Financial concerns among Malaysians surpass health

by AZALEA AZUAR / Pic by BLOOMBERG

AMID the total lockdown which is being enforced to bring down Covid-19 infections, Malaysians are more concerned about their financial security than their health.

According to Employment Hero’s 2021 report titled “The Impact of Covid-19 on Business Owners And Employees” that was based on an analysis of more than 1,000 Malaysian employers and employees, 71% of Malaysian employees are worried about their financial wellbeing, while 66% are worried about their physical health and 62% with their mental health.

Despite that, when compared to other countries, Malaysians are the most concerned about their mental health (62%), followed by 50% of the workforce in Singapore, the UK (49%), New Zealand (46%) and Australia (46%).

“The significant mismatch between rising demand for mental health support and what is currently offered by employers is hard to ignore,” Employment Hero said in the report.

Although 74% of employers said they are supportive of their employees’ mental health, only 56% of employees agree.

Similarly, 59% of employers said they have the tools to measure their staff’s mental health, but only 48% of employees agreed to this.

About 70% of Malaysian employees hope they can have a healthy work-life balance.

Meanwhile, 57% would like to have company-provided counselling services, and 55% wanted to be given more health and wellness benefits.

The survey also revealed the importance of well-managed communications and transitions to work from home (WFH).

Before the pandemic, 59% of those who had been working remotely reported being stressed due to the pandemic, many have been forced to WFH, where 64% reported being stressed with the arrangement.

More than half of Malaysian employers (63%) have said they would be focusing on mental health in their organisation this year.

Employment Hero CEO and co-founder Ben Thompson said companies that want their to continue practising WFH or work flexibly post-Covid-19 would need to prioritise work-life balance, mental health and overall employee wellness initiatives.

“Lack of clear structures, workflows and open communications across the organisation is adding unnecessary stress and strain on employees who are already struggling to cope with general pandemic-related anxiety,” he said.

He added that employees who were working remotely before the Covid-19 pandemic were faring much better due to the right design and execution of remote working structures.

“With remote working still very much a necessity in this part of the world — and possibly the future — employers must take action and put the right guidelines and communications channels in place to ensure their employees’ wellbeing,” Thompson concluded.