The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the definition of ‘normalcy’ for everyone, and digital presence is the new normal, especially for working professionals. But this has its own impact on the mental health amid a global pandemic, as per a survey by LinkedIn. While the discourse on mental health is getting widely acknowledged in India, these reports indicate towards the minimum manifestation of the ideological debates in practice.
The world’s largest professional social network, LinkedIn, conducted a survey that found that 39% of the working professionals have complaints of increased anxiety and stress due to COVID-19. 80% of the respondents even say that their employers did not offer time off for well-being. The survey results are based on the response of 16,199 working professionals, who participated from April to September in the survey.
More impact on women than men
The distressing revelations of the study say that women have been influenced mentally, more than men, in the past few months. 36% of the working mothers said that they found it challenging to concentrate on work as they had to tend to their children at home constantly. Due to the unexpected circumstances of national lockdown, most businesses moved their operations online, and this impacted the output of many employees. One in three Indian professionals believes that this ‘work from home’ setup slowed down their career progression, had a toll on their productivity, made them feel lonely, and morphed all distinctions of work-life balance. With the added pressure of financial instability, salary cuts and job uncertainty, the mental health of working professionals have been hit hard.
Call for attention from the employers
The LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index, a fortnightly edition, calls for a more empathetic approach towards employees during these unprecedented times. Some of the important statistics brought up by the study are:
- More than 60% of Indian felt lonely while working from home at some point, and 37% of them continue to feel so.
- Working mothers are struggling greatly with every 1 in 3 of them putting extra hours to afford childcare.
- Over 36% of the working mothers had a tough time focusing on work while handling their child as well.
- Less than 23% of the employees received flexible working hours and emotional well-being initiatives in the first few months of the lockdown.
- Four out of five employees found it hard to shut-off in the evenings.
- Half of the respondents also said that their sleeping pattern was disrupted due to COVID-19.
- While most industries are bouncing back in the Unlock phase, 40% of the professionals are still experiencing financial instability.
- As many offices are now opening, 50% of the professionals are worried about exposing themselves to the virus.
- Workplace sanitation (36%), exposure to large groups of people (34%) and workplace safety guidelines (34%) are also some factors that add to their stress.
The Policy Times Suggestions
Now that we recognize the ongoing issue with employees from different sectors, it is essential to discuss how we can address this problem. Here are some suggestions:
- Check on your employees and start a discourse on mental health so that they can come and talk to you.
- Arrange for counseling sessions for your employees from time to time.
- Train yourself in workplace awareness and empathy so that you can maintain a healthy atmosphere with the right work-life balance.
- Do not assume that working from home is convenient as internet issues and several other responsibilities equally tire out your employers. Rather, devise flexible working hours and models and make sure that no one works overtime unless it is an emergency.