A survey reveals that Malaysian employees are overworked, and sleep deprived. - AFP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: A survey has found that Malaysian employees are overworked, and sleep deprived, with 51 per cent suffering from at least one dimension of work-related stress as well as 53 per cent getting less than seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.

The revelations by Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality 2019 survey also revealed that mental health problems continue to be on the rise with 22 per cent of employees reporting that they had a lot of financial concerns at present.

Additionally, 20 per cent of employees surveyed said they continued to be affected by workplace bullying which overall contribute to their stress at work.

Long hours at the office hunching over computers had also contributed to the culture of overworking, manifesting in clinical health conditions and sleep deprivation, the survey said.

It also highlighted that 84 per cent of employees reported they were suffering from at least one or more musculoskeletal conditions.


AIA Bhd CEO, Ben Ng (centre) with recipients of awards during the “Malaysia Healthiest Workplace Summit 2019” in Kuala Lumpur. -NSTP/Mohd Khairul Helmy Mohd Din

“More than half of the respondents in the survey indicated that they had less than seven hours of sleep every day with 14 per cent noting that they had poor or very poor-quality sleep, while 17 per cent of employees reported that they felt tired and fatigued every single day and yet 20 per cent of them cannot decide when to take a break.

“In addition to long working hours, increased after-hours work connectivity and work-related stress are also factors associated with sleep problems, which could lead to the increasing probability of developing severe mental health conditions among employees,” said the survey.

Other key findings of the survey include:

• Organisations lose a total of 73.3 days per employee due to absence and presenteeism (being at work when unwell), costing each employer RM1.46 million per year

• 16 per cent of employees have low or very low levels of engagement at work

• 32 per cent of employees have one or more chronic conditions (kidney conditions, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke or cancer)

• 90 per cent of employees do not eat a balanced diet

• 42 per cent of employees are either overweight or obese

• 45 per cent of organisations do not offer any mental health interventions

The survey involved 230 organisations, representing a combined workforce of 17,595 employees.


Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye (left) receives a souvenir from AIA Bhd CEO Ben Ng. -NSTP/Mohd Khairul Helmy Mohd Din

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye, who was present at the Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace Summit 2019 today where the survey was revealed, said the responsibility of driving Malaysia towards a nation of healthy individuals continues to be at the top of the agenda for the Health ministry as the nation faces sobering statistics on the state of its health – both mentally and physically.

“The success of a nation is dependent on the health of its people and initiatives such as the Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace survey become increasingly crucial as more and more Malaysians enter the workforce every year. I am happy to see even more organisations participating in this survey and contributing to this important discussion,” said Dr Lee.


SuperFriend CEO, Margo Lydon delivers her speech during the “Malaysia Healthiest Workplace Summit 2019” in Kuala Lumpur. -NSTP/Mohd Khairul Helmy Mohd Din

The Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace survey is an independent evaluation commissioned by AIA and delivered in partnership with research agency RAND Europe and local academic advisor Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. It is modelled after the Britain’s Healthiest Workplace – a highly successful study which has been carried out in the UK since 2013, it is currently the only comprehensive science-backed workplace survey ever conducted in Malaysia.


RAND Europe vice-president’s representative Dr Christian Van Stolk speaks during the “Malaysia Healthiest Workplace Summit 2019” in Kuala Lumpur. - NSTP/Mohd Khairul Helmy Mohd Din

Meanwhile, the winners of the Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality 2019 Awards were also announced.

A total of 15 companies were recognised for their respective efforts in promoting workplace health and creating a healthy environment for their employees.