India's capital Delhi is contending with significant concerns regarding mental well-being. Mental health, which took a drastic dip during the COVID-19 pandemic never fully recovered, only getting worse in the high-pressure atmosphere of corporate life. According to Mpower's Mental Health At Workplace 2023 survey, 82% of working individuals interviewed admitted to having taken a hiatus of up to two weeks at some point to recover from stress-related problems.
"Delhi's corporate workforce is encountering a unique array of difficulties. The high-pressure atmosphere of corporate life in the city, intensified by factors such as traffic and pollution, is exacting a toll on the psychological well-being of its inhabitants. Moreover, a deeply ingrained stigma still surrounds discussions of mental health," says Parveen Shaikh, a senior psychologist and Vice President of Operations at Mpower, an initiative of Aditya Birla Education Trust (ABET).
Citing the survey findings, the psychologist underscores the urgent necessity of tackling employee mental health issues in Delhi. She also shares five pragmatic approaches companies can take up to improve the mental well-being of their employees.
1. HR Policies and Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Prioritizing Mental Health
Delhi's employees yearn for a better work-life balance. Mpower's Mental Health At Workplace 2023 survey revealed, 88% of Delhi employees are unsatisfied with their work-life balance. To address this, companies need to implement HR policies that prioritize mental health. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) play a crucial role in providing mental health support. These programs can include counseling services, stress management workshops, and access to mental health professionals. By prioritizing mental health in HR policies and offering EAPs, companies can begin to tackle the issue of work-life balance, ultimately improving the overall mental well-being of their employees.
2. Training for Senior Management: Reducing Stress and Boosting Confidence
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The same survey revealed that 53% of Delhi employees were expected to work even during their leaves. Senior management often sets the tone for workplace culture. By providing training on mental health awareness and support to senior leaders, companies can create an environment where employees are not pressured to work during their time off. Moreover, informed senior management can help boost employee confidence, reducing the 51% who admit to having low confidence. An inclusive and supportive work culture can significantly reduce work-related stress.
3. Strict Leave Policies and Mental Health Leaves: Acknowledging Stress-Related Ailments
A staggering 82% of Delhi employees take sick leave due to stress-related ailments. To address this, companies should incorporate mental health leaves into their leave policies. These leaves allow employees to take time off when they are struggling with mental health issues without fear of repercussions. By acknowledging the need for mental health leaves, companies can create an environment where employees can prioritize their well-being and recover from stress-related ailments without added stress about work.
Improving work-life balance is a shared responsibility. Employee recreation programs can play a pivotal role in enhancing this balance. Companies can organize activities such as yoga sessions, mindfulness workshops, or team-building outings. These initiatives not only provide employees with opportunities to relax and rejuvenate but also contribute to reducing stress and improving their overall mental health.
5. On-board Counsellors or Psychiatrists: Accessible Mental Health Support
Having a dedicated counselor or psychiatrist within the organization can be a game-changer for employee mental health. With on-site mental health professionals, employees can seek help without the barriers of finding external support. This addresses the concerns of the 82% who take sick leave due to stress-related ailments and the 51% who face low confidence issues. On-board mental health professionals can provide immediate assistance and support, contributing to a mentally healthier workforce.
The alarming statistics surrounding employee mental health in Delhi are a wakeup call for companies and organizations. The five solutions outlined here HR policies and EAPs, training for senior management, strict leave policies, employee recreation programs, and on-board mental health professionals provide a roadmap to address these concerns effectively. It is crucial for businesses to prioritize the mental well-being of their employees, just as they do with physical health. By implementing these solutions, companies can create a supportive and mentally healthy work environment, ultimately improving work-life balance, reducing stress-related ailments, boosting confidence, and fostering personal growth. As Delhi's workforce becomes mentally healthier, it paves the way for a brighter and more productive future.