Ramp Up Training and Wellness Interventions To Help Work-From-Home Employees Strike Work Life Balance: HR Experts

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@ Vikas Sharma | Sr Journalist

Gurugram: In response to the changes in external business environments in the wake of the Covid pandemic, companies are fast evolving new Standard Operating Procedures for almost all business functions and are facilitating work-from-home scenarios. However, they need to ramp up training and invest in wellness programs to help their employees take these changes into their stride, and thus lead a productive and balanced life, emphasized top HR executives.

The HR experts: Mr. Ashish Jain, Vice President, Right Management, Ms. SapnaHarpalani, Director – HR, Markem-Imaje, Mr Gaurav Mehta, Associate Vice President (APAC & MEA), Cvent, and Mr Ahmed Mehndi, General Manager, Learning & Development, Lemon Tree Hotels, were addressing the Panel on Human Resource & Organizational Behavior at Sapience 2020-21, the Annual Management Conclave of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, organized virtually on January 31, 2021.

In his address Mr. Gaurav Mehta, said that “the hybrid work model of 3-2-2 which represents three days of work from home, two days of work from office, and two more days of weekend, is here to stay especially in the services sector. And companies are now more open to hire talent from small cities and towns for backend jobs and let them work from their home location. These work-from-home employees face several challenges including the blurring of the line between work and life, where they are required to take calls during weekends and holidays, at odd hours.”

In the backdrop of people spending two thirds of their time at home – instead of one third, and in the case of working parents living in a nuclear family setup with conflicting work demands, the incidences of domestic violence are increasing. Since employees miss the third place – such as coffee joints, and parks that provided them the opportunity to connect with people, and relax, their stress levels also shoot up. Hence, companies need to invest in training and employee wellness in a big way to help these employees enhance productivity and strike a right work life balance.

In his address, Mr. Ashish Jain, said that “the worst affected sectors in the pandemic are consulting services where ‘high contact’ with customers is important. The biggest challenges the HR functions of the consulting firms faced were in the areas of making sure that the employees have all the hardware and software for them to work remotely; getting the employees to their home locations; and remaining in constant touch with the employees who are alone, away from their families to ensure their emotional well being, and safety.”

Talking about the changing work life of employees in the manufacturing sector, Ms. SapnaHarpalani, said that “companies keep introducing new processes that emphasize risk assessment, and new Standard Operating Procedures. They need to educate employees on the new processes, policies and procedures so that they are ingrained in their minds. It is also inevitable for them to take the entire HR processes – from hiring, onboarding, training, engaging, and appraising employees, to virtual platforms. She also noted that since employees have lots of time at their disposal, companies should facilitate the employees to focus on professional development activities such as learning and acquiring certifications.”

Mr Ahmed Mehndi, in his address, remarked that “Covid pandemic is unprecedented. There is no playbook that exists to help companies deal with the situation. For millennials, it is like a third world war. The change has come all of a sudden. In the hotel industry, risk assessment in each and every process has become important. The way to serve guests has changed. We are introducing new practices of sanitizing tables, rooms, and everything from lift to lobby every time after someone uses it.”

He pointed out that companies are now placing a premium on emotional competencies which is required to take care of their colleagues during hardships. Employers are also looking for new competencies such as project management, change management, and business continuity, all different aspects of ‘adversity quotient’, while they hire.

Dr. Poornima Gupta, Associate Professor, OrganisationalBehavior, moderated the session by asking relevant and thought provoking questions.

The panel attracted the participation of students, and alumni of Great Lakes Institute of Management, and professionals from across the world. Earlier Dr. V. P. Singh, Professor and Program Director – PGDM, welcomed the participants. Prof. S K Palhan, Professor, Operations Management of GLIM, Gurgaon, proposed a vote of thanks.

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