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7 in 10 S’pore employees felt stressed by Covid-19 in the past 6 months: Survey

SINGAPORE — The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a significant toll on the mental health of workers here, with seven in 10 employees reporting that they felt stressed on some level in the past six months, a survey has found.

A survey by human resource software company Employment Hero found that the Covid-19 pandemic had taken a significant toll on the mental health of both employees and employers in Singapore.

A survey by human resource software company Employment Hero found that the Covid-19 pandemic had taken a significant toll on the mental health of both employees and employers in Singapore.

Singapore

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  • The survey was conducted in March by human resource software firm Employment Hero
  • It surveyed 1,000 respondents in Singapore
  • Among those who reported feeling stressed in the last six months, close to one-fifth said they had felt “very stressed”

 

SINGAPORE — The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a significant toll on the mental health of workers here, with seven in 10 employees reporting that they felt stressed on some level in the past six months, a survey has found.

It also found that more than 60 per cent of employers in Singapore reported feeling stressed on some level in the past six months over the impact of the pandemic.

The survey, which looked at how the pandemic has impacted business owners and employees across those five countries, was conducted by human resource software company Employment Hero.

It released its findings on Tuesday (April 20) after surveying a total of 1,000 respondents in Singapore — comprising 500 employees and 500 employers — in March this year.

In total, across the five countries, it surveyed 3,037 employees and 2,679 employers.

The findings from Singapore were the highest compared to those in four other countries.

  • In Australia, it was 57 per cent of the employees reporting that they felt stressed on some level in the past six months and 56 per cent of the employers who said the same.

  • In Malaysia, it was 61 per cent of employees and 54 per cent of employers

  • In New Zealand, 59 per cent of employees and 49 per cent of employers

  • In the United Kingdom, 62 per cent of employees and 60 per cent of employers

MENTAL HEALTH

Of the Singapore employees who said that they had felt stressed on some level in the past six months, close to one-fifth of the respondents indicated that they had felt “very stressed”.

Similarly, 13 per cent of the Singapore employers who reported feeling stressed on some level in the past six months said that they had felt “very stressed”.

These figures were also the highest proportion compared to respondents in the four other countries surveyed.

The next highest stress levels were seen among the Australian respondents, where 14 per cent of employees and 16 per cent of employers respectively had felt “very stressed”.

However, despite the high stress levels observed in Singapore, mental health remained a stigma in the workplace, with more than half of employees and employers surveyed agreeing that they were concerned about the stigma.

More than half of the Singapore employees surveyed also indicated that they were uncomfortable discussing mental health in the workplace.

Related to this, half of the business owners believed that workplaces should not bear the burden of their employees’ mental health problems.

This was even though the majority of the same business owners surveyed believed that their companies are supportive of their employees' mental health.

On the flipside, only 41 per cent of the Singapore employees agreed that their companies are supportive of their employees’ mental health.

This figure is the lowest among the five countries surveyed.

In response to TODAY’s queries, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said the findings of the survey “have to be interpreted with care” as the sampling methodology for the survey has not been provided, and so it is unclear if the findings are representative of the Singapore population.

“That said, we agree that mental health is an important issue and more should be done to better support employees’ mental wellbeing,” said MOM.

“This is especially so with the blurring of work life boundaries with work-from-home arrangements and greater job uncertainty as a result of the pandemic.”

The ministry added that over the past year, it has worked with tripartite partners to improve the issue, including releasing an advisory for mental wellbeing at the workplace last November.

In February, MOM also launched an online self-administered psychosocial health assessment tool, called iWorkHealth, to help companies and their employees identify common workplace stressors which affect mental wellbeing.

“By tapping on resources such as the tripartite advisory and iWorkHealth, employers and employees can each play their part in dispelling stigma around mental health and creating a supportive environment at the workplace,” said MOM.

“We will continue working with tripartite partners to enhance support for workers’ mental wellbeing.”

FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS

Respondents were asked what their employers can do better to ensure that workplaces remain safe.

Among the Singapore employees surveyed, about half wanted to see flexible working hours and remote working arrangements implemented respectively.

On the other hand, only 39 per cent of employers indicated that they were embracing flexible and remote working as the norm moving forward and have formalised these working arrangements in their workplaces.

This is compared to 50 per cent of employers in Malaysia who have embraced flexible and remote working arrangements as the norm.

The study had findings only from Malaysia and Singapore on flexible working arrangements.

In Singapore, the survey found that banks were 36 per cent less likely to have implemented flexible working arrangements, while consulting firms were 88 per cent more likely to have formalised these arrangements.

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