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‘Always On’ work culture is affecting mental health of Indians

The growing ‘always on’ work culture has cost employees their mental health. And, it isn’t helping productivity either.

“The underlying motivation for working all these hours is not actually to produce high-quality work. In fact, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that it’s going to undermine the quality of the work,” said an article published in Administrative Science Quarterly.

The Indian work culture

As workplace stress continues to be a universal issue, a well-being survey report titled ‘2019 Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey’ revealed that stress has adversely affected Indian working professionals.

Working extra hours have made employees better compensated and financially sound, but it has also affected their mental and physical health across companies, the survey analysing Indian working professionals noted.

Performance pressure and fear of losing jobs are the major reasons for burnout among employees. According to the National Mental Health Survey of India (2015-16), around 15% of Indian adults need support for one or other mental illness issues.

The respondents of the survey felt that they lack of support from employers. Nearly 46% received stress management backing from their employer companies, the report noted. Working women are found to be more stressed than men.

Switching On

The ‘always on’ working conditions have stressed employees due to technological advancements and leading to burnout, TOI reported citing a cross-cultural coach Shital Kakkar Mehra.

This has lead to work absence, the HR professionals reportedly said. “In order to promote engagement, it is crucial to provide employees with the resources they need to do their job well, feel good about their work, and recover from work stressors experienced through work,” noted Emma Seppala and Julia Moeller in Harvard Business Review.

‘Work from home’ an alternative?

Working from home reportedly reduces workplace stress and anxiety caused by the 24×7 work culture.

While ‘working from home’ allows to get away from workplace pressure, it adds to the ‘always on’ work policy, remotely. In spite of this, employees believe that remote work options helps them maintain a better work-life balance, thereby reducing stress.

Several companies in India including EY, Hindustan Unilever, WeWork are hence stepping up their employee policies for a healthy work-life balance and controlled attrition rate.

India, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Indonesia showed the strongest improvement in overall wellness with a rise of between 2.1 and 4.4 points, according to the Cigna well-being survey.

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