Workload is high reason behind poor psychological well-being for workers throughout Asia, Mercer’s Wholesome Minds at Work Evaluation finds. – Well being and Life-style
8 out of 10 employees state that they have worked overtime more than three times a week.
Asia, October 12, 2020 – In all functions and countries in Asia, high work demands have emerged as the main driver of stress in the workplace. Nine in ten respondents said their job required high mental focus and multitasking, while six in ten reported a lack of control over the pace and order of work to be done. Only 41% said they could take breaks if necessary.
These are the first results of Mercer’s assessment of healthy minds at work carried out between July and September this year to support companies in assessing and treating mental wellbeing in the workplace. The survey is the first of its kind in Asia to provide companies with insights into their progress on four key workplace dimensions: “Leadership and Management Support”. “Culture and Social Interactions”; “Job Requirements and Career Development”; and “well-being” – of mental health risks.
The Asian survey, which was attended by 2,500 employees from nine industries (aerospace, consumer goods, chemicals, finance, healthcare, logistics and supply chain, consulting and industrial automation) also found that high work demands lead to a poor work-life balance have led . 83% of employees work overtime more than three times a week. Over 70% state that they work on rest days or outside of regular working hours. The effects are greater for those in higher positions.
Workload and job demands are critical areas that employers in Asia must address in order to improve the mental wellbeing of their employees. “The responsibility for creating a positive work environment that supports the general emotional wellbeing of employees rests with employers. Organizations increasingly need to help their employees achieve a healthy work-life balance by implementing the right policies that bring mental health and safety to levels on par with physical health and safety. Managers also need to be trained to spot the early warning signs of employees who need assistance, ”said Dr. Wolfgang Seidl, partner and psychiatrist at Mercer Health & Benefits.
The survey also found that since the pandemic began, more employees in Asia have reported high levels of stress. While only a handful of employees (7%) reported high pressure before the outbreak of the pandemic, the percentage has now tripled.1 In certain population groups and functions, a significant increase in stress levels was also observed. The percentage of executives and salespeople who reported experiencing high levels of stress increased from 9% to 33% and 37%, respectively. Divorced respondents saw similar increases in stress levels from 7% to 39%.
With World Mental Health Day on October 10th highlighting the theme of ‘More Investment and Greater Access’, it is a timely reminder for companies to look carefully at what they are doing to ensure the well-being of their employees, especially those in at risk Groups.
“There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing the mental health of employees in Asia and the urgency for companies to prioritize employee mental health has never been greater,” said Liana Attard, partner, segment leader for multinational customers at Mercer in Asia.
“Inaction is not an option. We know that improved employee mental health in all industries benefits employers and their companies, and has a positive impact on individual productivity, talent retention and business performance. The challenge is to bridge the gap between awareness of mental wellbeing in the workplace and taking action, including providing adequate access to care. “
Employers get along well with support and communication
Despite the increased stress level, the employees feel well supported across the board by their managers and teams. Six in ten respondents said they always get clear communication (67%) and support from their managers. Support includes helping solve problems (66%) or directing them to others who can help (61%). The respondents also appreciate being heard. 61% say that their individual opinions and views are always taken into account.
Creating an inclusive work environment and culture is another area where employers keep their thumbs up. 74% said they can always trust their employees, while 78% said their work culture makes it easier to work together. 77% of people find work to be a safe place, 76% share the view that manipulation at work is rare. 73% also said that their successes in the workplace are always due to them. While employers have generally done well in the dimensions of “executive support and management” and “culture and social interactions”, there is still room for improvement in some aspects. An average of 42% of respondents find it difficult to lead their team, especially when it comes to avoiding escalating work problems or getting the team to perform. Equally worrying is that 61% of respondents say they have received constant criticism at work. This is especially true for first-line employees who deal directly with customers or the public, as well as for middle-management employees.
Renee McGowan, Mercer CEO Asia, said: “The numbers paint a troubling picture of the impact of work demands and the pandemic on the mental health of workers in Asia, but they also offer opportunities for employers to step up their support efforts. Start by listening to employees through surveys like this one and responding to their concerns with flexibility and empathy.
“The findings from this survey provide valuable indicators and clear action steps to identify new possibilities for mental well-being in the workplace, but also remind us that support measures should not be uniform in view of the individual personal circumstances of employees. Mercer values partnerships with companies across Asia. Working with them to support the mental wellbeing of their employees with the right knowledge, resources and initiatives. “
Notes for editors
These are the first results of the Healthy Minds at Work Assessment, which was conducted in companies across Asia from July to September this year. The survey included Singapore, Hong Kong, mainland China, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan.
A full report with market specific results will be released in November 2020. The full report includes information on wellbeing and risk assessments. Main driver of stress at work; Which employers are doing it right? Workers ‘expectations and actions for employers, as well as the potential cost of employers’ inaction. More information on Mercer’s Healthy Minds at Work Assessment can be found here.
Mercer believes in building a brighter future by redefining the world of work, reshaping the outcomes of retirement and investment, and unlocking real health and wellbeing. Mercer’s more than 25,000 employees work in 44 countries and the company operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a Marsh & McLennan (NYSE: MMC) company, the global leader in professional risk, strategy, and people services, with 76,000 colleagues and $ 17 billion in annual sales. With its market-leading companies such as Marsh, Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh & McLennan supports customers in navigating an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. More information is available at www.mercer.com. Follow Mercer on Twitter @Mercer.