The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for the global economy, businesses, and to the lives of people across the world. Being home-bound, maintaining social isolation, and adhering to nationwide lockdowns has changed how businesses operate; this has resulted in stress amongst employees as well. Such circumstances call for companies to ensure their workforce is fully equipped with logistical support and that people have mechanisms in place to overcome physical and emotional challenges.

The health, safety, and wellbeing of employees and their families should be an employer’s first priority during the pandemic. Companies must clearly communicate the support available to employees. At PayU, for example, we’ve set up a dedicated 24-hour IVR helpline, which employees and their families can use to keep themselves informed about the pandemic.

We are also implementing a long-term strategy for employee wellbeing, given that the lockdown will continue over a period of time. Since office and home are now blending into the same sphere, we are encouraging employees to work with their managers to decide on a ‘screen time off’- any two hours during the day – including office hours – when employees can shut all screens, to improve their overall health.

Emotional health is as important as physical safety. Now more than ever, companies should make investments into the emotional wellbeing of employees. That’s why we have launched the Employee Assistance Program to provide psychological, financial, and legal counseling for employees and their families. The professional counseling service is designed to help employees cope with the sudden, unprecedented changes to lifestyles. To read more about our Employee Assistance Program, click here.

In addition to this, we have launched a series of virtual sessions to share ideas on maintaining one’s mental balance. Session topics include, “Mental health in QuaranTimes” and”How not to lose your mind“. Managers will also be invited to attend a separate webinar series on how to keep their teams’ morale high.

It is equally important to acknowledge and address fears about job security. Companies need to be transparent about their business plans and honest about the impact of COVID-19. Our CEO and leadership team have reassured employees that performance appraisals will occur as scheduled and that there will be no withdrawal of offer letters or delay in joining dates for recently recruited employees. A range of other concerns have been addressed, including early salary requirements, reimbursement for internet connections, and enabling VPN connections.

In times of uncertainty, employees look to their leaders for direction, reassurance, and guidance. At PayU, our CEO and leadership team regularly connect with employees through virtual townhalls to share business updates and address employee concerns. Many leaders have used internal communication channels to share messages of hope and urge employees to stay calm and resilient. One of these channels is Workplace by Facebook where employees across the globe remain connected, engaging with online communities to chat, share documents, and collaborate on projects.

One of the most visited communities on Workplace at the moment is the Global COVID-19 Staying Safe and Healthy Together group, where employees share information, tips, and experiences to help others take precautions and stay safe. Workplace communities are a great place to keep up morale, with informal groups that help people feel more connected and less lonely. Topics of discussion range from funny experiences of quarantine to venting frustration about the pandemic or new hobbies picked up during self-isolation. But they all have one common purpose – to help everyone stay positive and stay connected!

This is a challenging time for all of us, and we will continue to try to work with all to get through it together. To know more about us, our products and initiatives,