Stress virus has Pune techie pros logging out

Pune’s status as an IT hub is being questioned over the inability to help techies handle pressure

pune Updated: Jul 19, 2017 12:50 IST
Jui Dharwadkar
Jui Dharwadkar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Psychologists from the city have stated that job security and the constant need to prove oneself remains a major cause of stress and rising depression amongst professionals(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A recent incident, during which a techie committed suicide allegedly due to growing fears of lack of job security, has highlighted the rising stress and pressures prevalent in the Information Technology (IT) sector.

Psychologists from the city have stated that job security and the constant need to prove oneself remains a major cause of stress and rising depression amongst professionals.Many working in this sector have stated that today, stress has become an integral part of this profession with many failing to handle it in the right way. This is disturbing the mental and physical well-being of IT employees.

Pune, which is recognised as an IT hub, is now seeing a rising number of people dealing with some sort of occupational stress which can lead to other chronic problems like depression.

A study by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India conducted in 2015 has reported that nearly 42.5 % of employees in private sectors are afflicted by depression or general anxiety disorder.

Industrial psychologist Vrushali Raut, who was recently awarded a PhD for her thesis on ‘Subjective Well-being, Emotional Competence and Occupational Stress among IT professionals’, has studied the problem of stress among working professionals, especially those in the IT sector.

Sharing her findings she said, “The IT field has been attracting young talent with lucrative pay, global lifestyle and a chance to move towards a multidimensional culture. With rising stress many people working in this sector report a sudden gain in weight, thyroid problems, hormonal imbalance and PCOS/D among other things. All these factors are, to a great extent, sabotaging the well-being of an IT professional and need to be addressed.”

Raut, who surveyed 300 IT professionals, said that even after having flexible working hours, facilities like gym, healthy food and provision for transport, most employees reported problems related to occupational stress.

“The normal problems which were experienced by most IT professionals included frequent headaches, muscle pain, chest pain, fatigue, stomach problems and sleep-related problems. Apart from these, many were also seen suffering from anxiety, restlessness, lack of concentration, irritability or anger and sadness and depression,” she added.

Raut said that IT being a technologically driven sector, the demand for learning newer technologies is high. But, a sedentary lifestyle, bad eating habits and lack of physical activity is hampering the mental and physical health of employees in this sector. This is leading to a work-life imbalance resulting in various physical and mental health problems, including depression, suicidal tendencies and relationship problems.

When contacted, a few IT professional from the city admitted that they do face problems maintaining a balance between work and home. Many stated that they suffer from irritability making them angry very soon while a few said that growing professional stress has increased their consumption of alcohol.

The study undertaken by Raut for her thesis also pointed out that females remain the worst affected in the IT sector with many showing lowest levels of confidence and fearing job loss, Most also have to face the lowest level of family support, which is adds to their woes.

Raut believes that a more disciplined lifestyle with proper exercise and diet, sleep schedule, a timely vacation, help from a professional counselor and adopting constructive ways to deal with stress can help a person survive better in the professional world.

City based fitness consultant , Praneel Jadhav too shared similar views.He said, “A lot of people come to me with issues like obesity, lack of concentration, lack of stamina among other things. I have noticed that stress remains a big problem and many are unable to deal with it. This affects their work-related productivity and many issues like body pain, lack of concentration and irritability start developing. I also consult a few corporate companies and advise employees to take up physical training as a way to deal with stress. A fit body is more likely to endure stress effectively.”

Feeling Blue

Understanding the growing problem of stress and depression in the IT sector, Vivek Kitekar who himself is an IT professional, has decided to create awareness about this issue. He believes that awareness can help people take the right steps at the right time. Kitekar who has been actively participating in various social activities to help the underprivileged said that he has been in touch with many IT professionals from various companies through his social initiatives.

“My interaction with IT employees made me realise that rising work pressures are taking its toll on many. Also solitary lifestyle is a big problem amongst the working IT professionals. This could translate into depression which can affect the productivity of a person at work. This also creates imbalance in the professional and private life hampering the well being of a person,” he added.

To create awareness about this issue, Kitekar is currently making a three minute documentary titled ‘Feeling Blue.’ The movie will soon be released online.

First Published: Jul 19, 2017 12:49 IST