We recently spoke to Krishnan Narayanan who will be speaking at the Wellbeing @ Work Middle East Summit on 22-24 February. He shared his thoughts about wellbeing and mental health in the workplace from his perspective as Head of Human Resources at Petrotec Group based on Doha.
We are thrilled that you will be speaking at our Wellbeing @ Work Middle East Summit in February. Our first and most important question is, how are you doing today?
Krishnan: Thank you, I am doing great. It is a pleasure to be part of the summit. I believe this summit is an excellent opportunity to share and learn.
As a HR leader based in the region, what are the main challenges your you are facing when it comes to employee wellbeing?
Krishnan: The biggest challenge businesses face today is productivity and mobility. Due to the pandemic, lot of organisations have moved into a work from home system which puts pressure on the family ecosystem as well as on the business specifically in customer facing roles. Secondly, expats working in the region have been physically away from their home for periods longer than usual which when coupled with the uncertainty that generally prevails puts a lot of stress on individuals. This is the main challenge in my opinion.
What strategies have you seen developing in the region over the past 6-12 months during the pandemic to address mental health in the workplace?
Krishnan: Organisations have started looking at external help in the form of Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) run by independent third parties. EAP’s are a great tool to address issues like mental health, crisis intervention, clinical services, work-life advisory etc., I see a larger thrust in the organisation adopting EAP’s in the coming years as these are very critical to employee wellbeing.
Why is employee wellbeing so important to you personally?
Krishnan: Employee wellbeing is more than just the overall health of your workforce. It is about ensuring you have a workforce that is highly engaged and productive. If we do not have an engaged and productive workforce, it would in turn effect the performance, profitability and in the long run the sustainability of an enterprise.
What are you most looking forward to about our virtual event in February?
Krishnan: Bringing together professionals from a wide spectrum of industries and across geographies helps understand challenges others face that is specific to their business. I am looking forward to learning best practices shared by other speakers. There will be a wealth of ideas shared and that to me is the biggest takeaway.
Tell us, what is your vision for the workplace of the future, in terms of employee engagement, mental health and wellbeing?
Krishnan: I believe we will see three major changes in the way workplace of the future operates. One, we will see distributed workforces that operate seamlessly. Secondly, dynamic engagement models evolving with an aim to drive individual performance and satisfaction. Lastly EAP’s will play a significant role in our lives.
Covid-19 has undoubtedly influenced all areas of employees personal and professional lives. What are the key learnings from this period and what are your tips for supporting each other through uncertainty?
Krishnan: Learn to manage people based on specific objectives and individual operating styles. Collaborate with colleagues online and set expectations clearly with staff. Stay visible and communicate often.
You can hear and meet Krishnan and many more HR and Business leaders at the forthcoming fifth annual Wellbeing @ Work Middle East Summit between 22-24 February 2021. For further details and registration please go to the event website here.