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Wellness Programs Must Address Employee Burnout And Stress

Although remote working may have offered a break from hectic daily commute but break from technology and screens is equally important for a healthier lifestyle. HR Leaders discuss how can the issue of employee burnout be addressed and list out organisational solutions to build a healthier workforce mentally and physically

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The world is facing dramatic socioeconomic setbacks due to which employees feel more pressured. While employee burnout has always been prevalent in workplaces but the pandemic, lockdown, remote work setting has even aggravated it further. Taking it to even scarier levels, a World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization report revealed that surprisingly, between 2000 and 2016, people have lost their lives due to working long hours and that number has risen; death by heart disease increased by 42 per cent and from stroke by 19 per cent. 

In the world of work, people leaders and team managers have to realise and acknowledge that employees have a life outside of work and that has been disproportionately affected right now for a lot of people. “Employees want to feel safe and secure. Instead of expecting everyone to be super productive, help them focus on what matters. Start with the small things. Make them normal. Work-life balance is about normalizing everyday things that happen in our lives,” mentioned Vijay Yalamanchili, Founder & CEO, Keka Technologies.

Since employees are working from various locations across the globe, this has increased the burden at the very basic level that is to stay connected whereas it was an un-noticed advantage at workplaces during pre-covid times. Although remote working may have offered a break from hectic daily commute but break from technology and screens is equally important for a healthier lifestyle. 

Wellness Initiatives: Employee Burnout Must Be Addressed

The tragic coronavirus pandemic alarmed all the companies to accelerate their actions towards ensuring the best for their employees’ health and wellbeing. Nonetheless, Organisations across the industries introduced and practised wellness initiatives like extend financial aid to the covid impacted families, sponsor covid vaccines, regular health checkups for frontline workers, provide safeguard equipment, encouraging inclusion by reaching out to family members and more. 

Whereas, employees look forward to the time when companies pay attention to address burnout, long days without defined working hours, digital fatigue and much more beyond physical illness.

“The Pandemic has influenced the concept of WFH which has its own boundaries and nuances. In addition to making the remote work environment vibrant, the company always aims at supporting the physical and mental well-being of its employees to generate utmost productivity while keeping the stress levels low,” points out Anand Srinivasan, Managing Director, Covestro India

Around 69 per cent of employees are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home, according to survey results by Monster. Despite work burnout, the majority (59%) are taking less time off than they normally would, and 42 per cent of those still working from home are not planning to take any time off to decompress.

Top leadership shall intervene to improvise the situation, Melvin Gladstone, Chief HR Officer, Edelweiss General Insurance opens up and mentions, “Leadership should be encouraged to openly support mental concerns, stress at workplace and help inclusion in company culture narrative.” Suggesting relevant and highly effective ways to address increasing burnout, he adds, “Companies can consider shifts/ initiatives like Tele-counselling services, talks by medical experts, wellness sessions, healthcare leaves, happy hours break-out sessions, no meeting days, frequent breaks among others.”

There is a need to sharpen the focus in order to attain higher productivity,  Sumesh Nair, Co-founder & CEO of Board Infinity emphasizes, “I think productivity comes from focus, hence defining focus areas for a team member is very important. More things you focus on, lesser productivity.” Explaining further about the culture at Board Infinity he mentioned, “We try to verticalize a team member rather than horizontalize them and spread them too thinly across various things.”

What do People leaders can do? 

1.     Provide constructive feedback instead of vague feedback. Simply telling someone 'They are wrong' leaves them confused and feeling sorry for themselves. Instead, show them ‘What was wrong and how it can be improved.’ It'll help improve and solve the problem in time, Founder & CEO, Keka Technologies points out

2.     Keep the recognition and reward platform active. At the same time, it is also necessary to organize regular catch-up meetings that the bonding remains as strong as in a physical office, suggests Covestro India’s Srinivasan

3.     On a personal front, Leaders can invest more at the personal level to ensure relationships are nurtured across remote employees. Being mindful and creative in their efforts to understand what every individual is working on, recognize their efforts, facilitate interconnection between work efforts, Edelweiss General Insurance’s CHRO emphasised

4.     Currently, there are four generations in our workforce and each generation has its own set of priorities. The focus shall be on increasing the awareness amongst managers and teams to acknowledge efficient work rather than counting the number of hours, Rajiv R, CHRO, Ramco Systems adds

As the economy and work landscape continue to be uncertain, the battle for reaching the equilibrium of work-life balance will require organisations to pay close attention to tackle employee burnout, offer expanded benefits and ricer employee experience. In order to get the best out of the New-gen workforce, HR leaders need to think over the barriers, promote flexibility so that employee burnout cannot sabotage their workforce entirely. 



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