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Women Are Better At Maintaining Mental Health As Compared To Men: Study

Almost 1 in every 3 people personal life is affected due to work stress, results showed from cities like Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Prominently (89%) people expect employers to implement health and wellness programs and only (75%) are satisfied with what is being currently offered

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Mental wellness at the workplace has been an issue of concern for over a while but with the pandemic, the mental health challenges employees have been facing has spiked. The recent major disruption has made employee mental wellbeing a top priority for employers and HR leaders as the sense of uncertainty persist.

The pandemic has completely transformed the way the masses perceived wellness and the relation of mental health with wellbeing, with 86 per cent of people equally engaging in activities to improve both physical as well as mental health. The survey, undertaken by ICICI Lombard, one of India’s private general insurance companies, aims to understand the proactive interest towards health and wellness in today’s post-pandemic era. The survey further revealed that the prime motivator for every 2 in 3 respondents was being aware of the benefits of healthy lifestyles, to take a step in the right direction.

Commenting on the findings of the health and wellness survey, Sanjay Datta, Chief - Underwriting, Reinsurance & Claims, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited, said, “With the transformed perception of the masses, our consumer base today looks at a health insurer not only for financial immunity during times of ill-health but we are now looked up as a partner in their holistic wellness journey. Additionally, through this survey, we observed a mindset change taking place with 47 per cent of people and 42 per cent of the younger age group (25-35 years) wanting to adopt a healthy lifestyle to not just get a better appearance but also feel better about themselves.”

Relating Mental Health To Overall Wellness

The study revealed that Covid has taken a toll on the mental health of those who are partially working from home, the data showed a noticeable decrease in the health status proportion from 54 per cent during pre-Covid to 34 per cent during the post-Covid era.

Interestingly, the study found that women were able to better maintain health as compared to men. While mental health seemed to be a challenge for both during the pandemic, 38 per cent of women respondents were satisfied with their mental health status, as compared to only 35 per cent of men. Similarly, for physical fitness, women again maintain physical health better than men with 49 per cent of women being satisfied as compared to 42 per cent of men.

“Employee fitness and mental health have long been a significant component of our company culture. Not just the HR, team leaders have been working relentlessly to establish a healthy atmosphere for employees. Top-level leaders are in constant contact with their team members to extend support even at a personal level, as we believe employee wellness is a collective responsibility,” shares Sushant Patnaik, Head-HR, Aeris Communications.

While enabling the workforce to be optimally productive took all the initial attention, what people began to realise was the focus that was needed in the area of their emotional well-being. It may seem a bit far-fetched, but work from home has turned Frankenstein for many employee groups. Thus, at present, one hears many employees dealing with issues, anxiety, and juggling personal and professional workloads, and the problem needs to be solved in the here and now because there is very little precedence to fall back upon.

Challenges On The Road To Holistic Wellness

The leadership is required to bring a tectonic shift in the mindset ad adding on the same lines, Anjali Byce, CHRO, STL said, “To mitigate the potential negative impacts of a Hybrid model on employees - organisations need to focus on Agile Leadership - an adaptive style to accommodate different needs of employees.”

Highlighting the increased individual health priorities, the survey further revealed that lack of personal time (45%) and finances (44%) are the top deterrents to adopting healthy habits. Commitments at home is another challenge faced more by women as compared to men with 44 per cent of women being impacted by the same.

Additionally, financial constraints seem to be a major challenge in cities like; Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Pune, hence adversely affecting the health of most people in these cities. Whereas managing time is more of a problem in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Pune.

Highlighting the importance of the point that taking care of employees’ mental wellbeing is a collective task, Arun Dinakar Rao, CPO, Birlasoft said, “As a Leader, and I don’t restrict it to the domain of HR, it is important to be constantly in touch with our teams, build additional degrees of connectedness beyond work-tasks, be emotionally aware of the needs of people on our teams”

Employees As Key Partners On The Journey

Almost 1 in every 3 people personal life is affected due to work stress, results showed from cities like Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Prominently (89%) people expect employers to implement health and wellness programs and only (75%) are satisfied with what is being currently offered by their employers. Highlighting the fact that a sustainable place of work is essential for productive results, various aspects already provided by the employers have now become hygiene such as health insurance, gym and flexible working place. 

Additionally, employees also require certain facilities as part of the new normal such as regular health check-ups, work-life balance, and healthy food at the cafeteria and workplace ergonomics as a need of the hour.

“Hybrid is here to stay – we need to make it ‘High Tech and High Touch’ for the wellness of employees. It is also an opportunity for organisations to win the war for talent – work from anywhere, enhance productivity and provide flexibility," emphasises STL’s CHRO. 

‘Employee Experience’ will form the fulcrum for the success of the Hybrid work model. While the fully online model presented a level playing field to all participants, a hybrid one presents the challenge for natural in-person and natural online collaborators to build coping mechanisms that may inadvertently lead to stress. Building processes and enablers across an employee's lifecycle that create ‘positive moments of truth’ and a ‘state of flow’ is imperative today more than ever!

To understand the overall shift in consumer behaviour towards health and wellness, ICICI Lombard General Insurance has undertaken a PAN India survey with over 1532 respondents, across different metro cities with different working statuses such as partial WFH and complete WFH