The working women in India are more likely to feel burnt out, underpaid, and stressed at the workplace than their peers worldwide, even as they adapt to the growing hybrid work culture, according to a Deloitte report released earlier this week.
Indian women are also considerably more likely than others to face micro-aggression from colleagues if they work in fully remote or hybrid set-ups. Regardless of the growth in hybrid work culture, which usually entails better adjustments in the professional working environment, the sense of burnout in a growing number of working women has impacted their mental health and is wearisome for them draining them of overall zeal and optimism towards their jobs, the report suggests.
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The survey carried out among 5,000 women across 10 countries, with 500 respondents from India, was conducted between November 2021 and February 2022.
"Despite the fact that many employers have implemented new ways of working designed to improve flexibility, our research shows that the new arrangements run the risk of excluding the very people who could most benefit from them, with the majority of the women we polled having experienced exclusion when working in a hybrid environment," says Emma Codd, Deloitte Global Inclusion Leader.
48 per cent of Indian women were moderately more likely than the global average of 46 per cent to say they felt burnt out. More women in the younger group (63 per cent), between the age group of 18-25, experienced this degree of burnout.
One of the main causes of burnout could be working longer hours as 69 per cent of women whose work schedules changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic were far more burnt out than others (18 per cent). Approximately 56 per cent of Indian women said their exertion levels had risen over the past year, compared with 53 per cent globally.
"As more organisations in Southeast Asia commit to a new way of working, some are fast developing policies and procedures to support both remote and on-site employees. It has become apparent that the modern workplace will be hybrid. A hybrid workplace reduces the opportunity for face to face interaction, which may result in the worsening of existing biases and creates barriers to success," says Seah Gek Choo, Deloitte Southeast Asia Talent Leader.
Owing to work-related stress, one in every two women pointed out that their mental health was either very poor or poor. This was akin to that of their global peers. One-third have taken a break from work because of mental health issues, and only 41 per cent are comfortable discussing these issues at work.
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The hybrid working culture was of not of much help to women in the workplace. A significant proportion of them (94 per cent), both in India and worldwide, believed that asking for flexible working hours would deprive them of any chance of promotion. Meanwhile, 90% believe their workloads won't be adjusted accordingly if they request flexible-working options, according to the report.
Additionally, women who have reduced or changed hours during the pandemic and those who work part-time are suffering significantly lower levels of mental wellbeing and motivation. Even though the proportion of women working in a hybrid set-up was lower, they were the most likely to have encountered micro-aggression at workplace.
Seven out of 10 (69 per cent) Indian women working in a hybrid environment said they experienced some form of micro-aggression at work - moderately more than the global figure, which is 66 per cent.
The top three micro-aggression encounters women employees had were being excluded from male-dominated activities, being interrupted in meetings, and having less informal links with colleagues due to the hybrid work set-up.
As compared to the rest of the world, women workers in India witnessed fewer events of non-inclusive conduct - micro-aggression or harassment - in 2022 than in 2021, even though the share is still high at 57 per cent.
But 24 per cent of women did not report such instances in India, as against 31 per cent globally.
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