Dr Daniel Fung is the CEO of the Institute of Mental Health in Singapore. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at all three medical schools. Fung is the President of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions and President of the College of Psychiatrists, Academy of Medicine, Singapore. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, he shares critical insights on implementing more inclusive well-being strategies by keeping the workforce front and centre.
Here are some excerpts.
What are your thoughts on employees reclaiming the corporate wellness agenda?
Essentially, this is about finding joy in the work that employees do. This is an important aspect of work because it provides meaning and purpose for the individual and creates harmony in the workplace. Many studies have shown that addressing this will motivate staff and increase returns for companies and organisations.
What are the roadblocks that remain in the organisational wellbeing benefits offered to employees?
Many organisations and their HR departments may not see well-being as a benefit but more as a cost to the organisation. Yet many companies will engage in health insurance. Hopefully, recognising that there is no health without mental health will change this mindset. Unfortunately, the stigma of mental illness also makes companies think that because they don’t want mentally ill people to work with them, they fail to see that every employee needs mental health support.
How can organisations implement well-being programs that are more inclusive and accessible?
Wellbeing programmes must cater to diverse needs and be accessible and not intrusive. One way to do this is to provide it across digital platforms for self-care with enough AI to help sieve issues that require human interaction and support. In addition, Digital platforms that go beyond an app but are part of the work ecosystem, including passive monitoring devices, are much needed to allow an intelligent wellness system that provides feedback when needed.
Digital technologies allow easy access, but it needs to create stickiness to sustain their use to be effective. Apps alone cannot do this without an active programme. Often one method widely used is gamification. The other is creating an ecosystem with a spectrum of possibilities and blurs the line between human interaction and the metaverse.
What are some words of advice on curating more sustainable corporate wellness journeys?
All wellness journeys start with the person at its centre so having a good relationship with staff as well as developing an iterative, co-creative process in building the structure for such a journey is the most important.