Workers in Asia Pacific are facing increased burnout due to lack of separation between work and personal life as well as worry of contracting COVID-19, according to Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index report.
On average, close to 1/3 of workers in Asia Pacific cited increased rates of burnout over the past six months, with the lack of separation between work duties and personal obligations as negatively impacting their wellbeing.
The survey involved over 6,000 information and first-line workers across eight countries globally including Australia, Japan, India and Singapore.
- The pandemic increased burnout at work – in some countries more than others.
- Causes of workplace stress differ for Firstline and remote workers.
- Six months in there are more communications and fewer boundaries.
- No commute may be hurting, not helping, remote worker productivity.
- Studies show meditation can fight burnout and stress during the workday.
The study also found that Singapore and India were the top two countries in the region with workers facing increased burnout, at 37% and 29% respectively.
In addition, close to 34% of Asia Pacific respondents cited worry about contracting COVID-19, due to the lack of tech or protective equipment provided by businesses to effectively socially distance, resulting in increased stress levels.
“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,” said Rosalind Quek, General Manager, Modern Workplace, Microsoft Asia.
Details of Findings
The pandemic increased burnout at work — in some countries more than others
In Asia Pacific, 29% of respondents cited that the pandemic has increased their sense of burnout at work. However, the research showed that everyone is experiencing this differently. For instance, 37% of workers in Singapore are experiencing higher rates of burnout than those in Australia, India and Japan.
Causes of workplace stress differ for firstline and remote workers
The report also revealed that the top stressor shared globally was worry about contracting COVID-19, followed by lack of separation between work and life, feeling disconnected from co-workers, and unmanageable workload or hours.
In Asia, the study found that over 34% of workers have not been provided the tech or protective equipment they need to effectively socially distance by their company, resulting to increased stress levels. This was higher than the global average by 4 percentage points. In addition, among the stressors reported by remote workers, the lack of separation between work and life and feeling disconnected from coworkers ranked highest.
Countries across Asia also had cited differing factors contributing to work stress. In Australia and Singapore, the lack of separation between work and life was the top stressor with 24% and 31% respectively, with the feeling of isolation coming closely behind at 22% and 28 %. However, in countries such as India and Japan, 42% and 26 % respectively cited the inability to socially distance and the worry about contracting COVID-19 while on the job as a top stressor.
Six months in there are more communications and fewer boundaries
Data showed that globally, even six months past the first work-from-home orders, people are in significantly more meetings, taking more ad hoc calls and managing more incoming chats than they did before the pandemic. As people adjusted to remote working, after hours chats, or chats between 5pm and midnight, have also increased.
Studies show meditation can fight burnout and stress during the workday
Of those surveyed in Asia, 73% said meditation could help decrease their work-related stress. External research backs this up — consistent meditation with Headspace can decrease stress and burnout and improve your ability to react to negative feedback.
By Editorial Team / October 1, 2020