Know how occupational stress is taking a toll on employees

Stress is a universal and common challenge to organisation and employee productivity, it is the reality of modern-day workplace. High levels of occupational stress have been linked to an increased risk of physical injuries, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, depression and increases in negative personal behaviours such as anger, anxiety and irritability

man in stress

Stress is an inevitable part of work-life and without enough eu-stress (minimal amount of stress to perform), we all can’t function well, while on other hand, de-stress is experienced when the job demands exceeds the capacity of employees.

Rapid industrialisation has taken a toll on everyone’s well-being. Job insecurity, mismanagement and law-based policies which don’t consider human emotions, are few of the major reasons for workplace stress.

Most industries are situated in few metro cities making them crowded and polluted, which adds to the stress levels of employees. Our education system does not focus on holistic development of students so a job-ready student is a dream for companies. Most students struggle with basic life skills when they enter into job making them vulnerable for various workplace stressors.

Recent survey on well-being revealed that four out of 10 Indian employees are sleep deprived due to stress-related to job. Rising number of depression & suicide cases within workplaces clearly indicate that stress has been destroying peace of employees as well as productivity of employers.

Chronic stress and post-traumatic stress contribute to various mental health issues, including anxiety disorders, depression, and even schizophrenia. Stigma attached to mental health issues, including stress is making difficult for everyone to tackle this issue. Indian business leaders, unfortunately, are not paying enough attention to well-being of employees.

Presence of an industrial psychologist within HR helps organisation to add preventive measure with various behaviour strategies. Relying solely on process and compliance proved to be an ineffective way of dealing with humans within workplace in last two decades.

Software industry is known for its glamourous lifestyle, but at the same time, it is notoriously famous for its “hire & fire” culture. “Work hard but party harder” makes software professional vulnerable to various health issues.

Type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, obesity, and many stress-related issues are common among software professionals. Lay offs due to job periodic recession are part and parcel of software industry, but the ways adopted by management are unhealthy. Various organisational processes should be designed to preserve and promote well-being of employees.

Occupational health impacts public health index of any country especially industrialised countries should be careful, while formulating any industry-related policy. Health and environment should be given priority as long-term impact is irreversible.

It is high time for Indian business to bring drastic change in workplace functioning. A healthy employee is the best performer, and also contributes to public health index of country.

The author is an organisational psychologist and has been associated with Indian software industry as Human resource professional & people development manager for more than 13 years.