and I will surely use one of these OOO templates when I do so.” 

With increasing knowledge sharing on the topic of mental health, companies are taking initiatives to have a stress-free work culture. 

Gozoop, which has brought the concept of mental leaves, gives it for 5 working days, sent one of the workaholic employees to get some good quality ‘me-time’. The company has a track of punch in and punch out time to ensure that employees are not overloading themselves with work.

Gozoop co-founder and director Rohan Bhansali said, “Everybody is fighting silent battles. When someone takes a day off, we need to look at it with compassion and not scepticism. As I read more about mental health wellness and understand the topic better, we began having these conversations internally. We started speaking about it in town halls. When a few employees came forward and discussed what they were going through, we realised there was an urgent need to implement programmes around mental health.” 

Although mental health is an issue not very talked-about because people feel uncomfortable to seek help on it, Mind.Fit, which is a mental health section of Cure.Fit (headquarter in Bangalore), witnessed a 5 times increase in people taking therapy in only 6 months in the current year from January to June. Mental fitness is turning heads at corporate India and with youngsters meeting the work-related demands, are more prone to such illnesses.  

The lead Psychiatrist at Mind.Fit, Dr. Shyam Bhat told that office tasks have become a main reason of stress. It comprises of different factors including job uncertainty, insecurity, organisational modifications, long working hours, difficulty in managing work-life balance, and personal duties. He states, “Providing therapy, counselling, or coaching services for work-related issues is now being recognised as an important resource for employees as the workplace plays an important role in the well-being and overall health of employees.”

The general insurer Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has lately introduced ‘ReachOut’. It is a programme that will help the employees manage their personal, professional, financial, and family tensions in a healthy way thereby reducing the related stress. This programme will help the employees to get in touch with professional counsellors via online, telephonic, or application anytime (24*7). The employees can even enjoy one on one sessions by seeking appointments in advance. Their privacy is taken care of in this case. 

The CHRO of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, Vikramjeet Singh shared, “Earlier, employers used to focus on wellness of employees by conducting various health camps. Today, we are seeing a gradual shift from wellness to well-being where an employees’ health is looked at comprehensively, not just their physical health but also their emotional, financial, social and spiritual well-being.”

Ingersoll Rand India is another such organisation where if the employees are unable to maintain work life balance, or are suffering from issues related to anxiety/depression, then they communicate to ‘My Guidance Resources’. ‘My Guidance Resources’ is an EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) that provides legal, financial consultation; counselling, and crisis- intervention services to the employees of the organisation and their family members residing in the same house. The programme does not ask for any fee. 

Likewise, Myntra has ‘Thrive’ to take care of employees’ mental, physical, social, and financial matters. Through this initiative, Myntra provides face to face counselling sessions conducted by experts on several issues without charging any money.  

Notably, the trend of encouraging activities like townhalls etc. which ensure that the issues like anxiety stress and depression are addressed immediately, is not only visible in the private sector. Even the public sector employees seem to have been surrounded by the stigma as well. The stress that the workers go through, affects their families the most, which rings a bell to conduct more and more sessions like these in order to help them maintain good health.  

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