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What’s the point of creating a culture of wellness in the workplace? And what does wellness even mean?

Did you know that the average person in Asia works almost 50 hours a week? With that kind of grind, how can we make sure our employees are happy, healthy, and productive? Whether you’re just starting to prioritise wellness or you’ve already implemented workplace programs, these strategies will help you create a healthy and thriving workplace culture that drives success.

From a 50,000 ft view, the culture of long working hours across the Asia Pacific is a major contributor to work-related stress and performance at work. In Hong Kong, 20% of the city’s workforce work 55 hours a week, while in Singapore and Malaysia employees work an average of 12 hours beyond their contracted hours. Recorded workplace productivity has dropped due to work-related stress and medical claims for non-communicable diseases has escalated in areas such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines. Increasing concerns about job security coupled with economic and political uncertainty have accelerated levels of stress in recent years. Research shows how the risk of chronic illness is higher among individuals who experience chronic stress. In response, employers in Asia are continuing programs related to physical health, and social and emotional wellbeing programs are emerging as a focus even more now than in previous years.

Today, leading organisations are embracing the growing need for a holistic approach to wellbeing, which integrates the physical, financial, emotional, and social aspects of a person’s health. 85% of employers are now building strategies for wellbeing and inclusion in the workplace, 2019/2020 Benefit Trends survey found.

If workplace productivity is a high priority in your company, wellbeing must be too. When wellness is explicitly addressed through initiatives and programs on an organisational level, employees feel valued across the board and are given the resources to take care of their own health. People dedicate one-third of their lives working. When chronic stress is the norm, high turnover rate, decreased productivity, and an unsustainable—perhaps even toxic—team culture forms. On the other hand, when wellbeing is integrated into the workplace, employees feel happier, more loyal, and more productive and feel empowered to contribute to their workplace.

However, while wellness initiatives encourage employees to live healthier lifestyles, employees might not actually resonate with their employers’ initiatives. Building frameworks that are sustainable and effective involves:

  • Holistic wellness initiatives: comprehensive programs that address pillars of holistic wellness (physical, emotional, social, and financial) as well as employees’ actual pain points with empathy and solutions that meet them where they are
  • Leadership: commitment level, policies, and resource distribution
  • Infrastructure: health assessments and screenings, and centralised ecosystem
  • Consistently communicating with employees
  • Clear measurements and on-going evaluation of program effectiveness

Discover where your wellness programs can be strengthened, and allow your employees’ feedback to inform the solutions you need to provide. When employees feel heard, they are more likely to value and engage with your programs.

Read more:



Chua, P. (2019, December 29). Wellbeing emerges as a priority for employers in Asia Pacific. WTW. Retrieved from

Yeung, O., & Johnston, K. (2019). (rep.). Improving Workplace Wellness in Asia: A Business Case, Approaches, and Successful Practices (pp. 1–28). Philippines, Mandaluyong: Asian Development Bank. Retrieved 2023.

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