Employers Extend Help to Fight Smog

20January, 2018by Aradhana

United Airlines canceled its flights to India’s capital because of poor air quality.

Ruhit Sharma works in an audit firm in Gurugram and travels from Noida to work on daily basis. These days he uses an expensive mask to guard himself against the capital’s smog hazard. He confesses he is not a health freak but his daily run to office in smog was making him feel ‘very unhealthy. I felt like I am inhaling in a gas chamber, he says. 

Sharma is one of many commuters in the Delhi – NCR area who struggle to continue the same routine as the city fights with the dirty air. 

Amidst the crisis, some companies came to the rescue of their employees by implementing employee friendly policies. From installing air purifiers at workplace to offering work from home options to employees, new age companies are doing their bit to protect their employees from deadly smog. 

HR Experts say that such practices help companies attract millennial and satisfy their employees.

Schneider Electric India CHRO Rachna Mukherjee said, “The flexibility in working hours and work from home options help our employees continue to deliver best results and work efficiently, without risking their health and undergoing unnecessary stress.” 

Companies are taking the wellness of their employees very seriously… It works not just as a wellness initiative, but also as a very effective team building and engagement tool that helps organisations bring more close to its people. 

Leading toilet seat sanitizer spray brand, PeeSafe, is taking care of their employees by allowing them to leave early by 5:30pm. Apart from distributing anti-pollution masks in office to employees, PeeSafe has announced no fieldwork for sales team during this health emergency in Delhi. 

Travel Company, MakeMyTrip has reinforced its work from-home facility for its employees. Companies have sent out health advisories to all employees with dos and don’ts. Some have distributed anti- pollution masks and enlisted services of a doctor for the well-being of their employees, among other initiatives. Samsung Electronics has installed over 100 air purifiers in its Gurgaon office. 

India’s largest mobile payment & commerce platform, Paytm is offering employees the flexibility to work from home and in particular, expectant mothers within the workforce are being strongly advised to do so. 

Gurgaon based company; Droom is taking required measures to combat the SMOG situation in Delhi/NCR for its employees by distributing high quality N95 antipollution masks to all their employees. The company has also installed air purifiers on all the office floors. Additionally, Droom is conducting training programmes for employee awareness and have rolled out a guide to educate their employees on how to stay safe in such conditions. 

Several companies are also highlighting the initiatives they are taking to reduce pollution. For Instance: Both the facilities at, co-working company, Go Work are a LEED certified- Platinum rated Green Buildings. This certification ensures that the buildings are compliant in all aspects to the environmen. The company is additionally encouraging its employees to wear masks and have a healthy diet to avoid repercussions of the polluted air. 

As the cliche say it’s better late than never, the employers are taking care of health of employees and are now moving beyond gymnasiums. Companies are increasingly recognising that a healthy, less-stressed workforce, benefits both employees’ well-being as well as the company’s bottom line. 

According to a study, Staying@Work, conducted by a global advisory firm Towers Watson, stress, obesity, and physical inactivity, are the three most pressing lifestyle risk factors in the Asia Pacific region, which includes India. However, country is fighting increased risk of air pollution, of late which impacts respiratory and cardiac health apart from inviting host of deadly diseases. 

To take care of employees’ heart , companies are also investing over pedometer-based, mass participation events. For instance: Stepathlon, a virtual platform that urges participants to walk 10,000 steps, has partnered with over 400 companies in India, including Tata Steel, Tata Power, Vedanta and Aditya Birla Group companies, in the last four years. A pedometer is a device, usually portable, which counts each step a person takes by detecting the motion of the person’s hands or hips. 

Taking care of employees’ health is a win-win proposition for both the employers as well as employees. 

In the recent months, Delhi has earned the unenviable distinction of becoming the most polluted city on Earth this month, as air quality has reached epically bad proportions. Specifically on November 8, pollution surged so high that some monitoring stations reported an Air Quality Index of 999, way above the upper limit of the worst category, Hazardous. 

The impact is not just local. United Airlines canceled its flights to India’s capital because of poor air quality. The Lancet Commission on pollution and health reported 9 million premature deaths stemming from air pollution in 2015. More than 2.5 million of these deaths were in India, the most in any single country. 

The airborne particles and toxic chemicals that make up the smog have choked the 19 million residents of the metropolitan area, where merely breathing the air was, at its worst, like smoking 50 cigarettes in a day. Hospitals reported a 20 percent surge in patients with pollution-related illnesses, and doctors have declared a public health emergency. 

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