Singapore is regularly cited to have one of the longest working hours and most stressful lifestyles globally. In fact, the latest Labour Force in Singapore 2020 report depicted that employees here worked a total of 45.4 hours – which is slightly less than the 45.8 hours worked in 2019.
If employees spend their time hunched over glowing screens, with irregular eating/ sleeping schedules and not enough exercise, their health, motivation and ultimately, productivity, will be jeopardised.
Businesses have a responsibility to their employees, and also benefit in return from their employees’ good health. The Health Promotion Board’s (HPB) Workplace Outreach Wellness (WOW) programme supports businesses in their goals towards creating a healthier, more engaged workforce. We highlight some ways to start harnessing the benefits of the Workplace Outreach Wellness programme.
#1 Understanding The Workplace Outreach Wellness
The WOW programme was created with businesses in mind, boasting a suite of impactful and timely health programmes brought to companies’ doorsteps. It aggregates demand for more cost-effective Wellness programmes, as well as draws down impactful health programmes through a panel of service providers (PSPs) in a hassle-free manner. Through the WOW programme, companies will be able to purchase pre-approved topics at a co-funded rate; topics from the following programme category will be available:
(a) Chronic disease screening and follow-up
(b) General workplace health programmes (physical activity, nutrition, mental wellbeing, ergonomics workshops)
(c) Targeted workplace and health programmes (weight management, chronic disease management, smoking cessation)
The WOW programme will be administered through two Project Managers — Integrated Health Plans Pte Ltd (IHP) and MHC Medical Network Pte Ltd, as appointed by the HPB.
The following categories of businesses are eligible for the programme under IHP.
#i Locally-incorporated SMEs holding UEN (Unique Entity Number). They must have either a workforce of no more than 200 staff, or an annual sales turnover of no more than $100 million.
#ii Locally-incorporated non-SMEs holding a UEN. They must have a workforce of no fewer than 200 staff, and an annual sales turnover of no less than $100 million. Funding by HPB in these cases is capped at $7,000 for a year.
#iii Locally-incorporated non-profit/not-for-profit organisation/ trade unions, chambers and/or associations.
The programme includes, but is not limited to, workshops, health screenings and exercise classes.
Note: Kindly contact MHC for details on eligibility for their WOW programmes.
#2 Know the Programmes
IHP WOW Programmes
IHP’s programmes are classified into eight categories. Below are some examples of what these programme types offer.
One perk of note is the employee chronic disease screenings. These screenings test blood pressure, BMI, fasting blood cholesterol and fasting blood glucose. Employees with abnormal results are eligible for a follow-up (basic needs assessment).
Physical activities (PA) include Muay Thai, Pilates, yoga, tabata (high-intensity interval training) and self-defense cardio classes. Nutrition workshops introduce cancer-fighting foods, the healthier selections at hawker centres and ways to curb overeating during holiday feasts. Mental wellbeing workshops feature basic counselling for supervisors and using arts to manage stress. Ergonomics workshops teach employees about relieving muscle tension, work-related musculoskeletal diseases and posture correction exercises.
Targeted Intervention covers the weight management, chronic disease management and smoking cessation programmes. Weight management programmes discuss topics such as the habits you can easily incorporate into daily life and the role fasting plays in a weight watcher’s diet. Chronic disease management informs employees on subject matters like prediabetes and a diet designed to bring down high blood pressure. Smoking cessation talks will be conducted onsite as there are no virtual mode of conduct.
MHC WOW Programmes
HPB’s second Project Manager, MHC, has partnered with Verita Healthcare Group Limited to create the programmes “Stay Healthy with nBuddy” and “Lose Weight with nBuddy”. nBuddy is an app promoting a healthy diet, an active lifestyle, and positive behavioural change. It uses behavioral science, dietetics and mobile technology as its foundation.
Stay Healthy is a programme for pre-diabetic and diabetic individuals, in which nBuddy will be used to monitor participants’ carbohydrate and sugar intake, weight and blood glucose monitoring. In Lose Weight, on the other hand, nBuddy keeps track of your activities and weight loss, while providing you access to a local food database.
There are two 12-week sessions by Fitness & Health International, for Weight Management and Chronic Disease Management respectively. They include exercise classes, e-tips, workshops, online quizzes and online challenges. The Smoking Cessation Programme is run in a similar format — it, too, offers workshops, e-tips and online quizzes, though the programme lasts six weeks instead of 12. Talks cover subjects such as sleep solutions, nutrition myths, self-confidence and teamwork.
These cover circuit exercises, back/ neck care and body sculpting. There is a heavy focus on yoga — Yin yoga, power yoga, traditional yoga, dynamic yoga and yoga stretching are all available.
#3 How Much Funding You Get
The HPB co-funds WOW programmes, some of which are shown below. There is usually a minimum attendance requirement to qualify for the co-funding.
Note: Please contact the IHPs for the full updated list of WOW programmes.
For example, the first programme in the table above – Gratitude for a Happier and Healthier Mind costs $549. With co-funding of $350, employers will need to fork out the remaining $199.
For some programmes, there is also an additional headcount criterion. For example, for Kickboxing, if fewer than 15 pax are in attendance, the co-funding is just $9 per person. This means that if there is only 10 pax for the session, HPB will co-fund $90 ($9 x 10).
|Type of Programme||Co-funding|
|Needs Assessment||Chronic disease screening and follow-up: $35 per pax. Eligible for Singapore citizens and Singaporean PRs (40 years old and above).|
|Broad-based Programmes||PA programmes: $135 per one-hour session (≥15pax) or $9 per pax per one-hour session (<15pax)|
Nutrition workshops: $260 per one-hour session (≥15 pax)
Mental wellbeing workshops: $350 per one-hour session (≥15 pax)
Ergonomics workshops: $135 per one-hour session (≥15 pax)
|Targeted Interventions||Weight Management Programme: $210 per pax|
Chronic Disease Management Programme: $210 per pax
Smoking Cessation Programme: $350 per pax
#4 Reaching Out To Programme Providers
To get started with the WOW programme, employers need to submit an application to IHP, or connect with the appointed Project Managers via the contacts below.
IHP tel: +65 6715 6188
IHP email: [email protected]
MHC email: [email protected]
#5 Planning a Programme Calendar
Employers should first understand their employees’ health needs with screening, and survey employees on which programmes employees are most interested in. The Targeted Intervention programmes can be offered on a needs basis, i.e. if there are people in your organisation who feel they need support to quit smoking or eat healthier. Employers can then decide which programmes would be the most relevant for their team.
IHP requires that participating companies hold at least one session of chronic disease screenings and follow-ups, four physical activity sessions, one nutrition workshop, one mental wellbeing workshop and one ergonomics workshop. This can be a good template to think about the frequency/types of wellness programmes you can provide for your employees.
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