We have seen that many corporates and organizations in India have instituted programs and policies to make the workplace more employee-friendly. These have made lives for many professionals convenient, especially women, with much longer maternity/paternity leave, work from home options, flexible timings of works etc.
However, with the increasing work pressure, stress level, and staggering mental health concerns there is a need in corporate India today to address and empower its employees with work-life balance management and one way of doing this is by providing counseling to employees in a structured way.
It is becoming increasingly clear to corporate India that the workplace mirrors the community and that community problems will indeed be workplace problems. The impact of drug and alcohol use in the workplace is being also increasingly recognized and there is a need to address it fast before it becomes a serious problem.
Counseling can be integrated into an organization’s Talent strategy and be aligned to its overall business strategy without affecting the system at all and three ways of achieving it would be through:
1. Having a leadership-driven support systems
2. Embedding counseling as an essential key skillset for all managers and particularly for new managers
3. Integrating employee support networks and groups
To make it work more seamlessly in the organization, it is important to integrate counseling as a tool in various initiatives and build leadership support around it to help reduce burnouts, absenteeism, and costs related to turnover.
Eventually, counseling needs to be seen and incorporated as modern-day business essential to help employees manage their stress and problems brought about by personal and organizational changes.
The corporate sector is a symptom of a larger problem. The World Health Organization estimates one in five Indian employees suffer from workplace depression. The overall numbers are also staggering, with an estimated 56 million suffering from depression and 38 million from anxiety disorders.
(The author is a UK based Life-coaching Facilitator, a Development Management Professional, and a Social Worker with an extensive experience of 31 years)