No need to worry if you missed out on the session. You can watch the entire event on our Youtube Channel (video embedded above).
Here is a summary of the hour long event to help you get a basic understanding of the entire discussion.
The session was started off with a round of introduction of the esteemed panel.
Gauri Das, Vice President and Head HR of India Factoring and Finance Solutions Private Ltd, is a celebrated HR Leader recognised for her contributions by Linkedin as one of the most powerful profiles of 2020. Her mantra when it comes to wellness at the workplace is - “Passion with compassion”.
Puneet Manuja, Co-Founder of YourDOST, is a techie turned entrepreneur who has been recognised by Forbes 30 under 30 for his work. He is actively working towards changing how the world looks at emotional wellbeing in both the corporate, and education world through his initiative- YourDOST.
Following this, the panel was put on the spot by the Host, Meena (HR Lead at Airmeet) in a rapid-fire round.
After the initial set of break-the-ice questions, the panel was asked to choose between two options to help understand their views when it comes to establishing a relation between work and life. The discussion that took place was as follows:
Work-life balance or work-life integration?
Both Puneet and Gauri opted for work-life integration, with Puneet pointing out that he believes that both systems work differently for different people and that striking a work-life balance is difficult.
Following this, the panel moved on to discuss the question:
“What does wellness mean?”
Puneet - Wellness is a very broad term involving 8-10 dimensions including physical,social and emotional and each of these play an important role in their own way.
Focusing on the psychological dimension- wellness is a state that you achieve that allows you to perform at an optimal level and contribute o society through your work.
The four major dimensions of wellness that are to be considered in terms of a job are- social, physical, emotional and occupational.
Gauri - Wellness is all about happiness. Other than physical, social, occupational and emotional wellness, four more aspects to focus on are-
Environmental wellness- Understanding which factors in the work-environment can have an impact on wellbeing and working towards managing these factors.
Financial wellness - To be able to cope with financial situations in order to decrease stress.
Intellectual wellness- Focusing on the kind of role one is doing and if they’re satisfied intellectually with their input.
Spiritual wellness- Making sure that one is able to adhere to their spiritual values while working plays an important role.
A balance of all 8 dimensions needs to be achieved in order to attain workplace wellness.
The conversation moves on to discussing:
Factors that limit or act as blockers to wellbeing.
Gauri - In Indian Society, the number one cause would be taboo. No one wants to talk about wellbeing due to the stigma revolving around the topic. Second would be the level of awareness among employees. The common solution to such issues is to take rest which does not always help resolve the main issue. Third factor would be that people working at a high-level are also not well-aware about how one should deal with such situations. Another factor could be finance- seeking help from a psychologist can be very expensive and can act as a limitation for people looking to seek help.Finally, the mental block that exists among people that no one can help them with their problems can also act as a major limitation.
Meena added that many people also resolve to antidepressant medications rather than seeking help from a psychologist for their problems.
Puneet - In an organisational context, three major areas of emotional wellness exist. One would be at the individual level focusing on your own emotional wellness where stigma and finance act as blocks. The second area would be at the team level, depending on how understanding the managers and employees of a team are in terms of level of awareness in such matters along with being equipped to deal with such a situation. The third area would be at an organisational level- certain policies need to be set to ensure that employee’s emotional wellness is seen as a priority. The organisation should ensure that employees feel comfortable to freely share their emotional issues at work.
Following this, another important question is discussed -
What are the best practices that can be recommended to help promote workplace wellness?
Puneet - For organisations that do not have any practices in place, it is important to prioritise workplace wellbeing by setting up policies and systems to help understand employees problems.
For organisations that do have certain practices that might not be working, it is important to be well educated on how counselling works as well as to understand the need for the same, so as to ensure that each employee is given the needed help and support as and when required.
Additionally ensuring consistent communication on such topics along with modelling a work environment where employees feel more comfortable with sharing their issues with their team.
Gauri - To establish wellness as a culture in the organisation itself and to make wellness an integral part of the workplace. It is important to be well educated about the need and relevance of proper wellness amongst employees along with understanding the different ways in which this can be implemented. Also, to ensure that each company provides an environment that allows vulnerability and makes it easy for employees to share their problems.
The panelists then shared a few practices that they have come across that have worked brilliantly towards implementing workplace wellness.
Meena added that Airmeet implements the practice of uncapped leaves, allowing employees to take as many leaves as they require by stating a proper reason behind doing so. She also shared that initially employees were hesitant to state the reasons but after observing a few top-level managers talk freely about their reasons for taking a leave, the employees became more comfortable.
Adding to this, Puneet stated that it needs to be ensured that these practices align with the goals of the management to make sure that during its implementation, work does not get hampered.
After this, the session was wrapped up with a few questions from the audience-
What about the managers' doubt on loss of productivity due to uncapped leaves?
Gauri- The managers should not see this as a loss of productivity but as a positive change that enables employees to take a leave when required. Another thing that can be done is observing the trend of leaves, if employees belonging to a specific team are taking more leaves then there must be an issue in the workings of the team that is causing employees to take such frequent offs. Therefore, to understand the pattern of the employees and the cause behind such leaves.
Puneet- It needs to be ensured that these policies are not exploited. This can be done by properly communicating the various aspects of the policy from the initial stages. Along with this proper planning should be done for all activities keeping in mind the existence of these policies so as to ensure that the targets set by management is achievable after taking wellness practices into consideration.
“What could be some things one could do to ensure buy-ins from upper management and CEOs?
Gauri - This can be done by ensuring that HRs have a certain level of business acumen and think in terms of the business before proposing any sort of change in working. Another thing could be taking other people’s opinions while suggesting change in workings so as to understand the point of view of others to the change as well.
Puneet agreed to the pointers stated by Gauri, stating that it should be ensured that the policies make sense from the business point of view and have been discussed with management members to understand if the policy is feasible.
With this, the session was drawn to an end.
We hope you found this summary to be helpful. We look forward to seeing you in the next session.