Poor mental health among employees costs Indian employers about US$14 billion annually in absenteeism, reduced productivity and attrition, according to a Deloitte Mental Health Survey.
Over the years, mental health issues have seen a steady rise globally, exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India accounts for nearly 15 percent of the global mental health burden.
To analyze the current state of mental well-being among Indian employees, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP (DTTILLP) conducted a survey titled “Mental Health and Well-being in the Workplace”, reads a statement.
The survey delves into the most significant stressors from the employee’s perspective, along with estimating the annual economic cost to Indian companies arising from poor mental health of employees.
About 47 percent of professionals surveyed consider workplace stress as the biggest factor affecting their mental health, followed by financial challenges and COVID-19 challenges.
These stressors manifest in multiple ways, affecting the personal and professional aspects of an individual’s life; often with associated social and economic costs,” the study said.
The report estimates that “poor mental health among employees costs Indian employers approximately US$14 billion annually due to absenteeism, attendance, and attrition.”
Attendance to work is the phenomenon of coming to work under psychological pressure and thus performing with low productivity.
“These costs accumulate over time and occur when poor mental health affects how individuals deal with daily stressors and their inability to thrive in their work environment,” the statement said.
According to the survey, 80 per cent of the Indian workforce have reported mental health issues within the past year.
Despite these alarming numbers, societal stigma prevents about 39 percent of affected respondents from taking steps to manage their symptoms.
Additionally, the survey found that in the workplace, 33 percent of all respondents continued to work, despite poor mental health, while 29 percent took time off and 20 percent quit to better manage their mental health.
Commenting on the findings of the study, Puneet Rengen, CEO of Deloitte Global, said, “Mental health has been a real problem. The challenges of the past two years have increased conversations about mental health at work.”
He said the study shows that companies must prioritize the mental health and well-being of their employees.
“It is imperative that senior leaders play a key role in removing the stigma of mental health challenges within their organizations. We need to take the necessary steps to create an environment where employee well-being is prioritized, and they have the support they need. Everyone can thrive.”
Charu Sehgal, Partner, Life Sciences and Healthcare Leader, DTTILLP, adds that “Mental health challenges are not new to the Indian workforce, but have taken the lead in light of COVID-19, a young workforce that is open to talking about their individual well-being.”
Not only is the number of employees affected, she said, the degree of challenge is also high, highlighted by performance-oriented cultures grounded in long and demanding work schedules, economic uncertainty, and peer comparison (particularly on social media platforms). .
She added that while most Indian companies have recognized the importance of employee well-being, the share of mental health measures in the workplace remains limited, with few sporadic events and the use of third-party employee assistance programmes.
With the generational shift we are seeing in our workforce, employers have the opportunity to fundamentally reset and reassess ways of working to address root causes and achieve greater inclusion and well-being by enabling talent policies.
“Raising awareness and challenges related to mental health can help access help early. As responsible responsible citizens, it is the responsibility of India Inc to act and create a framework for managing mental health and wellbeing in the workplace and creating a culture of trust to ensure long-term benefits for employees as well as the organization “.
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