Stress still top health risk for S'pore companies: survey

STRESS remains the Number One health risk for companies in Singapore.

So says the Willis Towers Watson's 2015/2016 Global Staying@Work survey, which captures details on organisations' health and wellbeing strategies and programmes in their respective local markets.

The survey found that 56 per cent of Singaporean employers call workforce stress as the top health concern, but continue to miss the mark with their health and productivity (H&P) approach.

Forty-four per cent of employers in Singapore offer a variety of tactical health programmes such as worksite diet/exercise activities, biometric screenings, and onsite health clinics.

However, Willis Towers Watson found that the current programmes provide only a limited boost to employee engagement and effectiveness, because the impact of such programmes is not being measured.

"For companies to increase their chances of success, they must view health and productivity holistically, and offer customised and interconnected programmes that have the same overall goal," said Rajeshree Parekh, director of health and corporate wellness for Asia and Australasia at Willis Towers Watson.

"Implementing programmes that don't align with an overarching strategy will have limited results in changing long-term employee behaviour," added Dr Parekh.

On the positive side, local companies realise and recognise the need for a more strategic approach, with 67 per cent of organisations in Singapore planning to differentiate their programmes for specific segments through the use of data and analytics in the next three years - significantly higher than their regional counterparts (at 35 per cent).

Besides stress, other health issues facing Singapore companies include lack of physical activity, lack of sleep, and obesity.

The survey noted that, to counter these issues, employers are increasingly using technology to help employees pursue healthier lifestyles; promoting a healthy workplace culture through dedicated portals to deliver health information; providing online tools that are available at work and at home; as well as implementing formal technology strategies to support health and wellbeing goals.

In addition to offering more health programmes, employers in Singapore are also looking at providing employees greater choice and flexibility in terms of voluntary benefits and services, work plan design, and employee contributions.

Details of the survey can be found at

This article was first published on April 22, 2016.
Get The Business Times for more stories.