Looking to bust work – induced psychological depression? Doing a course organized by Dharma Life Sciences will surely help you
J Sasidhar had completed a technical degree in the field of computer science and had become an entrepreneur as early as 1987. He founded a company called Dharma Systems, a software company that operated out of India and the USA. During the 25 years in which he ran his company, he noticed that many of the employees in the corporate world were not able to achieve their goals and thereby suffered from confusion and disillusionment, which destroyed their personal lives as well. It was precisely for this reason that he put his technology business in the back – burner in 2012 to research why people suffer and to find out ways to help the employees strike a work – life balance. “Living my own life was a trigger. I noticed that I could easily achieve some goals but found that others were very difficult. And being exposed to two cultures — in the USA and India — which had opposite views on achieving goals, added to the difficulty in understanding what could be achieved and what could not” says Sasidhar, Founder of Dharma Life Sciences, LLC. He noticed a striking contrast in the beliefs of Indian and American culture. Indians believe more in fate where anything would not happen if it was not destined to happen so. On the other hand, Americans believe more in self- confidence and hard work where anything can be achieved if one works for it. “I was not happy with either explanation and I felt that scientific research could solve the riddle,” says Sasidhar.
He founded a team of five researchers to gather data on employees’ behavior and their life goals. After three years of research, the data showed that employees of organizations were indeed not meeting their goals and the organizations believed their employees to be expendable. There was no harmony in organizations. Dharma Life’s researchers also signed up 500 people from the corporate world so that their behavioral traits could be studied. They found that employees brought work home and personal matters to the office. To address this issue, Dharma Life’s psychology and personality development experts work with corporate employees to make them more self – aware through their app. Their mobile application enables employees to discover their strengths, weaknesses and their area(s) of interest. Every year, an increasing number of youngsters suffer from psychological disorders and low self – esteem owing to demanding schedules, high stress levels and performance-linked perquisites in the private sector. Nearly 42.5% of employees are affected by depression or general anxiety disorder. Government employees, whose work and work environments are far less demanding, are way healthier (physically and mentally). The report titled ‘Preventive Healthcare: Impact on Corporate Sector’ reveals that the rate of emotional problems such as anxiety and depression has increased by 45–50% among corporate employees in the last eight years. The report is based on the views of 1,250 corporate employees from 150 companies across 18 broad sectors like media, telecom, knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), etc. The report found that Delhi – based employees suffered from the most stress, followed by Bangalore – based employees, then Chennai, then Ahmedabad, Pune, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and so on…
“The starting point was stating the problem. Once the problem was stated then it would show the path to the solution for an individual,” says Sasidhar.
The primary objective of the research was to find out if a boundary was placed upon a person which prevented him or her from reaching his or her goals in life and if so what were the attributes of the boundary and how to overcome it. The research found out that certain traits like physical, dietary, mental were creating barriers for an individual’s personal and professional growth. These traits in turn affected entire corporations. The startup began to map these traits and developed a mobile application that imparted learning and self – development techniques to employees and organizations. “What we learnt after talking to a number of corporate managers was that leadership training was notorious for not changing the individual at all. However, corporations were spending significant resources on learning and development,” says Sasidhar. Dharma Life’s USP was that they could map their application to the bottom line employees.
Their business model is based on the corporates asking their managers or employees to download the Dharma Life app. The app is also available to people outside the corporate world. It is a model in which a coach (a life expert) is assigned to the employee and there are certain tasks assigned to the employee by the coach which will help the employee understand his or her traits, know his or her strengths and weaknesses and carefully carve out their goals in life. The corporation in turn pays for the services provided by Dharma Life. Sasidhar has launched this business in the USA with three corporations and has covered 1,000 employees so far.
“This is a fragmented industry and needs to scale based on core research, which a corporate must be willing to pay for, otherwise the business cannot be scaled up,” says R Natarajan, CFO of Helion Ventures.
Applications like Dharma Life are the need of the hour these days due to increased stress (physical and psychological) levels of employees owing to demanding schedules and performance -linked perquisites in the private sector. Applications like Dharma Life will enable employees to not only be productive, but will also enable them to live life to the fullest with no psychological breakdowns.