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04 Mar 21 123 4 0

Work Stress can Take Lives - True Story & Lessons to be Learned

Cool Story - Work Stress can Take Lives - True Story & Lessons to be Learned

A true story from one of the CoolDeeds.com members.

 

My younger brother who was only in his mid-thirties died recently after having severe health issues which all started from constant work stress and pressure. He was father of 2 young kids and was the sole provider for his family. For the confidentiality, I will call him “Star” and the company he used to work with as “Company” below. A bright student and worker, engineer with electrical engineering degree and MBA from top universities, worked ruthlessly for *COMPANY* for many years. *COMPANY* was kind enough to assist him with his some medical procedures and we appreciate it so kindly be assured that the purpose of this letter is not to blame anyone but to bring a change for a better tomorrow. *Star*, a perfectly healthy individual with a bright smile, full hair, health and life joined an international firm’s local office located in a major city of a developing country.

 

Even though he was rewarded with promotions and raises at *COMPANY* but he was under extreme work stress to achieve company's goals for many years and to match the pace of others which involved working in extreme hours and conditions and to make sure to not go down or lose his job with an international company. He discussed with the family multiple times that he is under extreme work stress which is impacting his health. He mentioned that he is under extreme work stress conditions and it is almost impossible for him to change the culture at the *COMPANY* where he was working 60-70 hours a week during the day and then additional hours at night working from home which means that some weeks he does not get more than 2 or 3 days of proper sleep. Most employees were trying to work in extreme conditions and were trying to compete with each other for survival. My younger brother died in January this year with health issues which mainly initiated from anxiety, stress and extreme working. He knew that only top 1% lucky individuals get the opportunity to work in an international company and leaving the job would not be a good idea so he was pretty much helpless.

 

We have requested his *COMPANY* that his case should be fully reviewed by an independent and unbiased team to see what he went through in the last few years and what were the causes of extreme work conditions where he lost everything from his smile, hair, health, hope and even his life. The only purpose of this letter is to bring everyone’s attention to the stressful conditions through which thousands of other *Stars* are going through each day working at international firms in developing countries. Working for an international firm in a third world country is a prize and at the same time is a curse for young individuals as leaving the job is not an option so they go above and beyond a normal lifestyle to keep the job and sometime this situation is abused by the companies.

Fortunately the work laws are very stringent in developed countries and even though this problem does exist here as well but mainly it is heavily abused in third world countries and we want international firms working in third world countries to implement and adhere to the same work standards as are followed in developed countries. Here are some suggestions:

- Create social objectives including enhancing living standards and quality of life of community and most importantly employees and their families. These social objectives should be given equal importance and priorities just as achieving financial objectives. All funding, promotions and rewards should be based on social objectives (50%) and financial objectives (50%). Active and accountable importance should be given to the social objectives so these can never be just PR stunts or cosmetics only. These objectives should drill down to the lowest employees level and the entire team actively should work to achieve social objectives collectively.

- Measure and improve employees working conditions and ensuring that no employee is working more than 40 hours a week by creating such work culture and environment, ensuring proper vacation is being given to employees and employees are required to take those vacation days each year, employees are being paid overtime for working additional hours or some other perks as it is unfair for an employee to work 60 to 80 hours per week just because their title does not allow them for overtime and this is heavily abused by management to get 2 or sometime even 3 people work out of 1, any work from home and being on call at nights should be very well planned and organized to ensure employees are getting proper sleep and mandatory rotations are happening to minimize impact on few, employees are not working in hazardous conditions, employees are not being threatened to be fired on wrong grounds or by not matching the hours of others, create work equality and ensuring other fair working rules are strictly being followed. Any work requirements which need extreme conditions is being signed off by top level management and should be minimized or even prohibited.

- Head offices should create an anonymous feedback system where employees without having to identify can report any stressful working conditions. All feedback should be logged and reviewed by headquarter as well by the international HR and management. Internal whistle-blower acts should be introduced.

- Yearly physical and psychological examination of each employee by a qualified doctor should be made mandatory where all employee's records should be kept confidential between doctor and the employee where either doctor or the employee anonymously and without disclosing the employee information can report or escalate any hazardous working conditions to top management.

- Companies should provide training to all employees about the impact of stress on employees health and provide at least one counselor per each office who is always available to assist employees to alleviate employees' stress and assist them in dealing with work stress and assist with other stressful situations even outside work. 

- A practical, gradual, smooth and un-punishing way to transition employees who physically or emotionally are unable or unwilling to do a certain job to other areas of the company which are less stressful. For example, if an employee has identified that employee has a certain medical condition, he/she without having the fear of losing the job should be able to openly work with HR to transition to other areas.

- Work with local governments to introduce and implement "Work Stress Law" so these points become standard for all major companies both domestically as well as internationally to create a fair working environment for all the companies.

Some of the points as mentioned above are available in the HR books only but practically they are never in effect and the moment an employee shares anything, he/she becomes the weakest link of the group and thus no one ever uses the above. Making sure that all the points are not just cosmetic only to give satisfaction to higher ups that we have done our part by making it part of the syllabus but by creating an accountable system where it can be ensured that all the above is being followed in its true essence. “Star” is gone for something which could have been avoided and his kids are going to miss their dad forever but we hope that the above if implemented in its true spirit will save many others in future

 


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