You wake up every morning sun-kissed, but do you feel like going to work? Are you excited to start accomplishing great tasks in the bullpen or you’re just doing all of this because you have to? All we’ve ever dreamt of was a fancy college degree, a bit-fat monthly cheque, and a BMW on the driveway. But, at what cost? Here are the Eight Immortals about workplace stress and countermeasures in a snapshot.
A common story across corporate India
According to a 2019 survey by LinkedIn, 49 percent of the workforce in organisations in India suffers from some or the other form of stress. LinkedIn’s study had a sample size of 2,843 employees. The study further concluded that five biggest drivers of stress were – workload, confidence in job future, sense of purpose, work politics and access to resources. In order to collect yourself during high stress durations, one should spend more time with the close ones off the work. Research shows that sharing feelings can bring down most of the stress that’s caused mentally to an individual. Also, determining the prerogatives and priorities can help in the long run very well.
Gen X vs Gen Z: who’s more prone to stress?
Not all ages are cheek by jowl when it comes to stress levels. As opposed to the millennials, Gen X were the most stressed at work with 54 per cent. The figures for baby boomers and millennials stood at 48 and 46 per cent respectively. In terms of seniority, with 61 per cent the executive level employees are the most stressed ones, which further funnels down to 48 percent for individual contributors. This can be highly associated with the fact that most of the employees beyond a certain age stop upskilling. Learning new things can definitely have a negative impact on stress.
Women can get burnt down with this type of stress
Sexual harassment isn’t associated with merely one of the genders. But too often, women especially in the lower ranks of hierarchy get caught up in frustration and depression due to harassment. Although there are laws prohibiting sexual misconduct, these matters are usually suppressed by the management and hardly see the light of the day. A data piece published by the Ministry of Women and Child Development states the number of cases of sexual harassment in the workplace registered in India increased from 54% from 371 cases in 2014 to 570 in 2017. One of the interesting points is the psyche of a harasser. People in the position of power, often being in a position to affect the promotions, salary, work, etc. have an edge when it comes to harassing. Ergo, women must be willing to come forward, and the management must protect them. Promoting them to senior positions is not a solution. In fact, a study shows that women in leadership positions were sexually harassed more than others.
Organisations need to address the issue
Despite being a global concern, there is still a yawning gap between talks and deeds. On the organizational level, lack of appreciation and affection are the two major root causes for stress among employees. Not to mention the fact that some organizations lack that ‘culture of success’ where leaders have condescending personalities. At the ground level, extreme competitiveness among colleagues, fear of being singled out, and vindictive nature of peers can be few of the far many factors facilitating burnout. A healthy competition among peers can lead to a naturally productive workplace for everyone. It’ll work like a contagious pill of having each other’s back.
Looking beyond the workplace – improvising lifestyle
Financial pitfalls can be one of the prime causes of heightened stress. A 2017 study by Willis Towers Watson reveals that 32 per cent of employees in India live paycheque to paycheque. All of these factors not only tend to destroy mental health but also disrupt the normal course of one’s career. A study further states that 77 per cent of the employees say “Employers should actively encourage their employees to live healthy lifestyles.” Also, another element to factor in is engagement with the surrounding community. The better the access to quality health care and conveniently located health care, the better the employee experience overall.
The five key dimensions of health for employees can be – Financial, Mental, Physical, Social and Community. Of course, the weightage to each factor varies heavily to each individual, but the survey results show the same order of preference in descending order. The 2019 India Health and Wellbeing Survey by Willis Towers Watson also claims that 80 per cent of the employers have taken at least one action to manage employee stress and mental health.
Bare beginnings, long way to go!
The crux is, a better mental health means an improved quality of work. Whereas, the productivity will increase substantially with less absenteeism. Who can forget the corporate executive having nervous breakdown and high-risk stress (played by Demi Moore) in Margin Call? The harsh reality is a decade later we’re still on the same page. Employees should cast a light upon their time commitment and burden limit. Sometimes, the best one can do is be upfront and honest about their capacity. Being able to tell ‘no’ is necessary.
One must not forget there’s more to life than just bullpens, cubicles and corner offices. A walk around suburbs, spending time with your dear ones, and/or going through old albums just as much matters. It’s hard to believe but sometimes getting a drink with that friend whose face you’ve almost forgotten calms the mind and body in the most jovial way. In a nutshell, I won’t conclude with a single quote. Rather, “when employees are happy, they are your very best ambassadors”, and “life is too important to be taken seriously.”
Signing off, you should too! Keep Thriving.