Stress contagion spreads across Singapore

Two-thirds of Singapore workers have above average or high levels of stress – is HR doing enough to help?

Stress contagion spreads across Singapore

Employers in Singapore are still missing the mark when it comes to their health and well-being programs, with many employees feeling that their needs are not being met, according to research from Willis Towers Watson.

The study found that almost half (44%) of employers identified stress as the number one health issue – an important point of self-awareness, with 60% of employees admitting to having above average or high levels of stress.

Despite this, only 27% of employers are taking action to reduce work-related stress.

On a positive note, research found that both employers and employees share similar views on the importance of health: 72% of employees said managing their health is a top priority, while 84% of employers said increasing employee engagement in health and well-being is a top priority for them.

This alignment is a step in the right direction. Employees in good or very good health are more productive in the workplace, as they are more engaged (33% and 37% respectively) compared to those in poor health (17%) and take less days off.

“Because employers understand the positive impact of having a healthy and engaged workforce on company success, they are constantly on the lookout for new offerings that support employee health and well-being,” said Dr Amitabh Deka, regional consultant, Benefits & Wellness Advisory, Asia & Australia, at Willis Towers Watson.

“However, it is important that employers look at programs that help manage the high levels of stress in the workplace.

“Beyond mental health impacts such as anxiety and depression, stress can also lead to serious chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer.”

Though health care programs are being appreciated, employers are not getting a good return on their investments (ROI). While 51% of employees say health care plans offered by employers meet their needs, only 36% agree for health and well-being initiatives.

We are also seeing a disconnect on the ROI of well-being initiatives, with 53% of employers believing their programs have encouraged staff to live healthier lifestyles, but only 34% of employees agreeing with this.

While an increasing number of employers are putting more effort into improving their health and well-being programs, there is still room for improvement.

Compared to 40% of employers who don’t have an established health and well-being strategy today, 73% will use their enhanced programs to differentiate themselves from other employers and customise these programs for critical workforce segments by 2019.



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