December 10, 2007
With offices becoming an extended home for millions employed in the booming BPO sector, companies are coming out with innovative solutions to keep their employees stress-free and work unaffected from any possible burn-outs.
Be it a racing game on Xbox or PlayStations, work-outs at a gym or a simple talk over steaming cups of coffee -- companies are making use of means available within office premises to pamper their employees.
"We have an employee lounge open 24/7 for our employees where they can simply relax or play table tennis, chess, carom or computer games on internet kiosks during their breaks," city-based business process outsourcing firm vCustomer's Executive Director Navin Joshua said.
The company also has courts for outdoor games such as badminton and basketball, apart from special interest groups that plan weekend trips to hill stations, sports activities, cultural events and in-house rock concerts, Joshua said.
"We organise various employee-engagement events like choreography competition, fashion shows and music competitions to enable employees pursue their interests and passion, to help them de-stress and feel motivated," Xansa India's Senior Vice-President (HR) Vikram Karayi said.
Despite being a UK-based IT services and outsourcing organisation, there is no graveyard shift for employees based in India, Karayi said, adding that the company also provides a creche, a day-care facility for children apart from flexible working hours to help them maintain a work-life balance.
"You can see people challenging each other at the Xbox console or working out on physical exercise machines; teams fighting against each other on simulated war games in office premises," software outsourcing firm Aditi Technologies' Vice President (People Department) Chetan LS said.
The active involvement in fun-related activities helps people de-stress and also fosters positive and beneficial inter-personal relations that ultimately translate into effective work relationships, Chetan added.
Experts believe that the companies have realised their role in providing work-life balance which can save the office from becoming a setup full of dissatisfied and tired people that could hamper the effective outputs in the long run.
Apart from recreational activities, conflict management tools are also being adopted to beat the stress levels.
"We invite special third-party trainers to coach the employees on conflict resolution techniques and on ensuring an effective and open communication, apart from encouraging transparent two-way communications," vCustomer's Joshua said.
An unresolved conflict could foster under the surface and burst out any moment, Joshua added.
"Understanding behaviour patterns is part of our training module. This helps our employees understand their peers and managers and enable them to handle conflicts," billing revenue management outsourcing firm Ajuba Solutions India's HR and Finance Director Shankar Narsimhan said.
Only when issues do not get resolved at an inter-personal level, a mediator gets involved and helps settle them through counselling, Narsimhan added.
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