When one of his most diligent employees started missing deadlines and became unresponsive to emails, the boss at an Indian technology company felt there was something amiss. He reached out to consultancy Deloitte India for advice. “Many of our clients asked us how they should handle this situation. We simply share the steps and mechanisms we have put in place for our own employees and their families,” says S V Nathan, chief talent officer, Deloitte India.
Some companies have engaged doctors and therapists to talk to employees over webinars and answer questions related to the virus. Companies such as Verizon Media and Deloitte are sharing weekly newsletters to build a sense of community. “Our ‘Daily Connect’ newsletter also includes fun features for families at home — crazy memes, curated binge-watching lists from employees, and a hunt for the most creative kids,” says Nikhil Rungta, India Country Manager, Verizon Media. Their employees also get together for a daily virtual Q&A with their CEO, Guru Gowrappan. “A virtual showcase of our newest product updates created excitement, a sense of achievement at overcoming current constraints to deliver something that was tangible,” says Rungta. Verizon Media also allows a “mental day off” to its employees.
Law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas has psychologists on board to help employees negotiate anxiety. “It is imperative for companies to have an awareness campaign and programme around mental health, as mental health outcomes are going to be the difference between people-related successes and failures of the times to come,” says Shweta Shroff, equity partner at the company.