Job-related stress spreads to more sectors in India, shows study

19 May, 2007: Work-related stress and mental fatigue – mainly blamed on expectations of better performance, deadlines and competition – is taking a toll on Indian employees in sectors like construction, banking, media, shipping and small-scale industries.

A survey conducted by India’s industry body Assocham has revealed that “the menace of stress and mental fatigue has intensified in recent times at the top and middle positions of sectors comprising construction, shipping, banks, government hospitals, trading houses, electronic and print media, courier companies, small-scale industries, retail and card franchise companies.”

These sectors are becoming high-stress zones like the business process outsourcing (BPO), call centres and information technology (IT) companies because of deadlines, demand for high performance, shortage of staff and threats from competitors.

Working conditions are also a factor which contributes to the stress level of employees, the survey shows.

The survey of nearly 200 Indian employees revealed that top executives such as civil engineers, architects, contractors, marketing managers, quality controllers, editors, reporters and copy writers brave stress and take home its adverse impact.

While professionals like chartered accountants, lawyers, tax consultants and those in sectors like automobiles, infrastructure, advertising and NBFCs enjoyed better working conditions, others were not so lucky.

In the case of construction companies, employees have to execute their work in a scheduled period, keeping in mind cost and time factors.

Those working in the banking sector – both public and private – tend to get stressed as they have to attract a large pool of customers for various schemes besides ensuring timely recovery of loans.

Government hospitals in India face acute shortage of trained staff and professionals, coupled with large inflow patients, which cause stress to the employees.

Employees of media organisations work under pressure for long hours, causing insomnia and other stress related-problems, the Assocham survey has found.

Employees of small-scale industrial units in India have to work 15-16 hours, adversely affecting their mental health and leading to depression.

However, the stress level among the employees in ministries, central and state government offices, institutions and bodies funded by central and state governments is very low owing to limited working hours, surplus staff, and lack of competition.

The Assocham has suggested that rest rooms be set up in offices and relaxation techniques like meditation, deep-breathing or yoga be practised during working hours, which can help reduce stress.




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