SINGAPORE: A recent report by the ADP Research Institute has revealed that stress levels among workers in Singapore remain alarmingly high, with 68 per cent experiencing stress on a weekly basis, slightly surpassing the Asia Pacific average of 61 per cent.

The People at Work 2023 report highlighted the concerning fact that 12 per cent of Singaporean workers grapple with daily stress, signaling a pervasive challenge in the workplace.

The study, encompassing insights from over 32,000 workers across 17 countries, underscored the profound impact of stress on performance, with 67 per cent of workers reporting a negative influence. Particularly, the Media/Information industry faces an even more significant challenge, with stress affecting a staggering 84 per cent of workers’ performance.

Despite the persistently high stress levels, the report exposed a concerning trend – a diminishing level of support for mental health from employers.

In 2023, only 51 per cent of workers felt that their employers adequately support their mental well-being, a decline from 57 per cent in the previous year. This is compounded by a drop in peer support, with only 54 per cent of workers feeling supported by colleagues, down from 61% in 2022.

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Yvonne Teo, ADP Asia Pacific’s Vice President of Human Resources, pointed out that this decline in employer support is occurring as businesses shift their focus post-pandemic. Despite the growing acknowledgment of the importance of mental health, there seems to be a disconnect in implementation.

The report also revealed that nearly half (48 per cent) of workers believe their managers or colleagues are ill-equipped to engage in non-judgmental mental health discussions. Globally, 65 per cent of workers reported that stress negatively impacts their performance.

Ms Teo emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to mental health support. She said “Offering employee assistance programs could suggest that employers are rationalizing or formalizing their wellbeing support arrangements.

“However, companies also need to embed support into day-to-day working practices and create an environment where staff feel supported and comfortable expressing their concerns.”

Interestingly, while traditional initiatives like well-being days, counseling services, and stress management breaks witnessed a decline, the adoption of team-building activities and employee assistance programs is on the rise as employers seek alternative ways to address mental health concerns.

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Highlighting the crucial role of managers in fostering a supportive environment, Ms Teo said, “Managers who play a big role in ensuring the success of this ecosystem must have open communication and regular check-ins with their staff. It is therefore important to educate and train managers to recognize signs of stress and take prompt action such as offering support resources or referring staff to other support programs or structures.”

As workplaces evolve, addressing the mental health challenges of employees emerges as a paramount concern for businesses aiming to sustain a productive and healthy workforce.