Seven in ten Indian workers say they’re experiencing stress at work on at least a weekly basis, according to the new data out from global payroll and HR leader ADP this week. The data was collected as part of ADP’s Global Workforce View 2020 report exploring employees’ attitudes and opinions towards the current world of work and what they expect and hope for from the workplace of the future.
In a survey of 1,908 workers in India, 70 percent of them said they were experiencing stress at least once during the working week on a regular basis. Levels of stress amongst the Indian workforce are significantly higher than the Asia-Pacific average of 60 percent.
However, the survey found that Indians were amongst the most likely within APAC to discuss mental health problems at work. 89 percent of respondents said they would be comfortable talking to someone at work about their mental health.
Rahul Goyal, Managing Director at ADP India, said, “For business owners, leaders and managers, there is a duty of care to foster a work environment that prioritizes its employee's mental health and wellbeing. While being under pressure is a normal part of life, the number of Indian workers reporting that they are experiencing stress on a weekly basis suggests we are falling short.
“It is widely accepted stress can cause or exacerbate existing mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression.
“Mental health has a huge impact upon people, communities, businesses and the economy. Alongside the ethical considerations to creating a supportive and productive work environment, we know there is a strong business case to be made too.
A 2019 WHO study highlighted that anxiety and depression disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity. “Workforces with lower incidences of mental stress are likely to be more productive, have higher levels of employee retention and report fewer days of workplace sickness absence. It really is in everyone’s interests – employers and employees alike – to improve the mental health of our teams.”
In a positive development, the new data from ADP proposes improvements made in recent years to discuss and educate about mental health are taking hold. Indian workers are amongst the most likely in APAC to be open with their peers or managers on mental health issues in the workplace.
“An open and honest dialogue is the first step in addressing mental health issues – raising concerns means plans and procedures can be introduced to help alleviate the causes of stress. The data shows India has made excellent progress here. We should dig deep and move quickly to understand how India has achieved this so it can be replicated in other markets where progress in discussing mental health in the workplace remains slow and stagnant.
Work-life balance is often a strong indicator of mental health in the workplace. The same survey from ADP found almost half of Indian workers (46 percent) are doing around 6-10 hours of work unpaid every week.
“Unpaid overtime can be extremely demoralizing, particularly over sustained periods of time. Some of the most effective ways to improve work-life balance in your organization include offering and insisting on the use of flex-time options, flexible vacation scheduling and time off for medical or other appointments. Establishing parameters for ignoring emails or texts after hours will also help your employees disconnect and could help minimise the prevalence of stress,” added Goyal.