The Indian workforce is experiencing increased stress and anxiety amid the Covid-19 pandemic according to a recently released ‘mental health’ edition of the fortnightly LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index.
According to the report, 2 in 5 (39 per cent) working professionals in India are experiencing increased stress or anxiety due to the pandemic.
“The economic repercussions of the ongoing pandemic have made Indian professionals vulnerable to job uncertainty, financial instability, and bleak company outlook while continuing to work remotely in social isolation,” the report said.
Loneliness in remote work
As over 51 per cent of the Indian workforce is pushed to remote work amid the pandemic, over 60 per cent of professionals report feeling lonely at some point while working remotely, as per the report.
Professionals are further concerned about the impact of remote work on their career progression (41 per cent). About 36 per cent of the professionals are also concerned about remote work harming their work-life balance.
Increased stress for working mothers
The pandemic has especially impacted working parents as the report further highlights the gender disparity in the workforce. As per LinkedIn’s report, 1 in 3 working mothers in India, (28 per cent) are currently providing childcare full time. About 33 per cent of these women are working outside their business hours to provide childcare.
This has also impacted their ability to cope with work as 36 per cent of women reported being unable to focus on work with children at home, compared to 25 per cent of working fathers. Women are also less likely to rely on friends and family for support. As per the report, 23 per cent of working mothers rely on a family member or friend to take care of their children as compared to 31 per cent of working fathers.
Furthermore, a gap in well-being initiatives also added to the stress.
“As the pandemic took hold only 1 in 5 professionals were offered more time off for well-being,” the report said.
Only 23 per cent of Indian professionals said that their employers were offering emotional well-being initiatives and flexible work hours in the early months of the lockdown. Furthermore, only 1 in 5 (21 per cent) professionals were able to get more time off using paid or unpaid leaves. 42 per cent of professionals also express concerns that their companies are unlikely to continue doing so after the pandemic.
Concerns with returning to work
The situation remains bleak even as offices slowly begin to reopen. According to the survey, 40 per cent of Indian professionals are still experiencing financial instability, “signalling towards high levels of financial stress and uncertainty prevalent amongst India’s workforce.”
Another major concern among the workforce is the risk of exposure. 50 per cent of professionals are concerned about getting exposed to Covid-19 after returning to work while 36 per cent are also worried about workplace sanitation. 34 per cent of the workforce is also concerned about exposure to large groups of people in meetings or in public and uncertain workplace safety guidelines.
“The ongoing stress around the 3 Rs — Remote work, Return to work, and Risk of exposure — are adversely impacting the mental health of Indian professionals,” said Ashutosh Gupta, India Country Manager, Linkedin.
“Companies in India are beginning to bolster their mental health programmes to support their employees in such times. At LinkedIn, we have enhanced our people initiatives to include increased professional counselling sessions and other well-being programmes. Your professional community can also be a pillar of strength right now, and we encourage our members to continue to reach out and seek help from others on the platform,” he added.