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Employers outsource the care of their employees’ mental health in light of the lingering pandemic 

Published: 26th December 2021 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th December 2021 01:04 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Surekha Khatri had worked as the secretary of a construction magnate for five years when the first lockdown happened. Her company functioned in the old-school way, and a shutdown meant that salary cheques were inordinately delayed. When her husband lost his job, she began to panic that she too would be let go. Khatri took to harassing her boss for pay. As soon as the lockdown eased, her employer paid her in full but also booked a counselling session for her at the company’s expense.

Even after around two years, many employees are to recover from the psychological impact of the virus and the lockdown. With Omicron cases rising, there is fear of a repeat of job insecurity. Enter new HR tech solution companies that offer holistic recovery of employees, of course for a price.

“These are times when you have to be there for your employees. Physical and mental well-being, financial stability, and job security are their top concerns right now and we ensure that they don’t feel overwhelmed during these unprecedented times,” explains Ajay Kadyan, Co-founder, Zimyo, a cloud-based HRtech platform that serves many businesses, including the monitoring of employees’ mental health.

They offer modules that enable organisations to have upfront conversations, hold brainstorming sessions, manage projects, and keep a finger on the pulse of their staff’s needs. Zimyo caters to remote workforces as well as those who attend the office. In a similar vein, Antarmanh Consulting aligns its wellness solutions with organisational transformation. Seema Rekha, its Managing Director and Founder, says, “Suddenly, the way we perceived mental health changed the world over. With more discussions centring around wellness, there were many new possibilities to push our services to a wider audience.” 

Antarmanh’s services include providing Covid-19 awareness sessions by health professionals; catering to the emotional wellbeing of staff; offering tools and protocols to conduct regular wellbeing checks; extending family counselling, organising alternative healing therapies and psychological support when employees or their families are in the ICU; and establishing a 24X7 mental health helpline in collaboration with the Haryana Government for the underserved population. Then there is Vantage Fit, the wellness vertical of Vantage Circle, an employee engagement platform, which has also made its mark. Anjan Pathak, CTO and Co-Founder of the company, says that they offer employees a wide range of reasonably priced programmes to maintain their physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.

Despite such services, many office workers are reluctant to ask for help. In some cases, employers implement a one-size-fits-all plan which may not suit everyone. Some companies, however, attempt to assess the needs of their workforce. Raghu RaajShekhar, Co-founder and CEO, Monkhub Innovations, a technology service provider, shares that their organisation encourages constructive criticism and transparent communication.

“We have separate internal employee groups addressing different wellness needs. We’re also in the process of upgrading our Employee Assistance Program, which will achieve swift resolutions,” he elaborates. Similarly, Graphitto Labs encouraged employees to make videos about their lockdown experiences, which were used as a part of the company’s mental health awareness campaigns. Founder Kapil Jain states these were well-received.

Regardless of these positive measures, it remains to be seen if compulsory mental wellness exercises organised by employers will show the desired results in the long run. Only the virus knows.



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