Many Singapore businesses are now beginning to recognise the numerous benefits of a healthier and fitter staff. In line with this, the government has recently set up initiatives in order to help out. A great example of this is the Workplace Health Promotion Grant, which helps prevent the financial expenses be placed solely on the shoulders of the business owner. As at August 2014, every company that’s registered in Singapore and employs at least 5 workers can receive up to $10,000 for sports programs, and the money can cover up to 50% of the total cost. This financial assistance is a welcome boon for small businesses which may not have the necessary capital to invest in corporate fitness programs. For targetted intervention such as Weight Management Programme, the $5000 grant is given to companies at 100% (No costs towards companies, it’s fully funded by HPB). For those interested to learn more, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com
The grant can be utilised in a number of ways:
General Health Programs
The money for general health programs can be used in several ways. It can be used for consultancy services, and it can also be used to assess health risks among the workforce. The health of the workers can be screened, and surveys about lifestyle and health practices can be undertaken so that specific problems can be identified and addressed. Health education and physical training can be implemented, and the grant may also be used to purchase health and fitness equipment for the workplace.
Essentially, these programs should include the mainstays of any proper health regimen: regular exercise coupled with a nutritious diet.
Once specific health problems are identified, measures can be taken to solve them. The most common targeted interventions include:
- Weight management. The Lion City is experiencing a growing problem regarding obesity, which is a contributing risk factor for so many serious ailments like heart disease. In 2004, about 7% of the adults from 18 to 69 were obese. By 2010, that percentage had risen to almost 11%. The weight management program includes physical activities and nutritional education. The overweight can be identified through the BMI index, and a goal of about 5% weight loss over 3 to 6 months can be set.
- Smoking cessation. Despite the Singaporean tax hikes on cigarettes, many adults still smoke a lot. The 2010 National Health Survey showed that the number of smokers have increased, with about 14.3% of the adult population still addicted to smoking. A study by the NUS estimated that smoking-related illnesses cost between $700 million and $800 million, with every smoker costing their company $2,200 per year.
The intervention can include talks, individual and group counselling, and group support networks. Smokers can be encouraged to quit, with therapy and pharmacotherapy support available.
- Chronic disease management. About one in four Singaporean has at least one chronic ailment, and these conditions can worsen considerably when undetected or left untreated. Since about 2 out of every 3 Singaporeans are employed, this is a matter of some concern for the business sector. Employees who have been identified with a chronic ailment should be strongly encouraged to participate, so that they can learn proper management, implement proper lifestyle changes, and also adhere to medication recommendations.
Mental Health Initiatives
It’s not all about the body; sometimes the mind must also be addressed. Corporate fitness should also cover mental health issues and workers should be encouraged to participate in mental health educational activities such as talks and workshops regarding metal wellbeing and illnesses. Some type of counselling should be available for employees, and activities that promote mental health in the workplace should be started up.
Of course, even something as simple as regular exercise and proper diet can do wonders for one’s mental wellbeing. Exercise can be invigorating yet relaxing, and a proper diet can help workers handle stress and other mental hurdles much more effectively.
It’s a sad fact that while so many businesses in the Lion City recognise how beneficial a fitness trainer can be for their employees, not all of them have the capital to invest in such personal training programs. But with the Workplace Health Promotion Grant, more companies may now be able to afford the services of a personal trainer for their employees. It’s a good thing that the Singaporean government is working hand in hand with the business sector in helping to ensure the good health of the workforce.
Yours in health,