Summary of Findings
 

 

Summary of Findings

 
 

White collars' experience of mental tiredness at work

 
 

The survey started by gauging the respondents' experience in any mental tiredness or energy slump at work before the interview took place. Results showed that, as high as 93% (92.8%) of the white collars interviewed had such experience. With respect to the frequency, nearly half (47.0%) opted for "sometimes", but 21% (20.9%) admitted that they felt mentally tired at work "very often". On the other hand, only 7% (7.2%) said they never experienced energy slump at work before (Table 3).


Table 3 - [Q1] 【For all respondents】Did you experience any mental tiredness / energy slump at work before? (If yes, interviewers to probe frequency)
   Frequency   Percentage 
  Yes --- very often  108   )   20.9%   ) 
  Yes --- quite often  71   )   13.7%   ) 
  Yes --- sometimes  242   )   47.0%   ) 
  Yes --- seldom  58   ) 479   11.2%   ) 92.8% 
  Never  37      7.2%    
  Total  515      100.0%    
  Base  515          
  Missing case(s)  0          

 

Of the 479 respondents who had experienced mental tiredness at work before, 36% of these respondents revealed that they usually felt such fatigue in the afternoon (35.9%, accounted for 33.4% of the total sample), followed by "overtime/at night" (19.4%, accounted for 18.1% of the total sample) and "before getting off duty" (15.7%, accounted for 14.6% of the total sample, Table 4). When further asked to describe the feelings when experiencing energy slump at work, without prompting, the most frequently cited answer was "sleepiness (e.g. yawning)", by half (50.1%, accounted for 46.6% of the total sample) of these respondents. Other symptoms like "difficult to concentrate", "headache/dizziness" and "muscle pain and tiredness" were also mentioned by 22%, 17% and 15% of the sub-sample correspondingly (accounted for 20.0%, 15.3% and 14.0% of the total sample respectively, Table 5).


Table 4 - [Q2] 【Only for those who answered "Yes" in Q1】Generally speaking, during which period of the day would you experience such tiredness most often?
   Frequency   % of sub-sample (Base = 479)   % of total sample (Base = 515) 
  Morning  46     9.6%     8.9%   
  After lunch  57   11.9%   11.1% 
  Afternoon  172  ) 229   35.9%  ) 47.8%   33.4%  ) 44.5% 
  Before getting off duty  75     15.7%     14.6%   
  Overtime / At night  93     19.4%     18.1%   
  All day long  10     2.1%     1.9%   
  Others  5     1.0%     1.0%   
  Don't know / Hard to say  16     3.3%     3.10%   
  Total  474     100.0%        
  Base  479             
  Missing case(s)  5             

Table 5 - [Q3] 【Only for those who answered "Yes" in Q1】What do you feel when you are mentally tired at work? How do you describe your feeling? (Interviewer do not read out the answers, multiple answers allowed)
   Frequency   % of total responses (Base = 697)   % of sub-sample (Base = 479)   % of total sample (Base = 515) 
  Sleepiness (e.g. yawning)  240   34.4%   50.1%   46.6% 
  Difficult to concentrate  103   14.8%   21.5%   20.0% 
  Headache / Dizziness  79   11.3%   16.5%   15.3% 
  Muscle pain and tiredness  72   10.3%   15.0%   14.0% 
  Having trouble to function properly  40   5.7%   8.4%   7.8% 
  Become emotional / bad-tempered  32   4.6%   6.7%   6.2% 
  Feeling stressed  30   4.3%   6.3%   5.8% 
  Eye fatigue / pain / dry  24   3.4%   5.0%   4.7% 
  Lower productivity  12   1.8%   2.5%   2.3% 
  Easy to forget things  12   1.7%   2.5%   2.3% 
  Not feeling well all over  8   1.2%   1.7%   1.6% 
  Others  28   4.0%   5.8%   5.4% 
  Don't know / Hard to say  16   2.4%   3.3%   3.1% 
  Total  697   100.0%       
  Base  479           
  Missing case(s)  10           

 

As far as the opinions of those who had ever experienced energy slump at work were concerned, over half (54.1%) of them admitted that such mental tiredness would normally last for one hour or less. Taking the average of all definite answers provided by these respondents, the mean duration was 1 hour and 53 minutes, with half an hour being the median (Table 6). Besides, 79% (78.9%, accounted for 73.4% of the total sample) of this sub-group claimed that such mental tiredness did have a negative impact on their overall work performance, while 20% (19.8%, accounted for 18.4% of the total sample) said there was no bad influence on their job performance at all (Table 7).


Table 6 - [Q4] 【Only for those who answered "Yes" in Q1】Generally speaking, how long does such mental tiredness last each time?
   Frequency   % of sub-sample (Base = 479)   % of total sample (Base = 515) 
  1-15 minutes  106   22.1%   20.6% 
  16-30 minutes  101   21.1%   19.6% 
  31-60 minutes  52  ) 259   10.9%  ) 54.1%   10.1%  ) 50.3% 
  1 hour 1 minute-2 hours  65     13.6%     12.6%   
  2 hour 1 minute-3 hours  34     7.1%     6.6%   
  3 hour 1 minute-4 hours  23     4.8%     4.5%   
  More than 4 hours  28     5.8%     5.4%   
  Don't know / Don't remember  65     13.6%     12.6%   
  Total  474     100.0%        
  Mean  1 hour 53 minutes             
  Standard error  11 minutes             
  Median  30 minutes             
  Base  479             
  Missing case(s)  5             

Table 7 - [Q5] 【Only for those who answered "Yes" in Q1】Do you think such mental tiredness has a negative impact on your overall work performance? (If yes, interviewers to probe degree of seriousness)
   Frequency   % of sub-sample (Base = 479)   % of total sample (Base = 515) 
  Yes --- Very serious  9   1.9%   1.7% 
  Yes --- Quite serious  109   22.8%   21.2% 
  Yes --- Not quite serious  191   39.9%   37.1% 
  Yes --- Not serious at all  69  ) 378   14.4%  ) 78.9%   13.4%  ) 73.4% 
  No  95     19.8%     18.4%   
  Don't know / Hard to say  6     1.3%     1.2%   
  Total  478     100.0%        
  Base  479             
  Missing case(s)  1             

 

White collars' general knowledge on how to boost their mental energy at work

 
 

Of the 479 respondents who had experienced mental tiredness at work before, the most popular method used for boosting their mental energy was to "have a drink", as cited by 47% (47.2%, accounted for 43.9% of the total sample) of this sub-group. The 2nd most frequently mentioned answer was "taking a walk outside the office" (33.8%, accounted for 31.5% of the total sample), followed at a distance by "washing face/going to the washroom", "taking a nap" and "having some snacks", each mentioned by around 15% of these respondents (Table 8).


Table 8 - [Q6] 【Only for those who answered "Yes" in Q1】What would you usually do when you experience mental tiredness at work, in order to boost your mental energy? (Interviewers do not read out the answers, multiple answers allowed)
   Frequency   % of total responses (Base = 774)   % of sub-sample (Base = 479)   % of total sample (Base = 515) 
  Have a drink  226   29.2%   47.2%   43.9% 
  Take a walk outside the office  162   21.0%   33.8%   31.5% 
  Wash face / Go to the washroom  80   10.3%   16.7%   15.5% 
  Take a nap  70   9.0%   14.6%   13.6% 
  Have some snacks  64   8.2%   13.4%   12.4% 
  Do some exercises  41   5.3%   8.6%   8.0% 
  Chat with colleagues / Make a phone call  37   4.7%   7.7%   7.2% 
  Listen to some music / Watch TV  16   2.0%   3.3%   3.1% 
  Smoke a cigarette  12   1.6%   2.5%   2.3% 
  Look at the scenery outside the window  8   1.0%   1.7%   1.6% 
  Browse the Internet  3   0.4%   0.6%   0.6% 
  Others  14   1.8%   2.9%   2.7% 
  Do nothing  39   5.1%   8.1%   7.6% 
  Don't know/ Hard to say  2   0.3%   0.4%   0.4% 
  Total  774   100.0%       
  Base  479           
  Missing case(s)  1           

 

In order to gauge the target white collars' overall awareness of how to enhance their mental energy at the workplace, all respondents were asked to cite their methods used to further boost their mental energy, even if they were not undergoing an energy slump. Results found that 22% (22.1%) of these young white collars would not do anything under normal circumstances. For those who would, the most popular method mentioned was, again, to drink something, by 22% (21.7%) of the total sample. Other commonly used methods included "washing face" (13.6%), "doing some exercise" (11.7%) and "having some snacks" (10.5%, Table 9).


Table 9 - [Q7] 【For all respondents】Then, what would you do to further boost your mental energy even if you are not experiencing any mental tiredness at work? (Interviewers do not read out the answers, multiple answers allowed)
   Frequency   % of total responses (Base = 580)   % of total sample (Base = 515) 
  Have a drink  112   19.3%   21.7% 
  Wash face  70   12.0%   13.6% 
  Do some exercises  60   10.3%   11.7% 
  Have some snacks  54   9.3%   10.5% 
  Take a nap  31   5.4%   6.0% 
  Chat with colleagues / Make a phone call  23   4.0%   4.5% 
  Take a walk outside the office  23   3.9%   4.5% 
  Listen to some music / Watch TV  19   3.3%   3.7% 
  Smoke a cigarette  13   2.2%   2.5% 
  Browse the Internet / Play online games  6   1.1%   1.2% 
  Look at the scenery outside the window  4   0.6%   0.8% 
  Others  21   3.5%   4.1% 
  Do nothing  114   19.6%   22.1% 
  Don't know/ Hard to say  32   5.5%   6.2% 
  Total  580   100.0%    
  Base  515       
  Missing case(s)  4       

 

When prompted, 65% (64.6%) of all white collars interviewed admitted that they had consumed snacks to recharge themselves at work, as contrast to 35% (34.8%) who never did it. As regards how often they did it, 28% (28.0%) said "sometimes", 19% (19.4%) opted for "seldom", and 11% (11.1%) said "very often" (Table 10). As for the choices of snacks, of the 332 respondents who had recharged themselves by consuming snacks before, 48% (47.6%, accounted for 30.7% of the total sample) opted for "biscuits". "Candies", "chewing gum" and "chocolate" ranked from 2nd to 4th as the most popular snacks, which were mentioned by 40% (39.5%, accounted for 25.4% of the total sample), 19% (19.3%, accounted for 12.4% of the total sample) and also 19% (18.7%, accounted for 12.0% of the total sample) of these respondents correspondingly (Table 11).


Table 10 - [Q8] 【For all respondents】 Have you ever consumed any snacks to recharge yourself at work? (If yes, interviewer to ask "How often do you consume snacks to recharge yourself at work?")
   Frequency   Percentage 
  Yes --- very often  57   )   11.1%   ) 
  Yes --- quite often  31   )   6.1%   ) 
  Yes --- sometimes  144   )   28.0%   ) 
  Yes --- seldom  100   ) 332   19.4%   ) 64.6% 
  Never  179      34.8%    
  Don't know / Hard to say  3      0.6%    
  Total  515      100.0%    
  Base  515          
  Missing case(s)  0          

Table 11 - [Q9] 【Only for those who answered "yes" in Q8】What would you usually eat then? (Interviewers do not read out the answers, multiple answers allowed)
   Frequency   % of total responses (Base = 533)   % of sub-sample (Base = 332)   % of total sample (Base = 515) 
  Biscuits  158   29.7%   47.6%   30.7% 
  Candies  131   24.5%   39.5%   25.4% 
  Chewing gum  64   12.0%   19.3%   12.4% 
  Chocolate  62   11.6%   18.7%   12.0% 
  Potato chips  26   4.8%   7.8%   5.0% 
  Preserved plum / Beef jerk / Pork jerk  21   4.0%   6.3%   4.1% 
  Fruits  18   3.4%   5.4%   3.5% 
  Toasts / Sandwiches  15   2.8%   4.5%   2.9% 
  Chicken wings  6   1.1%   1.8%   1.2% 
  French fries  4   0.8%   1.2%   0.8% 
  Others  19   3.5%   5.7%   3.7% 
  Don't know/ Hard to say  10   1.9%   3.0%   1.9% 
  Total  533          
  Base  332           
  Missing case(s)  1           

 

The survey continued by asking all respondents whether they had consumed any drinks to recharge themselves at work before. The findings showed that, as high as 81% (80.8%) gave an affirmative answer. Almost one in four (24.4%) of the white collars interviewed even revealed that they did this "very often", while another one-third (33.4%) did it "sometimes" (Table 12). Regarding the popularity of various types of drinks, among the 417 respondents who had refueled their mental energy by consuming drinks before, "tea" topped the list with 47% (46.8%, accounted for 37.9% of the total sample) citing it as their most common choice. Another two popular drinks among these white collars were "water" and "coffee", as mentioned by 36% (36.2%) and 33% (33.1%) of this sub-sample respectively (Table 13).


Table 12 - [Q10] 【For all respondents】 Have you ever consumed any drinks to recharge yourself at work? (If yes, interviewer to ask "How often do you consume drinks to recharge yourself at work?")
   Frequency   Percentage 
  Yes --- very often  126   )   24.4%   ) 
  Yes --- quite often  48   )   9.3%   ) 
  Yes --- sometimes  172   )   33.4%   ) 
  Yes --- seldom  71   ) 417   13.7%   ) 80.8% 
  Never  95      18.5%    
  Don't know / Hard to say  3      0.7%    
  Total  515      100.0%    
  Base  515          
  Missing case(s)  0          

Table 13 - [Q11] 【Only for those who answered "yes" in Q10】What would you usually drink then? (Interviewers do not read out the answers, multiple answers allowed)
   Frequency   % of total responses (Base = 583)   % of sub-sample (Base = 417)   % of total sample (Base = 515) 
  Tea (all kinds)  195   33.4%   46.8%   37.9% 
  Water  151   25.9%   36.2%   29.3% 
  Coffee  138   23.7%   33.1%   26.8% 
  Soft drink  52   8.9%   12.5%   10.1% 
  Juice  25   4.3%   6.0%   4.9% 
  Energy drink  9   1.5%   2.2%   1.7% 
  Ovaltine / Horlicks  4   0.7%   1.0%   0.8% 
  Essence of chicken  2   0.4%   0.5%   0.4% 
  Milk  2   0.3%   0.5%   0.4% 
  Others  4   0.8%   1.0%   0.8% 
  Don't know/ Hard to say  1   0.1%   0.2%   0.2% 
  Total  583   100.0%       
  Base  417           
  Missing case(s)  2           

 

White collars' general knowledge on the functions of glucose

 
 

The last part of this survey was designed to measure the target white collars' general knowledge of glucose's major functions. The respondents were first asked to cite the substances found in our food which were essential for sustaining a normal level of mental energy. Results showed that, 48% (47.8%) of the white collars interviewed had no idea at all. Among all definite answers provided by the respondents, "caffeine" topped the list with more than 40% of them (42.5%) mentioning it, and leading with a wide margin from the rest. The 2nd to the 4th ranks fell to "glucose" (3.9%), "carbohydrates" (2.3%) and "substances in tea" (1.9%), but each item was only mentioned by less than 5% of the total sample (Table 14).


Table 14 - [Q12] 【For all respondents】Do you know what substances in our food are essential for maintaining our normal mental energy? (Interviewers do not read out the answers, multiple answers allowed)
   Frequency   % of total responses (Base = 549)   % of total sample (Base = 515) 
  Caffeine  219   39.8%   42.5% 
  Glucose  20   3.7%   3.9% 
  Carbohydrates  12   2.1%   2.3% 
  Substances in tea  10   1.9%   1.9% 
  Vitamins  7   1.3%   1.4% 
  Sugar  5   1.0%   1.0% 
  Protein  2   0.3%   0.4% 
  Others  28   5.2%   5.4% 
  Don't know / Hard to say  246   44.8%   47.8% 
  Total  549   100.0%    
  Base  515       
  Missing case(s)  10       

 

Finally, when further asked the exact functions of glucose to the human brain and body, over half (52.4%) of the white collars interviewed failed to provide any answers. Meanwhile, "recuperating body energy after exercise" and "providing energy source for all brain functions" were the two most well-known functions of glucose, as mentioned by 22% (22.1%) and 16% (15.9%) of the total sample respectively (Table 15).


Table 15 - [Q13] 【For all respondents】 Do you know the main functions of glucose to our brain and bodies? (Interviewers do not read out the answers, multiple answers allowed)
   Frequency   % of total responses (Base = 546)   % of total sample (Base = 515) 
  Recuperate body energy after exercise  114   20.8%   22.1% 
  Provide energy source for all brain functions  82   14.9%   15.9% 
  Body building and maintenance  37   6.8%   7.2% 
  Nutritional supplements for hospitalized patients  17   3.1%   3.3% 
  Provide sugars / blood glucose  14   2.6%   2.7% 
  Others  12   2.1%   2.3% 
  Don't know / Hard to say  270   49.5%   52.4% 
  Total  546   100.0%    
  Base  515       
  Missing case(s)  2       

 

Conclusion

 
 

The findings of this survey revealed that 93% of the young white collars interviewed had experienced mental tiredness or energy slump at work before. Such tiredness occurred most frequently in the afternoon, while the average duration of each episode was calculated to be 1 hour and 53 minutes, with 30 minutes being the median. "Sleepiness", "difficulty in concentration", "headache/dizziness" and "muscle pain and tiredness" were all common symptoms felt by the respondents at times of energy slump. Moreover, 79% of these respondents admitted that such mental tiredness did have a negative impact on their work performance in general. In order to recover themselves from energy slump at work, 47% of this sub-group opted for "having a drink". Other less frequently mentioned methods included "taking a walk outside the office", "washing face/going to the washroom", "taking a nap" and "having some snacks".

 
 

This survey also found that 65% of all white collars interviewed, regardless of whether they had experienced energy slump before, had consumed snacks to recharge themselves at work. "Biscuits" topped the list among all snacks chosen, followed by "candies", and then "chewing gum" and "chocolates". Consuming drinks to resume their energy level at work was found to be even more popular, as 81% of the respondents had done so. And the three most well-accepted drinks in the workplace were "tea", "water" and "coffee", in descending order.

 
 

Finally, results showed that the young white collars' overall knowledge level with respect to the key functions played by glucose to our brains was far from satisfactory. Only less than 5% of the overall sample knew that glucose should be one of the substances essential for maintaining our normal mental energy, whilst more than 50% of them failed to have any idea when functions of glucose were directly asked.



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