Here’s what PepsiCo did to help employees during COVID-19 lockdown


By Pavitra Singh


We are navigating unchartered waters with the global pandemic that has presented new and unique challenges. With majority of the world’s workforce working from home (WFH), full time for the first time, this assumed temporary arrangement has now become the ‘new normal’. And while it may have led to higher productivity, it’s also led many to feel stressed and anxious, impacting overall well-being.

People’s physical, mental and emotional health needs must be treated as a core element of response to, and recovery from during this global health challenge.

It’s against this backdrop, guided by ‘winning with purpose philosophy’, that PepsiCo India has initiatives to support employees as well as their families to have access to more support and better health care.

Doc on call – A 24×7 medical guidance systems in partnership with Connect and heal. PepsiCo India’s employees and their families can use the Doc on call WhatsApp bot or call a dedicated personalised IVR helpline for all medical queries (available in English, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam & Kannada).

At a time, when people prefer staying indoors to ensure social distancing measures, this initiative saw a lot of takers as it helps employees to not only consult a doctor at any time, but their parents, spouse and children have also benefited from this service. Infact, PepsiCo India has also extended this service to distributor partners for their salesmen and families too.

Health care support – While some employees can work out of home, there are others who need to be in the field to ensure that the supply of foods and beverages for consumers is not hampered and to support them, PepsiCo India took an additional COVID 19 insurance and a higher coverage for the workmen, while also covering costs of home care as a part of the hospitalisation policy for all employees.

Mental health initiatives – In March 2020, PepsiCo India re-launched its Employee Assistance Program, Wellbeing support line, in partnership with Optum that provides employees and their family members free counselling sessions and access to a lot of on-line materials related to physical and mental well-being.

In May, PepsiCo India launched a new resilience building app called meQuilibrium to help employees tackle stress. It gauges the employee’s work, lifestyle and exercise patterns through a questionnaire and provides them customised bite-sized information in the form of exercises, articles, videos and activities thereby building awareness and helping them cope better.

Guided by the fundamentals of ‘winning with diversity’, PepsiCo India also offers one-on-one professional counseling to support female employees deal with their personal issues. Taking the mantra of not just working together but working-out together, Zoom fitness sessions were launched where employees could join every morning along with their families to start their day with yoga, cardio and aerobics. Mental Health sessions every fortnight are also organized where renowned experts in their field provide guidance to employees & their spouses on dealing with these tough times.

Just because the employees are working from home, they don’t have to start living at work!

The lines between work and home are blurred therefore along with these initiatives, PepsiCo India rolled out specific guidelines to encourage employees set boundaries and comply with official timings, keeping a track of when they start and end their workday. The company ensures that the employees take regular coffee and workout breaks during the work hours; by providing meeting cadence which has also made few defined hours each day as “No-Meeting” time zones.

Wellness is important for employees whether they work from home or the office. Helping them maintain their physical, emotional and mental well-being by supporting them with the right tools, resources, and services is how the company intends to build confidence and boost trust.

Pavitra Singh is CHRO, PepsiCo India



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