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One third of remote workers said the lack of separation between work and life is negatively impacting their wellbeing, according to Microsoft's latest Work Trend Index report

“Commutes provide blocks of uninterrupted time for mentally transitioning to and from work, an important aspect of wellbeing and productivity. People will say, ‘I’m happy I don’t have to commute anymore. I’m saving time.’ But without a routine for ramping up for work and then winding down, we’re emotionally exhausted at the end of the day,” said Shamsi Iqbal, principal researcher, Microsoft Research.

In Asia Pacific, 29% of respondents said the pandemic has increased their sense of burnout at work. 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 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.

Data showed that globally, even six months after 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.

To fight burnout and stress, of those surveyed in Asia, 73% said meditation could help decrease their work-related stress.