Work Stress & Answering Calls Or Emails Outside Office Hours Are Affecting Singapore Workers’ Mental Health

As today’s (31 Aug) Parliament sitting brings up many relevant discussions pertaining to the impacts of Covid-19, one in particular hits very close to home.

Addressing the topic of work stress, MP Melvin Yong raised the plight of Singapore workers who struggle to adapt to Work From Home (WFH) arrangements.

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More notably, he motioned for greater consideration for workers’ mental well-being.

Work stress also a form of workplace injury

In the Parliamentary debate today (31 Aug), MP Melvin Yong brought the issue of mental health to the forefront.

Highlighting how WFH has blurred the lines between the personal and professional space, he shared workers’ common concerns.

Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) in their 40s and 50s in particular are feeling the weight of the burden on their shoulders.

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Having to handle work responsibilities, finances, as well as their children and elderly parents from the confines of their homes can be very difficult. Mr Yong said,

With this overwhelming sandwiched feeling, many are unable to think beyond their daily struggles.

While high-risk jobs like construction work can benefit from technological advancements, mental health is a more delicate matter.

As such, Mr Yong voiced his hope for the Government to add mental health illnesses related to work stress to the list of occupational diseases under the Workplace Injury Compensation Act (WICA).

In doing so, workers seeking mental health support may be able to claim medical expenses.

Consider a right to disconnect legislation

As an extension to the topic, Mr Yong also brought up the right to disconnect law which France had implemented in 2017.

Allowing employers and staff to negotiate “answering work calls and emails outside office hours”, he proposed the same legislation in Singapore, to reduce employee fatigue and burnout.

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We’re sure workers who’ve had to deal with such calls before appreciate the suggestion.

Mr Yong closed off his speech with an appeal for more inclusive benefits for freelancers, such as protection under the Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSH).

Better welfare for workers after Covid-19

Surely, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been tough on everyone, not just financially, but mentally too.

We thus appreciate Mr Yong’s care for workers’ welfare especially amidst uncertain times.

Hopefully, the Government will take his suggestions into consideration and implement some changes for the sake of our well-being.

Featured image adapted from Forbes.