Marketing Featured APAC

Latest report reveals present mental health state among PR practitioners in APAC

Singapore – A new report conducted by market research company YouGov and public relations professional body Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) reveals the current mental health state among the region’s public relation practitioners, including that 48% of respondents say they are going through a particularly stressful period in their life right now, with more than a third saying the pandemic has worsened their mental health.

According to the report, the main triggers of mental ill health faced by respondents are high workload (cited by 34% of respondents); long hours (33%); lack of reward or recognition for good work (29%); and not enough career growth (29%).

Furthermore, the report notes that due to these mental health issues, many respondents have said that they never or rarely exercise (32%), eat a healthy diet (24%) or get enough quality sleep (23%).

There has been a focus on mental health among women PR practitioners, with 39% of them having experienced a loss of interest in activities or social interactions in the last 12 months (versus 27% of men); and 37% have experienced significant changes in sleep schedule or appetite (versus 28% of men).

“The PR profession has been, as ever, resourceful and resilient in the face of the huge professional and personal challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. But that resourcefulness and resilience has its limits,” said Tara Munis, head of PRCA Asia Pacific.

In terms of mental health support from their employers, the report has found that 32% of the region’s employers have not communicated with staff around mental health during the last year – a number rising to 49% in Singapore and 48% in Hong Kong but dropping to 8% in Vietnam and 20% in Thailand.

In addition, 48% of employers do not provide mental health resources to staff. Again, this figure varies significantly, and is more than 50% in Singapore (69%), Hong Kong, Malaysia (both 59%) and Indonesia (52%).

Francis Ingham, director general at PRCA, commented, “Across the world, PR and communications leaders are increasingly recognizing the importance of positive mental health in their organisations, their clients, their teams, and themselves.”

Despite the mental health issue prevalent across the region’s PR practitioners, 39% of respondents say that the COVID-19 pandemic has improved their mental health than say it has worsened it (35%). In addition, 88% of respondents say they would be comfortable talking to a co-worker about their mental health problem.

Outgoing PRCA SEA Chair Lee Nugent said that as employers, they can and must make changes in regards to mental health support, noting that providing information, support and resources is just one part. He also added that they need also to ensure that they are creating a workplace culture where it’s fine for someone who needs help to say so, and then provide access to mental healthcare in the way that many of us already provide access to physical healthcare.

“The research suggests that around 29% of organizations currently offer their people access to initiatives such as EAP programs that provide professional, expert help to those who need it. I’d like to see this figure climb rapidly in the coming months. Just as importantly, it’s our responsibility to also address those critical issues that, perhaps, sit at the heart of the problem. We owe it to our people to put actions in place to deal with endemic over-working, for example, and to address poor people management both where it exists inside our own organizations and in the client/agency dynamic,” Nugent added.

SME Featured APAC

Remote work support top strategy for success for APAC SMEs: report

Singapore – Support for employees working remotely has been rated as the top strategy for SMEs across APAC in regards to their growth and success, new statistics from technology company Cisco shows.

According to the research, 41% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Asia Pacific (APAC) rated it as important as online sales platforms for success and growth. With the shift to a hybrid work environment here to stay, SMEs in the region are expected to continue to invest in technology solutions that support this trend. 

As a result of the business disruptions caused by the pandemic in the past year, using technology to reduce cost is the top business goal for one in five (18%) SMEs across APAC in the next 12 months. This is especially prevalent in mature APAC markets such as Australia, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea, where more than one-quarter (26%) of those surveyed selected it as their top goal compared to 17% in emerging markets India, China, Indonesia, and Thailand. 

Finding alternative channels to sell and deliver products is a challenge that half (50%) of SMEs in APAC are currently facing, followed by improving employee productivity (44%) and boosting revenue (40%). Such conflicts are manifested by SMEs who are seemed overwhelmed by the global pandemic.

Furthermore, improving employee productivity (44%) is the second-largest business challenge that SMEs in APAC are facing. In mature APAC markets, employee engagement (42%) is the top priority for digitization efforts across SMEs.

For Bidhan Roy, managing director and head of commercial and small business for Cisco Asia Pacific, Japan, and Greater China, the study reveals that the pattern of SME revamps in their remote work support has not only been evident in APAC, but also globally. 

“In the current climate, where online is a major consumption channel and dispersed workforces are the norm, our research also finds security and privacy among the chief considerations for SMEs when selecting technology solutions. It is crucial for SMEs, who may have limited resources, to work with technology partners that can help them identify secure, reliable, and value-for-money technology solutions that best fit their needs, as well as provide ongoing, one-stop, and customized support throughout the lifetime of the products and their digital transformation journey,” Roy said.

The findings are based on a survey by Analysys Mason of senior business and IT leaders at 1,600 SMEs with 50 to 150 employees, based in eight markets across APAC.