With the lockdowns, most Indian employees have had the longest working hours compared to their global peers. Current estimates show that Indian employees are now averaging nearly 60-72 hour work weeks while working from home. In addition, dealing with the stresses and pressures of their job has had enormous negative impacts upon their health.
Even pre-covid-19, the WHO reported a tenfold increase in the incidence of diabetes, from 1.2% of Indians in 1971 to 12.1% in 2000. A 2018 Optum Health Risk Assessment survey with 800,000 respondents from over 70 Indian employers found that over half of professionals suffer from high stress.
Pre-covid forecasts had estimated that the GDP Burden of Chronic diseases in India would $ 4.28 Trillion by 2030. In addition $153 Billion Per Year were the total annual costs arising from absenteeism due to chronic health conditions. These numbers have only changed for the worse in today’s scenario.
The WEF/Harvard study mentions that 42% of Indian business leaders have serious concerns about the impact of chronic illnesses on revenue, profitability and productivity.
The lack of employees’ physical activity (62%) and stress (55%) are the top lifestyle risk factors identified by employers in India, according to the India Health and Wellbeing Study by Willis Towers Watson. The other top concerns were obesity (43%), followed by poor financial wellbeing (27%) and tobacco use(25%).
To add to this, now there is a perennial scare of ‘death by a virus’. What data has shown us is that lifestyle diseases, specifically diabetes, heart disease, hypertension are major risk factors for developing severe symptoms of COVID-19 and for increased mortality.
Even before this scare, lifestyle disease had become the world’s biggest killers, leading to 71 percent of all deaths in 2018. Sixty-three percent of all deaths in India are attributed to lifestyle diseases, with 23 percent at risk of premature deaths.
Our country is estimated to have over 8 crore hypertension patients, and around 7.29 crore diabetes cases among adults.
We now know that people who have underlying medical conditions including heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension face higher odds of getting really sick or dying because they make our immune systems grow weaker, which makes it more challenging to fight off infectious diseases.
The risk for positive COVID-19 diagnosis is higher in people with weak immune defenses. Adding to the burden can be emotional stress, lack of sleep and physical exhaustion, which can further make one prone to diseases by weakening immunity.
For a typical senior corporate employee there always are never ending deadlines with a mounting pressure to increase productivity along with the high stress of adapting to a remote working environment leads him/her to make some really detrimental choices which includes consuming multiple cups of tea and coffee, eating poor quality food and smoking just to get through the day. Does this sound familiar?
Since work is so arduous, you often feel like you’ve earned the right to indulge, because sometimes dinner is the only good part of your day, you might ‘treat’ yourself to unhealthy stuff. Which will eventually lead to elevated blood cholesterol, high homocysteine, fatty liver, high blood pressure, and this in turn reduces your work related productivity even further.
Chronic diseases often advance silently and without warning plus most people are unaware of their poor state of health because they make up for lack of energy, fatigue etc with stimulants such as tea/ coffee and cigarettes.
The reality of health-related productivity loss cannot be dismissed. What are your hidden chronic health problems costing you and your organization?
Reach out to us to find out how you and iThrive can partner towards creating a healthier, vibrant, energetic (minus stimulants) working day!
Who knows how profitable that might turn out to be for you?