This article is brought to you by AIA Singapore.

As the pandemic continues to force the adoption of new ways of working, how have you been taking care of your and your team’s wellbeing? Carve out 23-24 October 2020 for a well-deserved health & wellness weekend you wouldn’t want to miss.

What happens when one of the world’s busiest cities is pushed into taking a mindful pause to recover and reflect? Well, they say every cloud has a silver lining. In Singapore, this came in the form of the Circuit Breaker that forced the second most overworked population in the world (with a work intensity score of 95.4) to, simply put, take a break. Let’s find out how.

Owing to the developments around COVID-19, two-thirds of Singaporeans realised they have been taking their health for granted, as unveiled in the AIA Real Rewards Poll 2020. What’s better though, is that this realisation didn’t go unactioned – a whopping 93% prioritised staying healthy over other pursuits to get through the Circuit Breaker period.

As a result, a significant three quarters of respondents (75%) recorded an improvement in at least one aspect of their wellbeing – whether in terms of improved eating habits (48%), physical health (45%), sleeping pattern (43%), or mental health (30%) – within eight weeks from the start of the Circuit Breaker in early April 2020.

While it is encouraging to see that COVID-19 and the Circuit Breaker became a catalyst for people to start making positive changes to their health, more needs to be done to ensure Singapore’s mental wellbeing.

While 30% experienced an uplift in their mental health, the same number of Singaporeans also reported a decline due to increased stress and anxiety. Progress, but still a long way to go.

These developments have all been shared in AIA’s new study, which was conducted amongst 875 participants in mid-June 2020 as Singapore moved into Phase Two of Safe Reopening.

What this renewed focus on health & wellness implies for HR

For years, employers have been grappling with invisible challenges to employee productivity. Presenteeism (or the practice of ‘showing face’), workplace-triggered stress, irritability, tardiness, and even weight loss/gain have long been cited as some of the biggest issues that employees face at work.

Couple these phenomena, with the world’s greatest work-from-home experiment triggered by COVID-19, and the resulting situation has given rise to a brand new set of ailments for employers to tackle – namely, screen and technology fatigue, social isolation, blurred lines between work and personal life, and more. 

For HR, this development has provided a much-needed business impetus to take mental and physical health of the workforce far more seriously than ever before. MNCs and SMEs alike are starting to talk about employees’ wellbeing in the same line as productivity. While previously a hush-hush topic, more companies are recognising that the mental health taboo at the workplace is a problem, as managers are being trained on how to spot signs of mental distress and offer comfort or the support of an expert. Progressive organisations are taking steps to invest in the one and only competitive advantage that no one else can replicate – their people.

The bottom line? HR priorities are shifting in a direction that can only bode well for the future workforce.

Far from the madding cry of day-to-day operational responsibility, HR is now well and truly in the business driver’s seat with the opportunity to build a healthier, resilient and happier workforce that can navigate organisations out of stormy waters. Wouldn’t you agree?

The next step in your wellness journey: AIA Health & Wellness Live 2020

As a leading HR solutions provider and 14-time gold winner of HR Vendors of the Year’s Best Employee Insurance Provider award, AIA Singapore has made championing a more holistic approach to wellness as its most important mandate to date.  Among AIA’s several initiatives to empower HR practitioners with the tools and knowledge to keep their staff healthy is the upcoming AIA Health & Wellness Live 2020 – powered by AIA Vitality.

This complimentary, two-day virtual event brings together a host of specially curated activities right in the comfort of one’s home on 23 and 24 October 2020.

On the agenda are topics relevant for HR’s discussion such as: challenges for businesses with working from home; how companies should strike a balance with employees’ mental wellness; the impact of rising healthcare costs; and how you should ensure that you are prepared for it should any unfortunate incident take place.

We’ve spotlighted some of the most relevant and unmissable sessions for you and your team:

  • Panel discussion on ‘The Balancing Act of Working from Home: Morale, Engagement & Productivity’ featuring mental health advocates and people champions across different fields Wong Sze Keed, CEO, AIA Singapore; Brandon Coate, Head of HR, HSBC; Dileep Kannan, Regional Director, Grab for Business; and Dr John Shepherd Lim, Chief Wellbeing Officer, Singapore Counselling Centre.
  • A conversation on ‘From Payor to Partner: Revolutionising Healthcare’ featuring corporate healthcare experts Alvin Fu, Chief Corporate Solutions Officer, AIA Singapore; Dr Alan Ong, Medical Director, AIA Singapore; and Bryan Koh, Chief Executive Officer & Founder, WhiteCoat.
  • A session on ‘Sleep Deprivation: the impact on work and school performance’ led by Dr Leow Leong Chai, Director, Singapore General Hospital Sleep Centre.

In addition to work, the event also brings together elements of play: a sunrise yoga session by Fitness First Singapore, ‘dim sum treat the healthier way’ by food consultant Dr Leslie Tay, and a virtual supermarket tour by Founder of Health Can Be Fun, Fiona Chia. What’s more, AIA Vitality members will earn 50 Vitality points per session, with up to 300 Vitality points to be awarded per member. 

To top off this ultimate health and wellness weekend, an eMarketplace will showcase exclusive deals from AIA Vitality partners as well as a virtual gallery of arts and crafts designed and produced by the kids of Children’s Wishing Well, AIA Singapore’s adopted charity. All proceeds from the art sale will go towards the beneficiaries of Children’s Wishing Well, enabling healthier, longer, better lives for future generations.

It’s the perfect platform for HR leaders to engage with your staff and empower them with the resources they need to take care of their health, all while taking out time to rejuvenate their body, mind and soul.

The event is spearheaded by AIA Vitality, the first wellness programme introduced by an insurer locally in 2013 and has since yielded significant health results and clinical outcomes including improvements in glucose levels, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and BMI. AIA Vitality currently supports over 100,000 members in Singapore alone and motivates them to make real and long-lasting improvements to their wellbeing holistically, with many tools and benefits that target different aspects of health.

Key takeaways

Everything that we knew about what motivates employees, and leaders, has been turned upside down in a year marked by the most significant change to life and lifestyles in modern history.

Employees aren’t looking for just a great salary anymore. They want security, in the form of comprehensive benefits built into their remuneration package, and specifically designed to look after their welfare. They want safety, in the form of mental, physical, financial and emotional wellbeing. And most of all, they want employers who genuinely believe in doing the right thing and will take care of them.

People vs profit – there’s only one way to turn this into a win-win and that is when people come first.

So we urge you to make the right decision for your team, sign them and yourselves up for AIA Health & Wellness Live 2020 before the deadline (20 October 2020, 2359). We are confident you will benefit from the wealth of discussions and activities that will enable you to deliver a winning people strategy. See you there!

Photo / AIA