employee health, health, mental health

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On the bright side, close to half of Asian organisations surveyed intend to invest more in employee health, especially in mental and physical health.

The COVID-19 pandemic has, undoubtedly, brought issues beyond major physical health and safety concerns — it has also significantly contributed to a mental health crisis. As a result, over a third of risk professionals recently surveyed in Asia (35%) expect mental health to cause a significant decrease in employee productivity in 2022.

According to the International SOS Risk Outlook 2022, globally mental health issues come in second as a key factor (36%), behind COVID-19 (67%), and ahead of natural disasters including extreme weather (21%), transport concerns (19%), and security threats and civil unrest (16% respectively).

The good news is — amidst the increasingly complex risk landscape, organisations are expecting to increase investments in employee health in the coming year — with both mental and physical health support a priority. Closer to home, 44% of organisations within Asia have indicated their intent to increase spending on both. 

Dr Low Kiang Wei, Medical Director, International SOS comments: "In 2022 we are facing a layered threat environment. Entering the third year of the pandemic, while COVID-19 and the fallout from lockdowns continue to be major disruptors, other risks are coming back to the fore as travel resumes.

"With many experts predicting 2022 will be the year of the 'Great Resignation' organisations must act to ensure they provide the necessary support for employees. Investing in both emotional health and physical wellness support will be essential for employee retention. This will also help to avoid a vicious cycle of productivity issues."

Apart from the above, with COVID-19 a top risk factor, close to half (47%) of respondents in Asia admitted that having adequate resources to deal with the virus was a top challenge for 2022 - significantly higher than the global average of 33%. This, the study noted, possibly suggests that "Asian-based organisations and their workforce still require further efforts to cope with the disruptions and build a more resilient workforce". Other key concerns also include motivating and educating employees about risk prevention.

To respond to these challenges the management of the ongoing significant impact of COVID-19 needs to be carefully considered. HR and risk management teams need to step up as organisations will have to draw on the expertise of business leaders — unsurprisingly,  60% of respondents have cited that HR experienced the largest increase in responsibility in the past months.


The International SOS Risk Outlook 2022 covered a survey of nearly 1,000 risk professionals across 75 countries(of which 358 were in Asia), coupled with insight from the Workforce Resilience Council and International SOS proprietary data.

1 The annual risk outlook study exposes gaps in the protection of employee health and security such as risk perception, mental health, productivity impacts and operational challenges. The survey* is complemented with interpretations and predictions from the Workforce Resilience Council, as well as extensive proprietary data and analysis from International SOS. The Workforce Resilience Council is is made up of representative experts of all health, security, and safety fields. The participants in this year's Council are from a mix of think tanks, associations, advisory boards, NGOs, and IGOs, relevant to the risks of working at home or abroad.


 Image / Capture from the Risk Outlook 2022 Report

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