advertisement

Follow Mint Lounge

Latest Issue

Home > Health> Wellness > How overwork is impacting tech professionals’ health

How overwork is impacting tech professionals’ health

More than 40% of tech professionals experience health concerns due to their work, a new survey revealed

Over 50% of surveyed tech professionals in India reported that they are clocking an average of 52.5 hours every week, surpassing the national average.
Over 50% of surveyed tech professionals in India reported that they are clocking an average of 52.5 hours every week, surpassing the national average. (Pexels)

Trigger warning: mentions of suicide

For a hot minute, it seemed like the covid-19 pandemic had brought a renewed focus on work-life balance. However, without radical changes made to the capitalistic churning of labour, burnout leading to suicides remains a major concern worldwide.

Late last month, 25-year-old Saurabh Kumar Laddha who worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company’s Mumbai office, died by suicide, with police reporting that it was due to “work pressure.” The IIT graduate’s death pushed the conversations about toxic workplaces and unhealthy amounts of work back into focus. But without policy changes, these talks remain just that.

Also read: Book extract: Why we need to decouple work ethic and burnout

In light of recent suicides by work professionals, a new survey, Burying the Burnout, by Onsurity and the Knowledge Chamber of Commerce and Industry looked at the health changes faced by tech professionals in India. A major finding was that 43% of surveyed tech professionals experience health concerns due to their work. This is not surprising as 50% reported that they were clocking an average of 52.5 hours every week, surpassing the national average.

However, working over 50 hours per week is also less, if you take Infosys-founder, Narayana Murthy’s advice. Murthy recently proposed a 70-hour work week, which equates to 14 hours of work per day in a standard five-day work week. Much has been said about Murthy’s comments, especially that this has less to do with productivity and more with viewing labour as value. Such perspectives also completely disregard employees’ health.

Most often tech roles require employees to sit and work from one place, which further nudges them into a sedentary lifestyle that's now associated with several health concerns including increasing mortality risk.

The survey found that the main reasons for tech professionals working overtime include unrealistic timelines, last-minute changes, pressure from management, excessive meetings, and a company culture that values and rewards overwork.

An alarming 55% of surveyed tech professionals reported that working late hours has significantly impacted their health. Some of their concerns are acidity, gut problems, back and neck pain, erratic sleep cycles, muscle stiffness, eyesight-related issues, weight gain, and intense headaches.

Furthermore, about 45% of tech professionals said that the work pressure is also impacting their mental health. Their well-being is constantly taking a hit due to stress, anxiety, and depression. Demanding work schedules and high-pressure environment are also disrupting sleep—which can further increase the negative impact on health. The survey found that over 26% of tech professionals face exacerbated sleep patterns, with over 51% of them sleeping an average of 5.5 to six hours a day.

Lack of sleep, especially in the long term, has been linked to several health issues such as an elevated risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity. It can also impair cognitive function, memory, and decision-making abilities, which are important for tech professionals to perform their tasks at work.

For many work professionals, work-life balance remains unattainable, often becoming the cause of relationship issues and loss of friendships. The survey found that among the surveyed people working in the tech industry, 74% of them sacrifice family events due to work demands. 

Such events can be crucial for emotional fulfilment, which is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. When employees are forced to constantly prioritise work deadlines over personal events, it can lead to isolation, loneliness and burnout.

In recent times, the hustle culture mindset has been questioned but the continuing lack of work-life balance continues to put people's lives at risk. There is a pressing need to address the idea that work is life and that chronic exhaustion or stress is something people have to live with. 

Also read: I used a work stress calculator, and this is what happened

 

Next Story