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PHL workforce has best mental health in region — study


DESPITE suffering from job burnout, Filipino employees rate their mental health higher than their Singaporean and Indonesian counterparts, according to a July 2022 survey. 

Conducted by Singapore-based consumer research firm Milieu Insight and mental health platform Intellect, the study found that 78% of respondents in the Philippines rated their mental health to be “good,” “very good,” or “excellent,” compared to 68% of Indonesians and 57% of Singaporeans.  

Singaporeans, meanwhile, claimed the lowest levels of engagement, job satisfaction, and overall quality of life. More than half or 52% of Singaporeans reported having a poor quality of life, compared to 37% of Indonesians and 36% of Filipinos. 

The study also found that 52% of Filipinos tend to work beyond their job requirements, as compared to 38% of Singaporeans and 20% of Indonesians — but don’t spend “many more hours at work than their regional counterparts.”  

According to the study — which surveyed 3,000 employees across the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia — the top reasons employees push themselves are the desire to build a better life for themselves and their loved ones (58%), to achieve a sense of accomplishment (53%), and to earn more income (50%).  

“I think this poll sheds light on how opinions toward work have evolved, and how the effects of the pandemic and other global issues, such as inflation and a looming recession, may be weighing on the younger generations,” said Stephen Tracy, chief operating officer of Milieu Insight. “The data highlights just how important it is for employees to be mindful of their work-life balance, and for employers to cultivate positive and balanced working environments.”  

The 2022 study found that 16-to-24-year-olds across all three countries tend to be motivated by the “fear of not being able to do as well as my peers.” This was the case for 30% of Singaporeans, 20% of Filipinos, and 11% of Indonesians. This corroborates the study’s other results:   

Half (50%) of all the 3,000 employees surveyed have reported feeling burned out from work at least a few times a month, with 41% “often” or “always” feeling as though they cannot stop thinking about work.  
At least one-third of this total sample size work overtime at least once a week: 36% in the Philippines, 39% in Singapore, and 41% in Indonesia.  

Employees themselves try to see what they can do to be better, but chief executive officers and human resource managers also need to apply the concepts of self-care and positive psychology with their staff, according to Sally Mounir, a psychotherapist at Intellect.  

“The people I see are burnt out already,” she said in a Sept. 12 discussion by Milieu Insight. “They try to apply the skills we teach them, but, at the end of the day, how much can you apply if you’re overworked even on the weekend? … The reward is getting more work, so that’s a tough thing to deal with for the human being trying to help themselves.”  

Employees may be propagating the glorification of workaholism by tying their self-worth and identity to professional achievements, said Dr. Oliver Suendermann, clinical director of Intellect, in the same Sept. 13 press statement.  

“We encourage employers to normalize conversations about employee mental health. … An empowered workforce is more likely to realize their full potential at work and bring greater value to their team,” he said.  

The July 2022 study was based on Milieu Insight surveys with 3,000 employed respondents who work at least 35 hours a week from Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines (1,000 each). The margin of error is +/- 3% at a 95% confidence level. — Patricia B. Mirasol 

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