The corporate world is one of the biggest employers and financial movers of modern India. The financial power with which it enriches its employees many a times overpowers the health hazards it exposes them to.
“Silent death” or a number of unaccounted deaths among corporate sector employees is on an alarming rise. While multinational corporations are in a hurry to make good profits, its employees battle to keep their mind and body, healthy and productive.
5 common health problems faced by corporate employees are:
1. Eye and Eye-sight problems- Long hours before the computer induce irritation and dryness of eyes. This leads to itching, redness, tearfulness and soreness of eyes.
The constant stress on the eyes leads to decrease in vision. Common complaints of long lasting and persistent frontal headaches are mostly related to eye-sight problems.
2. Obesity- poor eating habits mainly indulgence in high calorie and high fat foods. Lack of exercise and sedentary life-styles has lead to dramatic increase in number of obesity cases among corporate employees. This has ensured fat incomes for all those working in weight loss industry, medical field related to heart disorders, blood pressure and heart attacks.
3. Lower back and neck pains- Poor sitting postures, and poor non-orthopedically designed office chairs increase the strain on lower back and neck. Over a period of time this leads to internal compression of nerves and muscles, manifesting as acute, throbbing and shooting pain predominantly in the lower back and neck regions. The Orthopedicians are jumping in glory with the rise in number of cases of spondylitis (increase in bone size of neck), sexual problems due to lower back disorders, vertebrae (back bone) disorders, sleep difficulties, needle pricking sensations and numbness feelings in the soles and legs.
4. Air conditioner induced problems – Air conditioning is a very integral part of every corporate office. Proper maintenance of Air conditioning and disinfection of rooms are many times neglected in offices. The low temperature, painted walls, carpeted flooring and external warm temperature provides excellent environment for all bacteria to grow and flourish. These bacteria affect majority of office air, leading to respiratory diseases (like asthma, difficulty in breathing), skin diseases (like acne, rashes) and allergic reactions.
5. Sleep disorders – Today’s work environment revolves around productivity and competition. To be efficient in duties, an employee requires to maintain high productivity level. This increases stress levels to alarming levels, as it requires longer hours of work (without extra payment), more efficiency in producing quality work in given deadlines and battling office politics. The major side effect of all this is sleep deprivation, increased time to fall asleep, increased preoccupation with office-related thoughts, fractured sleep due to constant ringing of cell phone or blackberry updates and decreased sense of freshness in the morning. This in turn takes a mental toll on an individual by subjecting him to chronic fatigue disorder, irritability, clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, high blood pressure and decreased immune system.
It’s the duty of a company to take care of its employees. Sadly in corporate India, every employee is by himself. The occupational therapy programs are quick fix capsules to please everyone in the heirchey rather than benefit the employee. Feed-back mechanisms to keep a tab on employee progress are totally focused towards his productivity and not even 20% consideration given to his health.
Large attrition rates, high number of holidays from work and lesser output in productivity can easily be tackled if the companies would develop a more humane angle to employee health than just ultimate productivity.
Dr.Hemant Mittal (MBBS, PGDPM)