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Start corporate wellness schemes to raise productivity

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Happier and healthier workforce enables higher productivity and job satisfaction

We are seeing more companies investing in wellness programmes paired with incentives to help keep staff engaged.

Come 2024, the Asia-Pacific region can expect a corporate wellness market worth US$7.4 billion (S$10 billion).

Studies have shown that companies neglecting corporate wellness across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, had productivity losses totalling US$44.6 billion within a fiscal year.

A happier and healthier workforce enables higher productivity and job satisfaction. Healthier workplaces can also help attract desirable talent and encourage employees to stay.

Corporate wellness programmes not only directly benefit the workforce on your payroll, they also make corporations appealing to shareholders.

Companies that neglect their employees are likely to bear the consequences publicly.

Growing demand for and investment in well-being support

With the increased uptake of corporate well-being programmes, both employers and staff are less cynical or sceptical about broader wellness concepts beyond physical health concerns, such as mental health issues resulting from work, and balancing job security with personal commitments.

This trend has led to a growing demand for health and wellness support from employers.

Corporations with well-being initiatives are also moving their budgets towards personalising these benefits.

To budget effectively, studying the results of current programmes would point out the best health outcomes for staff.

Diversification of corporate wellness support

More employers are regarding emotional and mental health as a necessary part of corporate well-being.

Health insurance companies are also increasingly providing programme add-ons that support holistic health from a mental, physical, and spiritual perspective. We are getting more requests from human resource professionals for initiatives that better cater to specific roles of employees.

More holistic measures of effectiveness

From an organisational perspective, employers want to lower employee turnover and improve performance.

Two key data points help to gauge the effectiveness of corporate wellness programmes.

Are we collecting the right data to show whether people are happier, healthier and more productive? And are we getting the right people on to the right programmes?

The first component requires an analysis of an individual's needs and involves defining personalised care at the right time.

The second measures their achievements against overall health goals, observing levels of productivity and absenteeism.

Considered in totality, these measures can help employees feel more secure about their personal wellness.

Personalisation of wellness in workplaces

Currently, corporate wellness programmes are mostly personalised to the level of specific groups rather than individuals.

This means individuals are enrolled in wellness programmes with like-minded others and those with similar well-being issues.

With more data, we can move towards building solutions with increasingly bespoke aspects.

Some of these improvements can be forged through technology, known as "wellness tech".

There are many digital wellness tools, but for them to work effectively, they need to be entertaining, interactive, engaging and, most importantly, meaningful to the individual.

The writer is managing director of Asia-Pacific at Aetna International, one of the world's largest providers of international health benefits and services.