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Delhi: 5-10% staff crunch following smog crisis

Persistent cough, burning eyes, itchy throat and respiratory/lung-related problems like asthma and bronchitis are the main reasons as to why many employees are not turning up for work.
Pix : Delhi smog

As the pollution levels stay at alarming degrees, the environmental crisis in the national capital has started affecting the health of employees, in turn affecting business.

It has been reported that a growing number of employees have been calling in sick, leading to a 5-10 per cent staff crunch across firms operating in the region. In a survey conducted by Assocham over the last one week, it was revealed that the persistent smog across Delhi-NCR has started taking a toll on employees’ health and is hampering their ability to do their duties efficiently.

It further went on to warn that the phenomenon is likely to hurt Brand India and impact the country’s tourism.

“Environment and air pollution related issues might hurt Brand India and hit sectors like tourism and outdoor recreation as people tend to stay away from polluted areas,” Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said in a report of Business Standard.

It had been reported that the social development arm of the industry chamber interacted with human resource professionals in about 150 companies operating in and around Delhi to evaluate the impact of air pollution.

It was concluded after talking to HR professionals, after most of the HR professionals said that they are facing a staff crunch ranging between 5 and 10 per cent with a growing number of employees calling in sick. Persistent cough, burning eyes, itchy throat and respiratory/lung-related problems like asthma and bronchitis are the main reasons as to why many employees are not turning up for work, reasoned several HR representatives.

Reportedly, many private firms are allowing their employees to work from home while recuperating from their illness, the survey noted. It added that particulate matter which can seep into buildings through windows and vents is the most harmful for office workers as it can enter the blood stream and central nervous system, affecting concentration and mental performance.

D S Rawat adviced that companies should offer employees flexible working hours to cope with the problem.

This comes in the wake of continuous high levels of pollution in Delhi-NCR since Diwali night. State government has started following the options viable to solve the crisis like sprinkling of water, stopping construction or destruction processes, etc. National Green Tribunal had also slammed Delhi government for blaming other states and not taking actions.

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