As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to gain scale across the country, job uncertainty, social isolation, and constant fear of contracting the disease are taking a toll on the emotional well-being of India’s working professionals. According to a report released by LinkedIn, the world’s largest online professional network, two in five professionals are experiencing increased stress or anxiety due to the pandemic.

The report—which is based on the online survey responses of 16,199 professionals over the past six months and is part of the LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index—points out that the pandemic resulted in more than half of the Indian workforce taking to remote working and this change has only contributed to stress and anxiety of the professionals.

“The ongoing stress around the 3 Rs—Remote work, Return to work, and Risk of exposure—are adversely impacting the mental health of Indian professionals. Companies in India are beginning to bolster their mental health programmes to support their employees in such times,” says Ashutosh Gupta, India country manager, LinkedIn.

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the job security of professionals. According to a September report released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) an estimated 6.6 million white collar professional jobs were lost between May and August this year. The lost jobs include teachers, software engineers, accountants, analysts, and others working with private or government organisations.

The LinkedIn survey finds that as industries attempt to bounce back, close to 40% of Indian professionals are experiencing financial instability, signalling towards high levels of financial stress and uncertainty prevalent amongst India’s workforce.

The LinkedIn report, which is part of the company’s Workforce Confidence Index, also argues that while 60% of Indian professionals had felt lonely at some point while working remotely, 37% continue to do so. More than one in three also believe that working remotely is slowing down their career progression (41%), making them feel more lonely (37%), and harming their work-life balance (36%).

According to the LinkedIn data, employees seek strong well-being support from their organisations . But there exists a chasm between what the employees desire and what their workplaces offer. According to the Microsoft-owned company’s data, only one in four (23%) Indian professionals were being given emotional well-being initiatives and flexible work hours by their employers in the early months of the lockdown.

Furthermore, findings by the online professional network show that only one in five (21%) professionals were getting more time off through paid or unpaid leaves, while 42% think their companies would stop giving them these leaves after the pandemic.

The LinkedIn report points out that the pandemic has taken a toll on working parents, especially working mothers, as findings show that around one in three working mothers in India are currently providing childcare full time (28%), and working outside their business hours to provide childcare (33%).

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