The Ministry of Health (MOH) recently announced major reforms to Singapore’s healthcare system, shifting the national focus towards preventive care.
Given the number of hours Singaporean workers clock at the workplace, a key strategy in order to reach our healthcare goals will involve working with employers to enhance the welfare of their workers, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung revealed earlier this year.
He said: “I believe preventive care opens up far more opportunities for innovation and participation by enterprises and industries, and we have a great opportunity to build a strong public-private-people partnership for health.”
So what does this mean at the workplace?
In fact, a survey by software company Oracle found nearly 70% of Singaporeans said 2021 was their most stressful year at work, with more than half also struggling with mental health at work compared to 2020.
Given a healthier workforce is obviously more productive, it makes total sense for companies to work with MOH to ensure the physical and mental wellness of employees.
Minister Ong said:
“With employees now returning to workplaces, I hope companies will double down on reintroducing many of these programmes for self-care, fitness and wellness.”
Companies will be encouraged to get their employees to enroll in a HealthierSG programme when it is unveiled next year, he added.
Mental health matters
In May, Singapore’s Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Wellbeing also proposed five recommendations to strengthen workplace wellbeing measures below:
- Improve mental wellbeing support systems and work-life harmony strategies for employees in general (including persons with mental health conditions), by partnering with employers to increase awareness of mental health resources, and enhance support networks and assistance;
- Standardise assessment and referral frameworks for all employment support agencies to provide customised employment support services;
- Improve access to training for persons with mental health conditions;
- Increase the number and variety of job opportunities available to persons with mental health conditions, and
- Equip employers, human resource practitioners, supervisors, and colleagues with knowledge on supporting persons with mental health conditions and creating inclusive workplaces, through support services and resources such as helplines and consultancy clinics.
As such, Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkiffli announced a new collaboration that will reach out to businesses to promote the better mental and physical well-being of workers, through dialogues and cheaper healthcare products.
During his speech, he shared how the healthcare issues for Singaporean workers cannot be solved by just one agency or sector alone, but also needs citizens with private and public sectors to work hand-in-hand.
The new collaboration announced between Lutheran Community Care Services (LCCS) with local pharmaceutical manufacturer ICM Pharma is a good example of this, he added. Both parties will take healthcare goods to workplaces and encourage wellness practices such as conflict management and building relationship.
LCCS will also connect with employees via dialogues, and the project aims to work with 100 companies by the end of next year. It’s executive director Justin Mui said to the Straits Times: “Through the supplying of healthcare products for employees, employers demonstrate that the workplace culture emphasises the well-being of staff.”
In addition, LCCS also launched a Workforce Skills Qualifications course on building workplace relationships from all sectors to build a positive workplace culture, to improve employee’ health and wellness.
But we have to play our part as well!
While these private-public collaborations are in the works, individuals and employees must also play our part to maintain our personal health. Small details like drinking enough water to stay hydrated, taking regular breaks to rest your eyes, and even stretching while at your desk can matter!
In fact, the most common occupational health problem in Singapore, according to MOM’s Workplace Safety and Health report in 2020, was work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD) with 328 cases, which include back injuries due to ergonomic risks!
To help you maintain the best environment and habits for your own workplace wellness, we’ve pulled together this list of stories below. Give them a read and stay fit and healthy!