Poor health among M’sians due to work stress, says survey

employee-health-mental-malaysia-1PETALING JAYA: The work environment in the country has contributed to poorer health among Malaysians which in turn has led to lower productivity, according to a workplace survey by an insurance giant.

The study revealed that Malaysian employees were overworked, stressed, led unhealthy lifestyles, and as a result, were at high risk of health problems and loss of productivity.

The “Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality Survey 2017”, which surveyed a total of 5,369 employees from 47 organisations, also revealed that more than half of employees surveyed were found to be at risk of mental health issues.

“Some 53% of Malaysian employees reported at least one dimension of work-related stress, while 12% experienced high levels of anxiety or depression.

“High work stress and a sedentary lifestyle had also contributed to 84% of employees reporting at least one type of musculoskeletal disorder,” the report said.

A musculoskeletal disorder refers to injuries or pain in the human musculoskeletal system, which includes the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and structures that support the limbs, neck and back.

As a result, the survey said a direct link could be found between poor employee health and well-being, and a major loss in organisation productivity.

This comes at a cost too, as the average annual cost incurred per organisation due to health-related absenteeism and “presenteeism” was estimated at RM2.7 million.

“Presenteeism” is when an employee is physically present for work despite being sick or not being productive.

The survey on the Malaysian workplace was part of a wider study which included three other countries – Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia – and which covered 214 organisations and 10,001 employees in total.

Malaysians were found to work an average of 15 hours more than their contracted hours each week, the highest rate compared with the other three countries.

However, the extra hours did not contribute to greater productivity as the survey showed Malaysian employees showed one of the highest percentage of productivity loss.

Malaysians were also reported to have the highest percentage among employees who slept less than seven hours a night at 56%, and the highest percentage of physical inactivity with 64% doing less than 150 minutes of physical activity a week.