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Employee Engagement And Stress-Reducing Interactions Are Important: Ali Merchant, Founder, and CEO, AM Infoweb

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Negative thinking is a more rampant issue than we’d like to accept


The world of business has woken to the idea of mental health problems like anxiety and depression taking the position of their rivals. Organizations have actively started taking into consideration, its effects and measures to remedy such health issues. And we had the privilege of discussing the topic with one of the most established business leaders of our time and also a passionpreneur, philanthropist, life coach –Ali Merchant, the Founder and CEO of AM Infoweb, India’s leading Health Information Management Outsourcing Company. We bring to you an excerpt from the interview.

How much do you think negative thoughts affect the productivity of an organization?

“Organizations thrive on positivity and motivation. While negative thoughts crush motivation and cause the individual to lose track of the goals. And losing focus is a sure shot way to affect productivity. A single demotivated and unfocussed team member is sufficient to affect the productivity of the entire team. In other words, organizations rely on teamwork to boost their growth and if team goals are not achieved, losses will be evident on an organizational level. Also, a person with negative thoughts is more likely to be dissatisfied with his situation – employment or otherwise and such individuals may start finding faults in the system and venture out in the name of better employment opportunities, incurring costs on its company in terms of the hiring process, new hire training and related costs.”

Ali adds, “Among professionals, negative thinking is a more rampant trait than we’d like to accept. Hence, it is a serious issue and should be addressed to avert its consequences. ”

What could be the reason for such rampant spread of this trait?

He states, “Clearly anxiety is the most common source of all negative thoughts. It is usually attached to feelings of fear of failure, fear of loss, overwhelmed state of mind, and to an extent even personal issues that translate into negative thoughts on a regular basis. With the advancements of technology and digitalization, anxiety has become a growing concern. The volatile nature of job situations, pressure to keep adapting to changing business trends coupled with personal issues have taken the shape of anxiety and is spreading like a pandemic.”

What can be done to remedy the situation?

Ali says, “The major concern here is that individuals need to first acknowledge that they are suffering from anxiety or other issues which can lead to depression and other serious mental health problems that gradually start exhibiting through physical symptoms too, like lack of appetite, excessive fatigue and more.”

“Effective counseling can help in most of the cases. But like I mentioned, people need to take the initiative by coming forward and expressing their concerns or reaching out for help. Even organizations need to take proactive steps by forming a 3 or 4 member medical and counseling team specifically to address such issues. Employee engagement and stress-reducing interactive sessions are a must. On a personal level, the most basic mode of action is to change perspective or rather ask yourself relevant questions to touch the root of all your anxieties like – what is my fear about? Am I just overwhelmed or am I terrified of some impending change or loss concocted by my mind? Yes, it happens!” That’s really deep and an interesting way to put it.

Lastly, do you face such situations and how do you manage them?

Ali confides, “I definitely have my moments of anxiety. But the good thing is, I have trained my mind to recognize when I start going there and I immediately ask myself – What can I do about it? That changes the entire scenario! Sometimes, I just square my shoulders to refocus. Trust me, it helps. Body language matters.”

This has been a very insightful interview, to say the least. Ali Merchant has certainly put in perspective the plight of the global workforce in terms of mental health and its consequences. Organizations can definitely take this as a pointer to understand and take necessary action to address such issues. We are positive that our readers will benefit from this article on a personal level too.

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