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Employers are looking at ways to manage and curb stress in the workplace, as it is revealed to be a bigger lifestyle risk factor than physical inactivity and obesity.
According to a report by Towers Watson, only a quarter of employers in Asia Pacific currently offer a programme on stress management.
While stress can be used as a motivator and driver at work, too much will “overwhelm [employees] and interrupt business performance,” Dr. Rajeshree Parekh, Towers Watson’s Asia Pacific director for global health and group benefits, said.
The report identified the top three actions employers are taking to combat stress in the workplace, with 41% of bosses providing education and awareness campaigns, 40% offering flexible working options and 38% providing stress management programmes such as yoga and tai chi.
However, 14% of the APAC respondents – 16% of whom were based in Singapore – admitted they do not offer any of the above solutions.
Companies should also look into creating a holistic workplace culture of health. APAC organisations which are already doing this reported a 2% lower voluntary turnover rate than those who don’t.
Additionally, highly effective organisations in APAC reported a 20% higher participation rate in lifestyle behaviour coaching programmes and a 21% higher participation in employee assistance programmes (EAP) than low-effectiveness organisations.
“Employers would do well to look at longer-term options such as promoting an EAP, which requires more planning and resources upfront, but would lead to a greater payoff in the long run,” Dr. Parekh said.