COVID-19: 65% staff logged in to e-work despite being ill, says Sharjah poll

Some 43% of respondents also mentioned that they have experienced eye pain owing to long working hours

Man working from home. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Man working from home. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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UAE - While working from home is convenient and has largely kept employees safe from Covid-19, it does come with certain drawbacks - like continuing work despite feeling under the weather, a new survey in Sharjah has revealed.

Sixty-five per cent of the government employees polled said that during their virtual shifts, they continued working even though they were having some symptoms of illness, according to the survey carried out by Sharjah's Health Promotion Department (HPD).

Some 43 per cent of respondents also mentioned that they have experienced eye pain owing to long working hours.

Happiness and mental health recovery among the emirate's public employees, however, reached 79 per cent.

Results of the HPD's study - designed for 12,000 employees - were discussed at a virtual Press conference on Wednesday. Launched in June this year, the study is part of the Sharjah government's first health survey for its employees called 'Wazen' programme.

It looked into the impact of remote working on employees' health, as well as productivity and lifestyle.

Productivity boost

When asked about their remote work performance, 90 per cent of study participants said they were satisfied with their productivity.

Some 87 per cent also agree that working from home gave them "plenty of time" to complete tasks.

In terms of impact on nutritional behaviour and lifestyle, 78 per cent confirmed that they followed a healthy diet during period, while 30 per cent said their physical activity levels dropped in Covid-19 era.

New initiatives to be developed

"The result of the survey has helped us better understand the impact of remote working on employees socially and health-wise. This in turn will help us give better solutions to the challenges the employees face due to this new work system," said Iman Rashid Saif, director of the HPD at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah.

Based on the results, new initiatives, decisions, and activities will be developed for employees, Saif said. Pointing to the department's strategic partnership with the University of Sharjah, Saif hinted that the two entities will be preparing a research paper to publish the study outcomes in scientific journals.

On the sidelines of the Press conference, Dr Mansour Habib presented an educational session where he highlighted the impact of on the physical and mental health of employees. He discussed problems like spinal pain, mental and physical stress, and social isolation.

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