With employees experiencing workplace burnout, yet lacking initiative to take charge of their own health, Khia Tat Lim, Head of Human Resource at Alzheimer's Disease Association (ADA), discusses the urgency for HR and management to take action, in conversation with Nadya Oenara.

Q What is the largest change in Singapore’s healthcare and wellness landscape that has impacted you in HR?

In a recent survey by Tech Company KISI published on 7 August 2019, it was reported that Singapore is the second most overworked city among 40 cities. In fact, Singapore is ranked 32nd out of the 40 cities surveyed for work-life balance.

The Singapore workforce faces long hours, unrealistic expectations, job insecurity, unrewarding work, a work culture which conflicts with personal values, and social competition online especially among the Millennials. These are some of the key contributors towards a potential employee burnout.

Hence, besides physical fitness, mental wellbeing is becoming a critical risk factor that needs to be strategically addressed by HR and management when implementing employee engagement strategies and initiatives.

In my new role as Head of Human Resource with Alzheimer's Disease Association (ADA), I am learning about the importance of mental and social wellness (besides staying physically healthy), which will reduce the risks of dementia.

According to a study led by Institute of Mental Health, one in 10 people aged 60 and above in Singapore may have dementia and this translates to almost 82,000 people in 2018.

There is an urgent need to reduce stigma by increasing awareness of dementia, and encouraging everyone to strive towards an inclusive society.

Organisations should start increasing awareness and planning for their employees on the importance of maintaining mental wellbeing.

Q Share with us the most innovative health strategy you've undertaken.

We have advocated and promoted the awareness of dementia and ways to reduce risk through workplace talks by ADA among HR and business networks. Organisations should start increasing awareness and planning for their employees on the importance of maintaining mental wellbeing, and also develop dementia-friendly policies for staff who are caregivers to family members with dementia.

Q In your view, what will be big themes in the space of healthcare and wellness in the coming years?

Elder care and dementia care are entering the radar of policy makers in Singapore. And, I am seeing the advent use of robotics and virtual technology to enhance education in the health and community care sectors.

For example, ADA taps on virtual reality to train caregivers. There is the 'Educational Dementia Immersive Experience', or 'EDIE' for short. It's a 360-degree immersive experience, where the sensory nature of virtual reality allows users to experience what a person with dementia goes through.

Q For you, what's the most exciting thing about joining #EmployeeHealthcareInteractive 2019?

The #EmployeeHealthcareInteractive provides a platform for healthcare manufacturers, equipment providers, service providers, and innovators to come together to share new science and pursue progressive solutions to healthcare, for corporations and their workforce.

Q Finally, what's your personal healthcare and wellness philosophy?

Eat well, exercise well, rest enough and do good – Be happy!

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