At the beginning of the pandemic, just before the lockdown, when companies started announcing work from home for employees, many of us had a sense of excitement. Despite the presence of a dangerous virus creeping into our neighbourhoods and workplaces, we were elated that we finally got some time to chill at home. Yes, we still had to do our work, but at the comfort of our home. For many employees, that happiness was only a bubble. It started bursting for one by one, as the lockdowns and stay-at-home-and-work prolongated indefinitely. This October, when the countries around the globe observed World Mental Health Day, the most discussed topic was COVID-19 and Employee Mental Health.
The issue of well-being at work is not omnidirectional. From social detachment and hyper-connectivity to job loss and financial crisis, the reasons are plenty for employees to be frustrated with their work and life. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMEI), the average employment rate has reduced from 404 million in March 2019 to 282 million in April 2020, which means that about 122 million people have lost their jobs, including 27 million youth. From an estimated 78 million entrepreneurs and businesses in 2019–20, we were down to approximately 60 million by April 2020. On the other hand, WHO has already stated that the mental health workforce in India is not up to the mark. There is a huge shortage of psychiatrists and psychologists in the country compared to the number of people suffering from mental health issues.
In the corporate business sector, companies are seriously concerned about the mental health of their employees. With the guidance of experts and dedicated teams, many of them conduct live meditation, mental health sessions with a specific focus on vulnerable groups, extended weekends, special holidays, free subscription to well-being apps, 24×7 counselling helplines and many more. In his issue, our focus is on the mental health of employees. Here, we have a collection of insightful articles written by physiatrists, HR experts and other industry leaders. We hope that their insight and expertise will help you understand your mind better and find some tips to be happy in this challenging world.