This article was published on June 29, 2017

Arianna Huffington brings her enterprise-grade wellness program to India

Arianna Huffington brings her enterprise-grade wellness program to India
Abhimanyu Ghoshal
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Abhimanyu Ghoshal

Managing Editor

Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].

Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and a member on Uber’s board, launched Thrive Global in the US last year to tackle stress and burnouts in the workplace, by offering wellness workshops, tech products to address the needs of your body and mind, and a content platform that focuses on well-being in our modern world. And now, the company is making its services available to businesses across India.

Thrive believes there’s a need for this sort of service in the country: in a survey it conducted, it found that 46 percent of working professionals in India suffer from some sort of stress, while 93 percent of respondents reported being sleep-deprived. If those figures are accurate, stress could spell disaster for the nation’s workforce if it goes unchecked.

Speaking to TNW, Huffington explained that Thrive is gearing up to address companies of all sizes across the country:

Our services range from one-day trainings to 28-day challenges to multi-year engagements, with content, internal marketing and online learning available to help teach employees the science around the link between well-being and performance and tools and strategies to implement in their own lives. The underlying challenges of stress and burnout and the solutions are the same no matter how big a business is. We also offer tools and strategies to individuals.

While a few local companies including Indus Health Plus and HealthifyMe are engaged in promoting corporate wellness programs, they’re primarily concerned with physical well-being. Thrive is taking a different approach by focusing on mitigating the efforts of mental and emotional stress.

But with a fresh take on the problem, it faces the challenge of getting businesses to buy into its concept. To that end, it’s roped in actress and fitness enthusiast Gul Panag as its brand ambassador. She’s also the co-founder of Mobiefit, a company that offers mobile apps for equipment-free workouts, running and walking. Huffington explained that Panag was a perfect fit for her brand:

More and more people around the world are realizing that the “always on” culture, fueled by our addiction to smartphones, isn’t working for anybody. And that’s where our media platform and new role models like Gul Panag come in. We’re looking to accelerate the culture shift by featuring leading Indian voices in business, film, music, sports and culture who demonstrate that you can be successful without burning out.

While Thrive has been offering its services to companies like Accenture and SAP in the US, it’s hoping to offer customized content and workshops in India by drawing from its ancient scriptures. Huffington noted:

From its spiritual traditions to yoga and meditation, Indians have always known what it means to live a good life. The Bhagavad Gita describes three different kinds of life: a life of inertia and dullness with no goals and achievement; a life full of action, busyness and desire; and a life of goodness, which is not just about ourselves but about others. It’s that second life that much of our modern lives seems to be based on, but more and more people across the globe are realizing the emptiness of that approach to living. And modern science is validating the ancient wisdom, so we now know, conclusively, that to thrive, we need to combine it with the third kind of life.

It’ll be interesting to see if Thrive can break through the barriers that have held back wellness programs from becoming the norm in India, as well as make a strong case for its offerings, which have been met with criticism for seeming frivolous. The company is presently looking for someone to lead its India operations, after which it’ll roll out its services more widely.

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