Article (August-2020)

Articles

Time to take on…

Anil Kaushik

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01-Aug-2020

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This is expected to be a thunderstorm. As the business is restarting to gear up after lockdown, workplace challenges in terms of its people aspect are serious in many ways. One of such challenges would be taking care of employee mental wellness at top priority as in all probability the environment of fear and uncertainty created by pandemic seems to be a fertile breeding ground for an increase in chronic stress, anxiety and depression among workforce and signs have started appearing. Many researches and surveys have indicated that it will be a difficult task for HR and leaders in organizations to bring normal workplace attitude and thought process back among employees with new changed behavioural norms.

The job losses, salary cuts, uncertainty about organizational business growth, own future of employees, social stigma attached to covid in society, exposure of people at workplace in groups, up down from home to workplace daily and unable to adhere to precautions are cited as main cause of increasing anxiety and depression and disruption in employee mental health. Mental wellness is also related to an interaction between the nature of work, the organizational and managerial environment, the skills and competencies of employees, and the support available for employees to carry out their work.

Pandemic has brought the importance of employee well-being, which encompasses physical, mental, and emotional health, to the forefront. The issue which was never brought and considered important by management and sidelined by citing personal issue of the person has now been viewed as organization matter. In these circumstances the real challenge for HR would be creating a balance between how to support your workforce while still managing the business. And for that HR has to adopt a comprehensive approach to handle mental wellness making it an ongoing process and not as one time task.

The HR can drive this initiative in two ways: One, keeping in mind the employee perspective, which includes processes and policies that help employees plan their day-to-day activities, particularly when working remotely and have to deal with increased stress and added concerns of changing compensation package like perks, working hours leaves etc; and, two, the operations side, which includes  measures to take care employee sentiment and help improve employee support to ensure better and deeper employee engagement.

This edition of the magazine is on this aspect of understanding the gravity and addressing the challenge of employee mental wellness where HR experts and veteran practitioners share their thoughts on different dimensions highlighting the importance and the way out.

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