PRmoment Health Communications Review: Why work from office is a mental health advocacy challenge

Trigger Warning: This article contains discussion on mental health issues.

PRmoment's weekly 'Healthcare Communications Review' column looks at the biggest healthcare trends every week and analyses the communications implications. In partnership with SPAG, A Finn Partners Company.

In September this year, IT major Wipro fired 300 of its employees for moonlighting.

The 'IT' word for September and even now is moonlighting. Before the pandemic and its #WFH option, it may not have been such a challenge.

But the new hybrid working situation has exposed the complexities of the new work structure. Not surprisingly then, companies are beginning to insist on a back-to-work from office system.

This has strong mental health implications and important cues for employee engagement priorities. Worth focusing on even as WHO marks World Mental Health Day on October 10th with the campaign, " Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority."

A recent survey by Deloitte found that poor mental health among employees costs Indian employers around $14 billion (Rs 1.1 trillion) a year on account of absenteeism, lower productivity, and attrition.

Shivani Gupta, managing partner - culture and brand Reputation, Health Asia- SPAG/FINN, said, We’ve found that with most recent additions to teams especially those that joined us during the lockdown phase, there seemed to be a gap in creating a connect and bond within the team and then with the organization at large. With the upswing in terms of news stories especially in a dynamic sector like healthcare, the need to meet deadlines both client and media, can leave even the calmest team members a bit stressed out. There is definitely a need to recognize that all team members require a break sometimes and that we need to help people find a natural balance as mental well-being needs, need to be as normalised as physical well-being."

Gupta added, "We’ve learned that there are times especially during the lockdown that employees started to feel isolated, and this had an effect on mental health. We therefore initiated our mental wellness programme which includes mental wellness leaves and also a mental wellness allowance."

What does this mean for communicators?

1) In year 1 of the back-to-office approach, communicators need to strongly focus on engaging with the employees as work from the office means reorganisation of your schedules, hours of work and travel. All this adds to the stress at work. Additionally, with masks almost a forgotten concept, the focus has to also be on the safety rules which are applicable now.

2) Gen Z employees are particularly suited to WFH, with their love for flexibility, freedom and quick changing situations. They are also brought up with tech being a given. They require a communication strategy that emphasises how the organisation can support their well-being by providing flexibility in their routines.

3) Some experts believe that by 2023 much of the corporate world will move back to a WFO model. This means a second sweeping change in the lives of professionals within 3 years. Sustained mental health outreach and creating acceptability to talk about mental health challenges in a trusted manner. 

In other news:

1 This article makes the case for a greater contribution from philanthropists to the cause of mental health. 

2) Buy an insurance cover that includes OPD visits for mental health treatment.


1) Mental Health influencers to follow in India.

2) Mental Health Help Lines 

That's it for this week. Special thanks to SPAG, a FINN Partner company for their ongoing support for this weekly column.

News for the column curated by Impact Research and Measurement

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