In several movies you might have seen managers asking their employee (who is generally the hero of the movie) to take leave for some days as the mental status of that employee did not seem alright. But that was about movies. Have you seen that in real life?
And I am not blaming managers. Managers on most occasions are far more stressed as they have to get the jobs done with limited resources and there is a huge difference between getting a job done and doing a job. Those who have experienced this might imagine what I am trying to say (particularly in a place with strong labor unions). Not all managers are alike however.
A huge percentage of employees in the corporate world undergo stress on daily basis but very few of them would go and tell the manager to grant a stress leave. In most companies that I have visited, read/heard about and where I have worked so far, the categories generally found are: casual, sick, and paid.
There is a leave provision called LTA (Leave Travel Allowance) which could be a great stress reliever but we all know how well that is followed in private organizations.
However; if such a leave category (i.e. unable to work due to mental tiredness) was introduced, chances of misuse may not be ruled out. Opportunists would show up instead of genuine people. Most of us know how sick leaves are taken by several employees and how medical certificates are produced at times to fulfill employer requirements.
But the fact remains the same – the sincere employees would generally not tell the employer (or manager) about their stress. They would prefer coming to work despite being physically unwell. Some employees who are not that sincere but hesitating in nature might also not tell the manager about their issues.
This is where the role of manager becomes most important. He/she must be able to identify the issues with his team member at the earliest stage before the employee makes up his mind to change the job or starts reacting abnormally to normal situations.
Manager might not have solution to every stress that employee has. He might not be able to say no to clever team members who would want to make benefit out of this facility. He might not be able to grant leave on every occasion of mental fatigue but he can try considering the following solution:
Give Them Space
People going to places like Ramakrishna Math, Auroville, Vivekananda House, Lotus Temple etc. have told me how much mental relief they experienced within just few minutes of sitting there. There are several places in India that are very famous for offering good environment for meditation.
Employers can provide a small but peaceful room or a big hall where possible so that their employees can get a place to just relax for some time and return back to work. It should be constructed (to the extent possible) to suit the meditation needs. This would not only relax their minds but would also help them get some positive energy to show up better at work.
Many employers understand this. I have seen temples and prayer rooms at workplaces. Several employers provide regular meditation training to their employees. Training in my opinion is not must but a peaceful environment is. People want space which these days they don't get even at their homes. Just give them some place where they can sit silently.
Make Some Rules to Avoid Misuse
As soon as a welfare scheme is introduced the corrupt people would want to make the best (or should I say) worst use of it. Employers (in my opinion) should make some rules and ensure strict implementation so that no one suffers.
Example of some rules could be:
Unfortunately I have found people misusing the prayer rooms for talking on mobile phones (due to silence or to avoid recording 'out time') or some kind of meetings (due to lack of conference rooms at that time). Such kinds of misuse should be avoided. The purpose of this room should not be to escape from work but to relax.
लाभस्तेषां जयस्तेषां कुतस्तेषां पराजयः I येषामिन्दीवरश्यामो हृदयस्थो जनार्दनः II