Physical and psychological wellbeing of people is the foundation of sustainable productivity. To achieve such a holistic wellbeing, the corporate mind must go beyond stress management towards a more positive and integral vision of wellness.
The modern corporate world, in its relentless drive for productivity and performance, tends to ignore or give a secondary importance to human well being. A leading Indian business magazine in a poignant front-page story on the BPOs in India, reports a tragic and revealing incident. A BPO employee, Anap becomes a drug addict and finally dies of drug overdose. According to his colleague and friend Partho, the BPO management was well aware of Anap’s addiction but decided not to interfere since he was a top performer! What is the main cause of the problem? Partho answers: “There is so much pressure from the management to meet numbers and after getting abused so often by the bosses, you tend to make up your self-esteem by drinking and using drugs whenever you can.”
The Body and Mind of the employee are the source of performance. If they are sick and tormented or constantly in a state of tension, anxiety and stress, there cannot be any enduring performance. It may be possible to generate a certain amount of extra-performance from the employee through a “pressure-cooker” environment made of stretch-targets and a motivation system which demands, compels and rewards performance and punishes the under-performer. But without an equal attention to human well-being, this performance cannot be sustained. So when P. Ramadurai, the CEO of Tata Consultancy Services, states “Performance is linked to the well-being of the individual”, he is not talking rocket science but simple common sense.
The corporate world is not unaware of the importance of human well being. But most of the wellness programmes is conceived in terms of some superficial and adhoc practices like in house gyms, picnics, canteen or medical facilities, flexi-time, work-life balances with a dose stress-management, yoga and meditation.
All these are well and good but not enough to achieve sustainable human well being. The corporate mind has to arrive at a better understanding of the factors which lead to holistic human being and implement them in the corporate life. Here is a brief outline of an integral approach to wellness.
- regular exercise and right nutrition,
- a material environment which is gentle, pleasing and harmonious to senses,
- lots of fresh and clean air, sunlight and open space,
- ecological harmony and attunement with physical Nature,
- certain amount of outer peace, security and prosperity.
Vital and Emotional Well-being
- joy and freedom of action, creation, achievement, play, adventure and exploration.
- selfless service to the common good of all.
- Inner and outer harmony and mutual goodwill among people.
- A collective environment and a system of government which is kindly compassionate, fair and just.
- Clarity and mutual understanding.
- Peace, tranquility and benevolence in the emotional and mental consciousness.
- A certain amount of rest, relaxation and leisure and sufficient inner space to pursue our higher evolution in the psychological and spiritual domains.
- Awakening of the spiritual self in us and a harmonious integration of the body, life and mind around this spiritual core of our being.
When the psychological environment of the community is saturated with these factors of integral wellness, especially force of Peace, Goodwill, Understanding and Compassion then it has a beneficial impact on the health and performance of people in the organization. On the other hand, if the psychological environment of the community is full of anxiety, tension, ill-will, mistrust, suspicion, then it will have an adverse effect on the wellbeing and performance of people and no amount of in house gyms, picnics and parties or courses in stress-management can neutralize the negative impact. So educating the work force on the concept and practice of holistic wellbeing should be an integral part of performance management.
The author is a Research Associate at Sri Aurobindo Society and on the editorial board of Fourth Dimension Inc. His major areas of interest are Management and Indian Culture.