According to the latest Aon APAC Benefits Strategy Study 2017, 72% of employers in Singapore consider stress and mental health an issue affecting productivity. Yet, only 51% have emotional and psychological wellness programmes in place.
Furthermore, the report stated that only 62% of firms in Singapore have plans to implement such programmes in the future. This is 6 points lower than the APAC average.
As explained in the report, the physical manifestations of stress include chronic issues such as back pain, fatigue, and headaches. Additionally, there is clear scientific evidence linking stress with depression, cardiovascular disease, and various cancers–resulting in economic impact related to absenteeism, lost productivity, staff turnover, workers’ compensation, medical insurance, and related expenses.
On the upside, the study found that 74% of Singapore employers have physical wellness programmes in place to help prevent the onset of these chronic issues.
Dr. Menandro Sandoval, senior clinician at Aon, said: “Through our analysis of client medical plan data, we are able to identify patterns. For instance, a high proportion of visits to general practitioner clinics for upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) and various gastrointestinal illnesses are related to suppression of general resistance process, which can be attributed to mental health issues such as stress, depression, and anxiety. By identifying this root cause, we can help employers develop risk management programmes that address employee health holistically and create positive impact.”
On that note, Tim Dwyer, CEO of Aon Health & Benefits, Asia Pacific, emphasised: “Employers in Asia have proactively implemented physical wellness programmes, but have been unwilling to promote mental health ones. However, our recent study showed that Singapore employers now view their employees’ health and well-being–both physical and mental–as a top 3 focus area.”
“Meanwhile, across Asia, Aon has made significant investments in technology, resources, and people that can transform how organisations think about their employees’ physical, mental, financial, and emotional well-being and we will continue to develop solutions that address our clients’ holistic employee well-being needs,” he concluded.