COPING MECHANISM

Indian companies have realised how bad employee stress is

Stressed out.
Stressed out.
Image: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
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Indian companies are finally recognising how self-destructive employee stress can be.

They now consider stress as the second-biggest lifestyle risk among their staff, right behind a lack of physical activity, according to a recent study by Willis Towers Watson. The UK-based professional services firm surveyed over 100 organisations in the country.

Having taken cognizance of the damage that work pressure can have, employers are taking remedial actions. In 2018, providing flexible work options was the primary strategy to combat stress, followed by stress management initiatives, the companies said.

However, flexibility in work options lost favour this year, as not many more firms are eager to offer flexible hours. With just 8% of the surveyed firms saying they will be implementing the approach this year, it is now the least preferred.

Developing a mental health plan and stress management training will be the new favourites, the study found.

Reducing stress can be both in the interest of the employees and the employers. An earlier Towers Watson survey had noted that employee stress reduces productivity in the workplace.

About 25% of the companies also expressed concern about their employees’ smoking habits. Banning the consumption of tobacco in the office campus, including right outside the office building, was their preferred way of pushing towards less tobacco use last year.

Now, more firms will turn to self-attestation protocols and allow e-cigarettes, the study says.