When the pandemic first hit, people everywhere were being uncomfortably and unwillingly shut in the confines of their houses, and it took a long time to get used to the concept of staying in and working from home. As months passed and this arrangement looked as though it were here to stay for a long time, workplaces were compelled to turn to technology in ways that would take the place of real-life human interaction as much as possible.
And all of a sudden, activity on Zoom, Microsoft teams, Skype, and several other video-calling and communication platforms spiked to compensate for the inability to meet and work together. Officegoers now had the option to simply roll out of bed 15 minutes before they had to attend for a meeting, or now use that time to actually get cracking on the exercise schedule they previously never had the time for.
Over time, people actually started liking the comfort of the situation and were getting settled into this new way of life. But of course, the circuit-breaker phase had to end sometime. So, offices resumed operations and employees now had to head back to work, albeit not all on a daily basis.
All this makes it sound as though Singaporeans are very good at accepting and going with the flow, but is it all really as seamless as it seems? Mental health, for one – or the lack of it – has taken a toll on the employed during these evidently-long months of working from home.
According to a survey done by National University Health System’s (NUHS) Mind Science Centre, 61 percent of the employed population working from home are experiencing stress due to it, with over half of the same group saying they feel stressed at home itself. These figures are greater in comparison to the front-liners of the pandemic situation, who report only 53 percent and 32 percent of stress-experiences at work and home respectively.
In addition to that, the same survey tells us that a greater proportion of the females are experiencing these negative mental health effects as compared to their male counterparts. 61.3 percent as compared to less than 50 percent are feeling stressed about work while the numbers talking about stress at home are 50.2 percent versus 45.5.
Gender aside, the different age groups are affected differently as well. A second survey conducted by NUHS reveals to us to the younger generation feels less mentally resilient. To sum it up, half of the respondents aged above 45 felt more adept at being able to handle emotions such as sadness and anxiety compared to 40 percent of the younger ones. Half of the latter often found themselves having morbid thoughts and fears regarding their loved ones’ and own well-beings.
These percentages might perhaps mean more to you if I tell you that they were derived from a total of almost 3,300 participants for both surveys combined. If these results are indicative of a mere fraction of our community, I personally cannot even begin to imagine the nationwide mental impact that Covid-19 has had on us.
All this information and figures can be found in the Straits Times article I referenced above. However, I believe that repetition is reinforcement, and the fact of the situation has to be made known to the readers through these stark, rigid numbers.
Shreyaa Kanneboina, PR & Marketing Executive