Hong Kong SMEs deprioritising employee health and wellbeing – QBE

More employers are also expecting less work from home scenarios

Hong Kong SMEs deprioritising employee health and wellbeing – QBE

Life & Health

By Kenneth Araullo

A new study revealed that Hong Kong small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are deprioritising employee health and wellbeing, with those saying it is their most relevant environmental, social and governance (ESG) issue dropping from 50% in 2022 to 43% in 2022.

According to new research from QBE, all top three wellness initiatives undertaken by SMEs saw decreases on a YoY basis. Flexible working hours went from 37% last year to 31%, care packages went from 28% to 27%, and wellness benefits went from 37% to 28%.

With COVID becoming less of an issue for onsite work, SMEs in the state have also started to consider a return to the office for some of their employees. Respondents of the study that expected employees to work from (WFH) dropped from 28% in 2022 to 20% in 2023, while those who believed in hybrid options also dropped slightly to 18% from 2022’s 20%.

The study also found that there is still a disparity in attitudes about the effects of working from home and hybrid working. Forty per cent and 38% of respondents believe that WFH and hybrid working, respectively, have worsened employee mental health. However, 35% and 38% believe that WFH and hybrid working, respectively, have improved mental health.

QBE Asia CEO for North Asia and regional head of distribution Lei Yu said that the results of the study were regrettable and hoped that SMEs would understand the risks they face in neglecting their employees’ wellbeing.

“While there are multiple challenges and risks employers need to manage every day, let us not forget that employees are a company’s most valuable asset and resource. Taking action to support our workforce’s physical and mental wellness through various initiatives and benefits is key to the smooth running of other business activities,” Lei said.

Another recent study from the insurer highlighted the semiconductor shortage as one of the biggest supply chain risks in Asia.

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