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Home > Business > Market Report

Dancing to beat the stress at BPO firms

July 03, 2007 10:48 IST

Sensing the high stress levels among employees that lead to lower productivity and higher attrition rates, Information Technology and business process outsourcing firms are resorting to unconventional methods, including teaching dancing and music, to tackle and beat the stress.

India's largest IT services firm Tata Consultancy Services [Get Quote], for instance, creates a balance and fun at work which is facilitated through different clubs like Theatre Club, Bibliophile Club, Adventure & Trekking Club, Fitness Club, Sanctuary Club, Music Club and Community Services Club, among others. Maitree, an initiative by TCSers and their spouses, organises several activities like treks, classes and workshops on creative arts besides picnics and other community initiatives.

"Stress may arise from several factors apart from work like lifestyle and personal situations. While there is professional help available for associates at several of our facilities, we are also looking at the possibility of employing psychologists," said a TCS spokesperson.

Infosys [Get Quote], on its part, has a custom-designed instrument, which assists in increasing self-awareness. Based on the response, further guidance is provided to identify ways of effectively coping with the stress.

The company also conducts a series of workshops by experts. Bikramjit Maitra, vice-president and head, HR, Infosys Technolgies, opines that a caring and supportive approach towards the employees will benefit both the individual and the company. He said: "Towards ensuring that Infoscions get expert help when they need it most -- 24 hours a day, 365 days a year --, we have tied up with counselors to provide Hotline Counselling, uniquely dedicated to Infoscions."

Even smaller companies like Nucleus and Tulip practise their innovative ways to keep the stress levels among employees under check. Anuja Metha, Head HR at Tulip Software Ltd, said: "There is a high amount of stress among employees these days, and this is largely due to lack of interpersonal interaction among the members of the company. To counter such problems, we have a system of mentors and an 'open door' policy where all employees are free to talk to their superiors."

Tulip has also gone the extra mile by conducting salsa and jazz classes besides the stress management workshops.

The BPO sector with its irregular hours and streneous working conditions are badly hit with the stress syndrome.  Contributing to approximatly 25 to 30 per cent attrition rate among the BPOs. According to sources, most of the young people who join BPOs in the lure of easy money, find it hard to cope up with the long and irregular working hours.

The BPOs have also adopted innovative methods of reducing the high attrition rates besides the normal facilities of taxi service, and subsidised cafeterias. Gurgaon based BPO Convergys, to reduce the stress of its young employess helps them continue their education even while working, Convergys also has a special Education Assistance Program that allows one to get up to Rs 24,000 of the course fee reimbursed.

Another BPO, Zenta has formed the  'Fun Shui Squad', --a team of employees from different departments-- dedicated to bringing fun and entertainment to all at Zenta.

The committee plays an active role in organising games, competitions and inter-department events. The program helps bring out individual talent in writing, painting, and creativity. Programs such as "Holi Poster-Making Competition" encourages Team/Department participation.

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