Fostering healthy attitudes and habits at the workplace

What IT companies are doing to have a healthy workforce

July 18, 2019 05:30 pm | Updated 05:30 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

A run organised by Infosys

A run organised by Infosys

Health and wellness are significant factors that give shape to the policies of many firms in Technopark. And policies drawn to this effect these days have more to them than just regular health check-ups.

“Besides ongoing initiatives that focus on general health and well-being of employees, discussions are on in full swing on introducing desktop yoga and other such exercises that can be done at one’s work desk,” says Deepa Rahul Easwar, HR - Business Partner, with IBS Software.

Initiatives that are common include camps for blood check-ups, talks by doctors and experts, cancer awareness sessions, eye camps, thyroid detection tests, dental check-ups and the like. Companies are also promoting fitness by holding regular Zumba and yoga sessions. Many firms have state-of-the-art gyms and swimming pools. Weekly visits by doctors are a regular feature as well.

Mental well-being of the employees is also given importance. UST Global, for instance, has ‘Employee Assistant Program’ and counselling sessions to help address the personal challenges of their employees. “The problems they face can be related to work, relationship and even marital,” says Shilpa Menon, centre head of the company. The company also gives extra care to expectant mothers by arranging free transportation and reserved parking facility for them, in addition to a mother’s room for them to take rest in, she adds.

Dental clinic on UST Global campus

Dental clinic on UST Global campus

RM Education Solutions India Limited has a special programme for the holistic welfare of their employees. “We have an employee assistance programme with one-to-one coaching. Employees may from time-to-time experience stress that affect their personal and work lives as well as their overall quality of life. It’s time we professionally addressed these areas for a better work-life balance,” says Sumi Vinit Nair, HR Manager of the company.

At Infosys, the health care initiatives are centred around its HALE programme, that is health, safety, leisure and emotional well-being. Richard Lobo, executive vice-president, head HR, says: “Given the challenges of today’s environment, employee burnout is a lurking issue and if not given immediate attention, it can significantly affect the productivity of the workforce. HALE was introduced following issues at the workplace like busy schedules that had long periods of sedentary activity and irregular working hours.”

The company has a HALE portal, a one-stop solution for all health initiatives. Employees can also chat with counsellors online to discuss issues related to their lifestyle. “With the world becoming more aware about mental health and its impact, we have also started creating awareness through expert talks and featuring stories of people who have conquered this. We have also introduced Samaritans, a peer-to-peer counselling network where employees themselves provide counselling to their peers,” Richard says.

At SunTec Business Solutions, one of the main initiatives is ‘Mitr’. Health awareness talks are key to this programme. “Doctors and experts cover a wide range of topics related to work, health, work-life balance and the like. There have been sessions on how to protect one’s kidneys, body and mind wellness, technological advancements in cosmetology, understanding your child and celebrating motherhood,” says Prakash P Nair, head, human relations. The company also holds regular yoga sessions conducted by a trained instructor.

Fitness challenges

If these programmes are held on the official level, some companies have in-house events to promote good health; fitness challenges being one of them. Riyas Abdul Rahim, who works with an MNC, says, “Weight loss is the key aim of the challenge that is currently on in our company. I am already on it and have gone on a no-rice diet. I have started working out as well. Of the 250 members of our team, 100 of them have been nominated for the challenge. I hope at least 25 of them stick to it!” he says.

Nevertheless, many techies point out that companies need to look into certain other important aspects as well. “When we conduct blood donation drives on the campus, the rejection rate is very high compared to previous years. One reason is that the haemoglobin level will be lesser than the required value. Many of them might have skipped breakfast or may not have slept properly. Some get rejected because they are taking medicines, without consulting a doctor. So now when we conduct blood donation drives, we send circulars to this effect,” says a member of Tejus, the blood donation forum of Technopark.

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