REGIONAL OVERVIEW

FINDINGS

An essential overview of employee well-being, The Healthiest Workplace Survey fosters awareness among employers in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand of the value of workplace health and well-being, while facilitating a greater understanding of the efficacy of health interventions in the workplace.

HEALTH CONDITIONS

An average of 83% of all respondents in the survey reported a musculoskeletal condition in the last year.

STRESS

All markets in the survey all reported similar levels of stress, with average of 51% suffering from one or more work-related stress factors.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

A lack of physical inactivity was reported by more than 38% of respondents in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand, compared to just 10% of those surveyed in Australia.

PRODUCTIVITY

There is relatively high workplace productivity loss in Asia compared to Australia, shown particularly by employees between the ages of 26 and 30.

INSIGHT HIGHLIGHTS

KEY FINDINGS

From the 340 organisations of various sizes and sectors across four markets which took part in the 2018 survey, 24,187 employees completed the survey. Overall, mental health, sleep, and eating a healthy diet presented as the major challenges.

Increasingly, researches are being conducted into the impact of people’s lifestyle choices on their health, productivity and mortality. Global Health Observatory (GHO) data in 2016 by World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that 71% of all global deaths were due to noncommunicable diseases* (NCD), while research conducted using Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality data has shown that lifestyle behaviours are significant drivers of short-term productivity loss. As such, supporting employees to make healthier choices should be a critical part of any Human Resources and productivity management strategy in any organisation.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCD), also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviours factors. The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes. (Source: World Health Organisation NCD fact sheet 2018)

HEALTH AND WELLBEING

Obesity continues to rise across the region. Australia reported the highest percentage (17.6%) of employees who are obese, although Malaysia was not far behind with 16.6%. Since the 2017 survey, physical activity has increased across the markets, but there is still has a room for further improvement since 38% of respondents in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand reported physical inactivity compared to Australia where just 9.8% of respondents were physically inactive.

Eating healthy diet is a growing concern compared to 2017 results, with an alarming 89.8% of employees admitting they do not eat a healthy diet across Asia, compared to 54.1% of respondents from Australia.

A major driver of poor health and well-being was found to be musculoskeletal conditions — around 84% of all respondents in the survey reported a condition in 2018 survey. There are some concerns around blood pressure in the Asia-Pacific countries surveyed, but this may be a function of better screening in some markets, which may lead to more accurate information.

PRODUCTIVITY AND MENTAL HEALTH

There is relatively high workplace productivity loss in the Asian markets surveyed compared to Australia, shown particularly by employees between the ages of 26 and 30. More senior jobs typically reported less productivity loss across the survey. Similar to 2017, Australia shows healthier sleeping patterns compared to other markets in Asia, where almost half of respondents reported sleeping fewer than seven hours a night.

Of the Asian countries, depression rates are broadly similar to those of 2017 with Malaysia showing some improvement and a low prevalence of depression in Thailand.

Although employees in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand had lower contracted hours than their Australian counterparts, they worked on average 12 hours over those hours.

FINANCIAL CONCERNS ARE A WIDESPREAD ISSUE

In the Asia-Pacific context, stress levels remain comparable to previous years – however, financial concerns seem to be increasing and are particularly high in Thailand (80%).

Respondents reported financial concerns in broadly similar numbers across the region. In Australia, 59% of respondents reported financial concerns, lowest among all with Hong Kong at 60% followed by Malaysia with 68%. In all markets, financial concerns were one of the critical factors driving sound mental health.

2018 RESULTS

FINDINGS

The Healthiest Workplace Survey by AIA Vitality is a comprehensive survey of employees’ health, providing employers in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore with an essential overview of their employees’ wellbeing. The survey creates an awareness of the importance of workplace health and wellbeing and gives employers a greater understanding of the efficacy of their companies’ health interventions in the workplace.

HEALTH CONDITIONS

Around 80% of all respondents in the survey reported a musculoskeletal condition in the last year.

STRESS

Apart from Singapore where reports were lower, other countries in the survey all reported similar levels of work-related stress.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

A lack of physical activity was reported by more than 60% of respondents in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, compared to 36% in Australia.

PRODUCTIVITY

There is relatively high workplace productivity loss in Asia compared to Australia, shown particularly by employees between the ages of 26 and 30.

FULL REPORT

KEY FINDINGS

From 214 organisations of various sizes and sectors across 4 markets which took part in the 2017 survey, 10,001 employees completed the survey. Overall, mental health, sleep and physical inactivity presented as the major challenges..

HEALTH AND WELLBEING

Obesity is on the rise across the board. Australia had the highest percentage (15.2%) of employees who are obese, although Malaysia is not far behind with 12.2%. A lack of physical activity was reported by more than 60% of respondents in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, compared to 36% in Australia, where more people regularly ate fruit and vegetables than in the Asia-Pacific countries surveyed. However, more people consumed alcohol in Australia (16.2%) than in the other three countries, where just 1% of those surveyed reported drinking more than 14 units a week.

A major driver of poor health and wellbeing was found to be musculoskeletal conditions — around 80% of all respondents in the survey reported a condition in the last year. There are some concerns around blood pressure in the Asia-Pacific countries surveyed, but this may be a function of better screening in Malaysia and Singapore, which may lead to more accurate information.

ASIAN COUNTRIES HAVE LONGER WORKING HOURS BUT SHOW GREATER PRODUCTIVITY LOSS

There is relatively high workplace productivity loss in the Asia-Pacific countries surveyed compared to Australia, shown particularly by employees between the ages of 26 and 30. More senior jobs typically reported less productivity loss across the survey. Depression appears a particular issue in sectors such as construction and the financial and insurance sector, which report high productivity loss. It is clear that young people struggle the most with depression, with percentages peaking in the 18-26 demographic. Self-reported symptoms of depression were reported by up to 12.4% of respondents in Hong Kong.

Although employees in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia had lower contracted hours than their Australian counterparts, they worked on average 12 hours over those hours. Australia showed very different sleep patterns compared to Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, where at least half of respondents reported sleeping fewer than seven hours a night.

STRESS AND FINANCIAL WORRIES ARE A WIDESPREAD ISSUE

Stress at work was comparatively lower in Singapore than the other countries in the survey, which all reported similar levels of work-related stress. In Hong Kong, 64% of respondents reported at least one aspect of work-related stress, in Singapore it was 43% and in Malaysia, 53%.

Bullying in the workplace is a far bigger problem in Hong Kong where 18.6% of respondents reported having experienced bullying, compared to Australia (8.9%) where it is relatively rare.

Respondents reported financial concerns in broadly similar numbers across the Asia-Pacific context. Hong Kong is at 57%, slightly below Malaysia and Singapore at 63% and 61%, respectively. In Australia, about 60% of employees report some degree of financial concern. In all markets, the perception of financial concern was prevalent.

2017 RESULTS

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