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 one third 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.
Surveying over 6,000 information and first-line workers across eight countries globally including Australia, Japan, India and Singapore, the study found that Singapore and India were the top two countries in the region with workers facing increased burnout, at 37 percent and 29 percent respectively. In addition, close to 34 percent 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.
Key Findings from the research include:
The pandemic increased burnout at work -- in some countries more than others
29 percent of respondents cited that the pandemic has increased their sense of burnout at work. However, Microsoft's research showed that everyone is experiencing this differently. For instance, Microsoft found that 37 percent 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 percent 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.
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.
No commute may be hurting, not helping, remote worker productivity
The new virtual commute experience in Teams will help workers have a productive start in the morning and mindfully disconnect in the evening. Users can expect to customize their experiences from a set of suggested tasks such as meditation with the Headspace app, reflecting on the day or helping workers close out on outstanding tasks.
Studies show meditation can fight burnout and stress during the workday
Of those surveyed in Asia, 73 percent 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.