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Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 21:57
Asia-Pacific firms prioritize employee wellness
By Zhou Mo
Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 21:57 By Zhou Mo

In this June 28, 2016 photo, window cleaners, top center, work on the side of a building in the Central district of Hong Kong. According to a report by Colliers International, employers in the Asia-Pacific region are putting more effort into workplace wellness. (ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP)

SHENZHEN – Employers in the Asia-Pacific region are putting more effort into workplace wellness as health-awareness among employees grows, according to a report by Colliers International.

“In Asia-Pacific and globally, the promotion of wellness in the workplace is shifting from a corporate social responsibility consideration to a strategic priority as more companies recognize the role it plays in attracting and retaining staff, and driving business results,” Victoria Gilbert, associate director of wellness consulting at Colliers International Asia Pacific, said.

The change is driven by rising awareness and a growing focus on wellness, as well as a diminishing tolerance among employees and the broader public for polluted, substandard or stress-inducing environments, the report said.

The data around employee health and well-being makes it clear that Asia-Pacific has some way to go in the pursuit of workplace wellness. 

Victoria Gilbert, Colliers International Asia Pacific

A recent survey by insurer Cigna of countries across the region showed 66 percent of respondents said it was important that their employer had a wellness program in place; 59 percent said the presence of such a program would impact their decision on whether to join an employer.

From a broader perspective, the Colliers International report said, there has been a significant uptake and rapid growth of wellness-building projects in both developed and emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific over the past few years.

Economies in the region are accelerating the pace at which they start projects that meet The WELL Building Standard, an international benchmark launched in 2014 by the International WELL Building Institute.

Australia is a frontrunner in the field but the Chinese mainland is emerging as one of the region’s most dynamic WELL building adopters, with Shanghai boasting the greatest number of registered WELL projects of any city worldwide.

Developed markets such as Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore are also continuing efforts to expand WELL project track records.

“The data around employee health and well-being makes it clear that Asia-Pacific has some way to go in the pursuit of workplace wellness,” Gilbert said.

“But with better buildings coming online, related technologies growing more sophisticated and international standards taking root in developed and emerging markets alike, the outlook for the region is bright.”

A survey by insurer AIA last year showed companies in Hong Kong lost an average 70 days’ productivity each year because of employee health issues; the number for Australia was 45 days.

A GSK Global Healthcare study shows pain-related productivity losses cost companies across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines $44.6 billion in 2016, accounting for 2.4 percent of the countries’ combined GDP.

sally@chinadailyhk.com

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