From a cycling club called Thunderbolt to meditation rooms with interiors that give an illusion of the night sky, employees at Infosys’ Pune office have access to a range of activities and facilities aimed at bettering the physical and mental state of mind.
“As we strive to keep up with this fast-moving world, we often tend to neglect ourselves and our health. Specific to the corporate world, the juggle between work, family and personal time leaves many of us with very little time to worry about our health. Having recognized the need to help employees deal with health issues, we have introduced several initiatives and interventions," says Richard Lobo, executive vice-president and head of human resources, Infosys.
One such initiative is the health assessment and lifestyle enrichment (HALE) plan that tries to address the impact of stress on employees and their families. Employees can get medical check-ups, an assessment of their mental and physical status, and access a confidential hotline to a trained professional.
In 2001, the company built meditation and yoga rooms, within its employee care centres, on the two campuses of its Pune delivery centre, which started in 1999. While the 725 sq. ft yoga rooms have parquet flooring, the meditation rooms, each 925 sq. ft, have sports flooring.
Apart from the night sky interior, a free-hanging pendulum in the centre of the meditation room maintains the swinging momentum to prompt a sense of focused concentration. Meditation sessions are held once a week, while yoga classes are conducted through the week. Employees are, however, encouraged to use the meditation rooms as and when they need space “to take a break and breathe out their stress". “The need for a yoga room was based on our goal of providing a holistic wellness programme for employees, along with the increased affinity for yoga as a form of stress release and exercise," Lobo explains.
Apart from the daily classes, special sessions and workshops promoting yoga are held as part of health weeks with many employees attending them. During the HALE Health Week held every year, employees are able to get check-ups and access medical advice across company offices. While some of the workshops have a nominal fee, most of them are conducted free of charge by Infosys employees who have completed a certification course on the subject. Slots for these workshops are given on a first-come, first-served basis.
Sonali Dinesh Pratap Singh, a 22-year-old systems engineer who took to yoga in school to improve her concentration levels, never misses a session at work. “After working the whole day, yoga helps me de-stress and forget about everything and just concentrate on relaxing. I would recommend it to people as it helps in handling work pressures and deadlines."
Her colleague Suvarna Namdeo Bambarse, a senior systems engineer, was motivated to start practising yoga after joining Infosys. “It makes me feel calm and positive. Also, it makes a difference having a space at work where we can comfortably practise yoga," says the 24-year-old.
Interestingly, Infosys has also launched a health app in association with a service provider at its Pune location. This covers holistic wellness through constantly available personal trainers for exercise routines, expert consultations, nutrition intake, customized dietary plans based on the employee’s needs, etc.
Lobo is enthusiastic too about the Infosys Samaritan network, which is active on seven campuses. Essentially, it is a peer network that provides support to fellow employees in times of crisis. “A peer group of volunteers trained in barefoot counselling spend time listening to, empathizing with, supporting and counselling fellow employees, helping them cope with life’s challenges, mostly personal in nature. These Samaritans perform this activity over and above their regular jobs," explains Lobo.
The hope is that all these initiatives and activities will enable employee health and well-being and help them gain the balance they need.
The Wellness Room is a series on how employers are creating designated areas in offices for employees to engage in wellness practices such as workouts, yoga and meditation.