Stress, Related Problems on Rise in India's Outsourcing Industry

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I blogged back in September about the rise of Western-style ills like stress, depression and heart disease among workers in India's outsourcing industry.


The problem is an increasingly serious one, reports the Washington Post. The Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations is projecting a possible 20-fold increase in lost productivity due to health issues such as heart disease and diabetes over the next decade if the country doesn't take some kind of corrective action.


India's health minister is pushing for a special health policy for employees in the IT industry, mostly men and women in their 20s and 30s who work long hours performing tedious and sometimes stressful tasks such as writing software code or answering customer service calls.


A counseling company called 1 to 1 Help, formed to help employees deal with stress at work, has added seven new companies to its client roster in the past two months, including IBM, HP and Mindtree Consulting. Outsourcing giant Infosys Technologies offers counseling via a 24-hour help line.


IDC surveyed more than 1,700 employees at 19 outsourcing companies and found that 32 percent suffered from sleep disorders, 25 percent experienced digestive troubles and 20 percent reported issues with their eyesight.


While these work-related problems are also common among IT professionals in the U.S., they are potentially far more serious in India, where the World Health Organization says that heart disease will account for 35 percent of deaths among working-age residents from 2000 to 2030. In contrast, that number is 12 percent in the U.S., 22 percent in China and 25 percent in Russia.