The Increasing Importance of Employee Wellbeing and What India can Learn

Why Employee Wellbeing and Wellness Went Mainstream and Became Popular

Walk into any of the glitzy offices of corporates and chances are that you would find employees working out in the Gyms and toning their muscles and generally, push them towards fitness.

Sometimes, it is hard to differentiate whether these employees are working out in a professional gym or in a corporate built one as there is little by way of contrast between them.

Indeed, some services organisations are taking Employee Wellbeing so seriously that they are hiring Doctors and Fitness experts as well as Wellness Consultants to advise their employees and to ensure that the latter stay fit and in good health. Employee Wellbeing is the Flavour of the Month, to use a cliche.

Right from Corporate Wellness Programs to discussions and support for mental health issues of employees, employers are going all out to ensure that their employees are well and fit to work.

Given this focus and heightened attention, it is not surprising that there is now a mini industry for Employee Wellbeing as can be seen from the many service providers worldwide.

Moreover, as we will be discussing in the next section, it is not only physical health but also mental health that has become important for employers and this heralds a new approach that focuses on Holistic Wellbeing.

Technology Driven World, Mental Health, and Celebrities Speaking out

While there are many reasons why corporates are suddenly focusing on Employee Wellbeing, the prominent among them is the fact that sick employees and unfit workers lead to loss of productivity and hence, it is in the interest of employers to ensure that their employees do not take off every now and then for health related reasons.

Moreover, corporates are also realising that with all the demands of our technology driven world, their employees need all the help in de-stressing and unwinding with the help of innovative and creative outlets.

In addition, what is notable is that even mental health issues are being discussed and debated within corporates that represent a Quantum Jump in the way mental health has gone from being stigmatised to being addressed at the workplace.

As more and more celebrities come out into the open talking about their Mental Health issues, others are encouraged to open up about their struggles with Depression and Bipolar Disorder and other ailments.

With the active support and encouragement of managers and other senior level staff, employees can at last discuss their state of mind and body in a relaxed manner.

What is Different Now are Holistic Approaches towards Employee Wellbeing

Having said that, corporates have always taken the health of their employees seriously. Right from pre employment health checkups to periodic evaluations of senior managers and executives, corporates have been proactive with regards to employee wellbeing.

However, what is different in the recent times is that corporates have begun to take a Holistic approach towards Employee Wellbeing that includes both the physical and mental dimensions.

In addition, they are also focusing on Wellbeing in totality which means that they are trying out a variety of means and methods to ensure that employees stay fit and focused at work. In this context, it is worth mentioning that European countries are now officially encouraging corporates to set aside budgets for promoting wellbeing at the workplace.

This includes hiring psychologists and mental health counsellors to come and talk to their employees and ensure that any potential triggers for physical and mental health ailments are brought to the notice of the senior managers.

This therefore is the biggest change in terms of wellbeing at the workplace that is now gone mainstream and remains a focus area for organisations worldwide.

What India can Learn from Other Countries to Enhance its Efforts

On the other hand, it is somewhat disappointing that Indian corporates are yet to match what their American and European counterparts are doing in the area of wellness and wellbeing at work.

Culturally conditioned attitudes of brushing delicate health matters under the carpet as well as a strong stigma against discussing mental health issues in addition to feudal mindsets that discourage lower ranked employees from talking about their health at work, all contribute to the lack of serious approaches to Employee Wellbeing.

Of course, we are not generalising here as many Services Sector firms in Information Technology and Financial Services sectors are actively pursuing wellness programs.

Moreover, the Back Office and Business Process Outsourcing firms have always taken employee wellbeing seriously since the nature of their work is such that it demands working in the night that can impair the Biological Clocks and damage Metabolism.

However, with these exceptions, the larger business community is still far behind in addressing wellbeing issues.

Indeed, there is almost a huge gap between what the top tier businesses are doing in the context of wellbeing and what the majority of firms at the middle and bottom are doing to address this.


Last, it is only when the workers at the bottom of the Income Pyramid receive access to quality health services that Employee Wellbeing and Wellness would then truly achieve its objectives.

In this regard, governments worldwide have to recognise and act on this if their nations are to avoid losses and productivity falls that can dent their economic growth.

In short, it is in the interests of employers and governments as well to keep their workers fit and well to reap the full benefits of their work.

To conclude, it is high time all stakeholders took employee wellbeing very seriously.

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