More employees feel the need to be ‘always on’ at work

More employees in Singapore also find themselves working more after work hours and on weekends, according to the latest survey.
By: | May 29, 2020

While most Singaporeans (nine in 10) are in favour of continuing their work-from-home arrangements, more employees feel that they need to be ‘always on’ at work, leading to more work-related stress.

Since the implementation of the ‘circuit breaker’ measures in the city-state on April 7, all non-essential workers had to work from home as physical offices were shut to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

While working from home has had a number of benefits, such as more streamlined communications with colleagues, the downside is that more people now feel that they need to be ‘always on’ at work – 78% in April, compared to 72% in January, according to the Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study.

This rise in ‘always on’ work culture during COVID-19 has had a direct impact on work-related stress, with 63% saying they felt stressed at work, compared to 58% in January.

And while overall personal stress levels in Singapore dropped from 78% in January to 76% in April, helped in part by a decrease in family and financial stress, there was a sharp increase in those saying they saw work as a source of stress – from 24% in January to 34% in April.

Employees also say they are working more before and after traditional work hours, and even during vacation time, the impact is most serious at the weekends, with 59% saying they are working at weekends, compared to 47% in January.

“It is encouraging to see that family and other relationships have improved during the pandemic, which could be the result of people spending more quality time together, whether virtually or in person. What is of particular interest is how this coincides with a reduction in family-related stress and a decline in feelings of isolation,” said April Chang, CEO and Country Manager, Cigna Singapore.