According to the inaugural Asia Pacific edition of the 'Staying@Work' survey conducted by professional services company Towers Watson, stress is the number one lifestyle risk factor, ranking above physical inactivity and obesity.
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A growing recognition among employers is that the workplace experience can both contribute to and reduce employee stress and an increasing number of employers are planning lifestyle change programmes that were not as prevalent as of now.
"Almost 1 in every 3 Indian employers has instituted stress or resilience management programmes in 2013 and an almost equal number plan to follow suit in 2014. With stress being ranked as #1 lifestyle risk factor in India, this number is likely to grow," the report said. "It is noteworthy that Indian employers fared better than their Asia Pacific counterparts in managing employees' work -related stress," Towers Watson India Director, Benefits Anuradha Sriram said.
Integrating various initiatives into a comprehensive and robust health and productivity strategy is a gradual process, but the fact that Indian companies have begun taking positive strides in this direction augurs well, Sriram added. According to Indian employees the top three reasons for stress at workplace include unclear or conflicting job expectations, inadequate staffing (lack of support, uneven workload in group) and lack of work/life balance.
One of the most common solution adopted by employers to manage employees' stress is offering flexible working hours as 50 per cent of employers resort to this solution.
Other top solutions adopted by employers include organise stress management interventions like workshops, yoga, tai chi and undertake education and awareness campaigns to help their employees manage stress.
Though Indian employers are ahead of their regional peers in managing stress at workplace, only 38 per cent have identified stress management at workplace as a top priority of their health and productivity programs, signaling a vast scope for improvement in this area.
In a challenging economic scenario, where companies are stretched to balance costs and maximise productivity, employers need to identify specific triggers that impact employee wellness, engagement and in turn productivity," Sriram said.