PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysians work an average of 15 hours more than their contracted hours each week, surpassing Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia, but has one of the highest percentage of productivity loss.
A newly released workplace survey of the four countries conducted by AIA Vitality found that Malaysian employees are overworked, stressed, lead unhealthy lifestyles, and as a result, are at high risk of health problems and productivity loss.
The survey also found that Malaysia has the highest percentage of employees who slept less than seven hours a night at 56 per cent.
Malaysian employees also reported the highest percentage of physical inactivity with 64 per cent doing less than 150 minutes of physical activity a week.
Due to the high stress and sedentary lifestyle, the survey found that 84 per cent of employees reported at least one type of musculoskeletal condition while 53 per cent are at risk of mental health issues.
The survey linked poor employee health and well-being to a major loss in organisation productivity.
It said in Malaysia, the average yearly cost of health-related absenteeism and presenteeism per organisation is estimated at RM2.7 million (S$880,000).
Presenteeism is when an employee is physically present for work despite being sick or not being productive.
Among the four countries surveyed, Malaysian employees recorded the second-highest number of absenteeism and presenteeism at 67 days a year, after Hong Kong.
The Malaysia's Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality Survey 2017 involved a total of 5,369 employees from 47 organisations.
The wider Healthiest Workplace survey, encompassing Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, surveyed 214 organisations and 10,001 employees in total.
The 1,162 employees from Singapore were found to have long working hours but respondents reported less stress than those in the other three countries surveyed.
The survey noted that Singapore has a culture of working long hours, with "a significant proportion of employees" reporting that they "did not eat a balanced diet or take sufficient physical exercise".
Taking a break is much harder for Singapore workers, with 14.3 per cent of Singaporeans reporting difficulty in this area.
The survey also stated that there are "some concerns about levels of stress in the Singapore workplace and poor sleep patterns among employees", with 51 per cent of respondents saying they sleep less than seven hours a night.