PH firms emphasize employee well-being as stress rises during pandemic, survey finds


Posted at Apr 16 2021 12:12 PM

PH firms emphasize employee well-being as stress rises during pandemic, survey finds 1
Customers line up and purchase computers in shops along Gilmore Avenue, a known hub for desktop computers and laptops, in Quezon City on May 30, 2020 in preparation for WFH arrangements due to COVID-19. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA—An overwhelming majority of companies in the country are emphasizing programs catering to their employees' well-being, as stress and mental health issues increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, an advisory firm said Friday.

At least 85 percent of the 122 companies surveyed in the Philippines said they would like to be the employers of choice 3 years from now because of such programs, a study conducted by Willis Towers Watson Philippines said.

"Well-being has become so much in the forefront now. Companies are aiming to differentiate themselves through their well-being programs," Willis Towers Watson Philippines Health and Benefits leader Susan La Chica told ANC.

"When you’re working from home, there’s really this lack of distinction from work time, personal time, work space, personal space. We’re looking at companies really brainstorming and expanding offerings, trying to cater to . . . All these different and diverse employees."

Senior leaderships are also "genuinely" interested in the well-being of their employees and their families, La Chica said.

Respondents also showed that "mental health issues and stress" have grown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Despite high productivity, 63 percent of workers in the Philippines said they feel overworked while 31 percent said they feel exhausted, according to another study by Microsoft called the first annual Work Trend Index called the "The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work - Are we Ready?."

New workplace trends for the new normal have also been identified, as 84 percent of workers surveyed in the Philippines said they want "flexible remote work" options to continue, while 71 percent of business leaders are "redesigning" their office space for hybrid work, Microsoft said.

At least 52 percent in the Philippines said they're planning to move to a new location this year, it added.

Forty-two percent of respondents and 49 percent of so-called Gen-Zs in the country said they're likely to consider leaving their employers this year.

Businesses should invest in space and technology to successfully bridge the physical and digital worlds, combat digital exhaustion from the top, prioritize rebuilding social capital and culture, and "rethink employee experience" to compete for the best talent, Microsoft said.

Many businesses in the Philippines have shifted to flexible work arrangements since last year, after strict COVID-19 restrictions were imposed. 

While some found it easier to work from home, eliminating long commutes, others have confused work and living spaces, as well as office hours and personal time.