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Singaporeans are among the most stressed at work, globally

Singaporeans are among the most stressed at work, globally, the 2019 Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey – Well and Beyond has revealed.

In fact, of the five indices used to examine perceptions of well-being – family, financial, physical, work and social, work is a leading cause of rising stress levels in the country. Financial concerns and health concerns follow as the second and third respectively.

More importantly, the ‘always on’ corporate culture that is prevalent in Singapore is another contributor of stress, particularly among women – 71% feel they work in such a culture, as compared to 66% of men.

On this, April Chang, Chief Executive Officer, Cigna Singapore, said: “A busy work life, combined with an ‘always on’ culture, is impacting the physical and social well-being of Singaporeans.

“The stigma of seeking help for mental well-being may also prevent many from pursuing professional help.”

While women are found to be slightly less stressed than men, those that do suffer from stress find it more unmanageable, which thus leads them to neglect their physical health more than men.

In fact, according to the survey, 54% of women feel physically healthy compared to 56% of men, who are more likely to sleep better and longer, engage in exercise and eat a proper diet.

While the top stress factors for single, married and working mothers vary, personal finance, too much work and personal health were common sources of their stress, thus suggesting women put their families first and themselves last.

To address this, flexible work arrangements, special paid leaves and opportunities to work from home were on their wish lists – with flexible work hours being the top desire amongst single, married or working mothers.

Additionally, 59% of women surveyed feel workplace wellness programmes need to better address the needs of each gender, with more than half feeling that senior management do not support such programmes enough.

ALSO READ: Mental wellness at the workplace: It goes beyond the occasional day-off

Staff see a lack of employer support, are unhappy in the workplace

In line with the above, just 33% of respondents said they have a formal workplace wellness programme, with only half of them participating. Further, 44% feel these programmes do not focus enough on mental well-being.

How can employers then better cater to their employees’ well-being? Chang suggests: “Employers can re-assess their workplace wellness programs to encourage more participation and answer specific needs.

“A shift in company culture, from encouraging wellness conversation to specifically tailored programs, is vital for the health of any business.”

On the other hand, of the total Singapore respondents across genders who work, 92% are stressed, higher than the global average (84%). Of these who are stressed, 13% (one in eight) find their stress unmanageable, on par with the global average.

That said, not many employees are aware of the stress their co-workers are experiencing – in fact, just 55% have noticed, and the survey found that of the respondents who have seen their colleagues stressed at work, 30% feel more conscious about managing their own stress.

Singaporeans feel less prepared for old age

Aside from work-related stress, Singaporeans have also revealed they feel less prepared for old age – be it financially, mentally or physically.

In fact, only 31% are financially ready for it, as compared to the global average of 38%. Further, 53% feel ready to be active and healthy in their old age (global: 58%) and just 57% feel mentally ready, versus 63% globally.

Of these respondents, two-thirds (67%) see themselves working at an older age to stay physically and mentally active, keep busy, as well as stay financially viable, the report showed.

However, while 68% of them are willing to work with older people, only 32% think companies are willing to hire them.

The global snapshot

Overall, in the global landscape, Singapore’s total wellness index dropped 1.7 points to 57.8 as compared to 2018, making the country the fifth lowest globally, with the global average at 62.0. This places Singapore ahead of Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Turkey.

The following infographic revealed the key statistics across countries:

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Lead photo / istock
Infographic / provided

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