In view of the upcoming Employee Healthcare Interactive 2019, Nadya Oenara speaks to Audrey Ang, Vice President, Human Resources, Everstone Capital Asia about the role of HR in encouraging employees to take charge of their own health and mental wellbeing.
Q What are the benefits of having a wellness programme?There is no wealth without health. I believe in creating opportunities for employees to engage in active movement in the workplace.
We spend most of our waking hours in the office and more often than not, most of our hours in the office are spent sitting down. Research has shown that this leads to increase risk of hypertension and heart disease.
In the Asian context, the issue of mental health is still taboo and rarely discussed. There are many options to designing wellness programmes that would be beneficial not only for the physical body but for the mind too.
A short break away from the desk and from the stressors of the day can work wonders in allowing the employee to spend time on focusing on the simplest things in life – like, breathing.
Q In your outlook, what will be big themes in the space of healthcare and wellness in the coming years?Is it any surprise that a recent article shows that sleep-deprived Singaporean workers are among the most stressed globally? After Tokyo and Seoul, Singapore is the 3rd country globally to have the most sleep-deprived population.
My opinion is that there will be more awareness surrounding the issue of mental health and how sleep deprivation leads to lack of mental clarity and focus and this will – you guessed it – impact performance.
I expect the trend to evolve towards the use of coaches as a tool to support leaders and employees to re-evaluate options to work through challenging tasks that stem from lack of mental acuity.
Q If cost wasn’t an issue, how would your ideal healthcare and wellness policy look like?My ideal healthcare and wellness policy would be flexible enough to cater to what my employees need at that point in time to address their immediate concern.
I would introduce:
- Catered meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so that my employees will not have to worry about having to grab a quick (and often nutritionally lacking, and fat laden) fix.
- Ergonomic workstations so that employees will have the option to sometimes stand up and work instead of having to sit at their desk for extended periods of time.
- Incentives towards recognising behavioural change in lifestyle and to nominate a wellness champion in the organisation who will be someone who inspires and motivates their colleagues towards making smarter food choices.
- Quarterly retreats where employees will be 'forced' to disconnect from their mobile devices and to re-focus on what matters – the basic need for human connection.
- Allow employees to bring their pets to work as this has also been proven to reduce workplace stress. The possibilities are endless!
Q What's the one reason our readers should be excited about joining #EmployeeHealthcareInteractive 2019?I got so excited when I saw that the topic of mental wellness is being addressed almost at the very start of the conference agenda! It goes to show that we are starting to become more aware that mental health issues exist and should not be ignored.
I for one, am excited to learn more about the tools that are available to support my employees on how to recognise symptoms of stress and address issues such as anxiety.
If there is one thing that readers should be able to take away from this conference, it should be to recognise what self-care looks like and how to practice it with purposeful intention.
I want to attend the conference: If you’re keen to attend this closed-door conference, kindly request for a complimentary invitation. For speaking opportunities, please write in to Nadya Oenara. We look forward to welcoming you!