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Survey Report

2015/2016 Staying@Work — Asia findings 

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March 29, 2016

Findings from Willis Towers Watson’s 2015/2016 Staying@Work Survey -- Asia Pacific, a study of employers’ health and productivity strategies which covers 13 markets and 582 employers in Asia

At a glance

  • Asia Pacific employers continue their unwavering commitment to health and productivity (H&P), with nine in 10 (90%) saying that it is a core component of their organisation’s overall health strategy.
  • Only one in three (33%) of Asia Pacific organisations have an articulated health and productivity strategy, although more than three-quarters (83%) plan to have one in place by 2018.
  • Employer and employee perspectives often diverge, and this divergence is most apparent when it comes to sources of stress. Employers highlight work/life balance issues, but employees are focused on adequate pay, the right resources to do their work, and a work environment that allows them to be effective.

Globally, businesses are facing the reality of a productivity slowdown. Reversing this problem to deliver productivity growth is the key to boosting the bottom line; in its absence, cost cutting is the only way for companies to remain profitable. At the same time, an increase in preventable chronic disease poses a significant problem for employers.

Against this backdrop, it’s not surprising that addressing health-related issues and their effects on the workforce has become a global priority for employers, and that many organisations are making significant investments in health and wellbeing programs.

How do you expect your organisation's commitment to health and productivity to change by 2018?

Employers say employee health risks — especially lifestyle risks such as stress, lack of physical exercise, obesity, poor nutrition, tobacco use — are among the foremost workplace issues they face. Globally, stress remains the biggest employee health risk as it was two years ago. However, in Asia Pacific, it ranks second behind lack of physical activity.

Leading workforce issues in Asia Pacific

The ultimate success of the health and wellbeing program depends on the ability of companies to connect with employees around issues that have long been personal to them and their families. However, employer and employee perspectives often diverge. This divergence is most apparent when it comes to identifying sources of stress. Employers highlight work/life balance issues, but employees are focused on three far different areas: adequate pay, the right resources to do their work, a clear understanding of priorities and a work environment that allows them to be effective.

Sources of workplace stress

Employers around the world understand the impact of workforce health on their business; as a result, health and productivity remain a core component of their organisational health strategies. But employers also recognise that their strategies and programs aren’t as effective as they could be. Lack of employee engagement in programs, inadequate budgets, and lack of metrics are hindering program effectiveness and in some areas, rates of program adoption.

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