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More than 1/3 of WFH and firstline workers in Singapore “face increased burnout”

The Independent logo The Independent 1/10/2020 Anna Maria Romero
a group of people standing in front of a building: Merlion © The Independent Singapore Merlion

Singapore — A new report from Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index shows that some Singaporean workers have been suffering from burnout lately because of a lack of separation between work and personal life.

Over a third of the Singaporean respondents in the study (37 per cent) report experiencing increased burnout rates in the last six months, saying that the failure to separate personal life and work has had a negative effect on their sense of well-being.

The rate of burnout among Singaporean workers is notably higher than in other parts of Asia, where the average number of respondents reporting work burnout is 29 per cent. Respondents from Australia, Japan and India have also reported lower rates of work burnout.

The study had more than 6,000 workers in eight countries — Singapore, Australia, Japan, India, Germany, the United States, Brazil and the United Kingdom.

Significantly, it showed that Singapore is the No 1 Asian country that has workers experiencing work burnout. The other concerns Singaporeans mentioned as a contributor to their levels of stress were worries about getting infected with Covid-19 (33 per cent), because of insufficient tech or protective equipment from their employers to implement effecting social distancing.

Ms Joanna Lim, the Modern Work and Security Business Group Lead for Microsoft Singapore, is quoted as saying: “In the last 6 months, we have seen how Covid-19 has contributed to the evolution of the workplace — from a physical space to one residing in a virtual world. As businesses adapt to a new way of working, it is important to examine the multifaceted impact these changes are having on employees and provide relevant and timely solutions.”

The report also showed that workers in different countries showed varying reactions to the increase in the workday span, which is “the time between a person’s first and last active use of Microsoft Teams, such as sending a chat, editing a document or attending a meeting”.

Here are the top takeaways from the study:

  1. “The pandemic increased burnout at work — in some countries more than others.
  2. Causes of workplace stress differ for firstline and remote workers.
  3. Six months in, there are more communications and fewer boundaries.
  4. No commute may be hurting, not helping, remote worker productivity.
  5. Studies show meditation can fight burnout and stress during the workday.”

The report showed that people working remotely are now attending more meetings, as well as taking more calls and managing more chats, than before the pandemic. Chats after working hours, or between 5 pm and midnight, have also increased.

The absence of the commute has prevented workers from drawing the line between work and personal life, hence the added stress. Microsoft is developing a new virtual commute experience designed to help people launch into a productive start at the beginning of their work day and then disconnect when working hours are over.

One other finding from the study is that 74 per cent of Singaporean respondents have said that meditation could aid with lessening stress related to work.

Microsoft has partnered with Headspace to give workers the opportunity to schedule time for mindfulness breaks to decrease stress and increase productivity. /TISG


The Independent
The Independent
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