January 21, 2020

Singapore – prioritising wellness in a tech haven

Alex Bennett
Head of Employee Benefits

In the first half of 2019, Singapore attracted a staggering $453m worth of fintech investment. This influx of finance is quadruple what was invested into the city-state from the same period in 2018, and cemented the Singapore's position as a fintech leader, with Thomson Reuters and The Institute of Financial Services Zug ranking Singapore the number one fintech hub in the word right now.

If you take a step back from finance and look at the wider technology picture, Singapore has also quickly established itself as a world class tech hub over the last 3-5 years, with 80 of the world’s top 100 tech firms setting up shop in the city including expanding offices from Google, Amazon, Facebook and Alibaba.

Amid such enormous tech growth, the Singaporean government has demonstrated long-term commitment to further build upon this growth. Last month they announced a new Tech@SG program launching in 2019 Q4, providing financial support for companies in medtech, biotech, cleantech, fintech and agritech, easing visa requirements to attract talent to the region in those specialities.

With so much tech investment, combined with a rather small but densely populated landmass, it’s unsurprising that many of Singapore’s 5.8m inhabitants work in technology. However, its 'tech boom' has also raised growing concerns around wellness.

The fact is that people’s use of technology has spanned far beyond the workplace, infiltrating all parts of Singaporean society. Some facts:

-        79% of the population has at least one social media account; 4th highest in the world

-        3hrs, 12ms are spent on a phone daily; top 10% in the world

-        52% use ride-hailing services' top 5% in the world

The above stats are indicative of a tech-centric population. However a recent study by Dentsu Aegis Network found that this same population felt their psychological needs were not being addressed by the technology that has become so intertwined with their day-to-day lives.

The problem is two-fold. At an average of 44.9 hour of hours per work, Singapore’s workforce has some of the longest hours in the developed world. This, coupled with a hyper-connected, tech-centric society has seen negative impacts on exercise, holidays taken, sleep, stress, and mental health.

In the face of this, businesses are increasingly looking for solutions to improve employee wellness.

In the last year, initiatives to develop better mental and physical well-being such as in-house meditation and mindfulness have rapidly become common place in many businesses within the city-state. Firms like Willis Towers Watson have created dedicated wellness rooms where employees can have short massages or power naps in during the workday. Others like Recruitment specialists Robert Half host regular exercise classes for all employees to participate in.

A greater emphasis upon wellness has also given rise to a number of companies leveraging mobile technology, rather than rejecting it as part of the problem, to help provide employees with the wellness support they need. Headspace and Calm are two examples of simple, easy-to-use apps which companies can seamlessly distribute to their workforce. They provide the threefold benefits of reducing stress, improving awareness of well-being and creating a greater sense of loyalty amongst employees to their companies for providing valuable, personal services.

Like Headspace and Calm, Upgrade Pack is part of this digital offering that can significantly aid employee wellness. Alongside the value of exclusive and discounted flight and hotel upgrades, Upgrade Pack provides brands with a differentiated employee perk that incentivises their staff to make the very best of their travel experiences.

We’re also helping employers tackle a wider issue of their staff not taking their full annual leave entitlement. In 2018, 768 million vacation days went unused in the US alone, with 55% of workers not taking their full allowance. Across many companies, employees feel "too busy" to take their full holiday quota, or even worse, feel like they can't, a.k.a. Guilty Vacation Syndrome.

By combining a rewarding user experience with what people love the most – travel – we’ve already seen how Upgrade Pack can help employees place greater value on their precious holiday time, improving their work life balance and wellness.

To find out how you can bring Upgrade Pack to your employees, check out the employee benefits section of our website, or email us to start the conversation at partners@upgradepack.com.

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