Employee well-being, mental health top priority for businesses, startups Filed on October 10, 2021

Ally Salama.

Kavitha Rajasekhar.

Dani Hakim.

Sanjeevv Bhatia.

55 per cent of founders rate ‘raising investment’ as the prime stress factor in the region.

Employee well-being and mental health are attracting global as well as regional attention as businesses, startups fight out the post-pandemic impact.

Tech startup — EMPWR — developed a platform solution with the sole aim of reinventing the future of wellbeing in Mena.

Ally Salama, founder, and chief executive officer, EMPWR, Mental health ambassador, said: “Amidst the pandemic, conversations about mental health have only increased, however, with the added stress of working from home amongst other professional and personal responsibilities, we’ve forgotten to focus on ourselves. Mental health is of extreme importance and cannot be ignored.”

A recent mental health study by Wamda, Microsoft for Startups, EMPWR, and H.A.D Consultants, indicates that 55 per cent of founders rate ‘raising investment’ as the prime stress factor in the region. The results of the research also indicated that startup founders undergo higher levels of stress than the rest of the region, with twice the likelihood of developing depression issues.

The study also found that entrepreneurs who work with their employees as a team are much more likely to have a stronger sense of wellbeing, and suffer less loneliness.

Dani Hakim, founder, Safe Space, said: “Businesses are starting to realise that employees who feel well, work well. Organisations who prioritise the health of their workforce see a positive impact on the bottom line, it’s no longer about surviving, it’s all about thriving.”

Mena’s healthtech startups have joined forces to offer their fellow entrepreneurs access to mental health support by extending their services, and offerings to fellow entrepreneurs. This initiative contributes to the shift in the cultural view on mental health across the region.

Kavitha Rajasekhar, Managing Director and Content Strategist, CXO Strategies, said: “When companies make a genuine effort towards the mental health of their employees, team gatherings should be meaningful; occasions should be celebrated with warmth, and personal health needs of employees should be taken seriously. Mental health and well-being can be achieved if we listen to what our people are telling us.”

Rajasekhar added: “At CXO Strategies, having an open-door policy has encouraged our team members to openly share their concerns and ask for any help including financial support whenever needed. Employees are constantly incentivised to take time out to enjoy themselves. As an agency, we often work around the clock, however, we always ensure to prioritise mental health overwork.”

Mental Health has gained striking momentum in the past year. However, as an organisation, employee welfare has always been a strategic focus at Netix, from the very beginning, informs Sanjeevv Bhatia, chairman of SB Group International and CEO Netix Global B.V.

“We are creating a plan that goes beyond team-building exercises and fun activities, to include mental health programmes for our teams. 24x7 work hours, remote working conditions, and fear for the health of loved ones and self put a huge strain on everyone during Covid. We have realised the need for a stronger focus on the mental health of all our employees and sensitivity towards their needs. We believe both private and public organisations need to come together to bring a shift in the narrative and lead change, by setting examples. Its imperative for corporates to walk the talk and invest in actual meaningful mental health programmes and initiatives that can benefit their teams,” concluded Bhatia. —


Sandhya D'Mello

Journalist. Period. My interests are Economics, Finance and Information Technology. Prior to joining Khaleej Times, I have worked with some leading publications in India, including the Economic Times.

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