Asia: The future of work is a hybrid model

| 30 Sep 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has ensured that companies will now have to embrace a hybrid working model going forward, with increased focus on digitalisation and flexible employee benefits, said speakers at the Virtual Asia Employee Benefits Conference held yesterday.

In her special address, Ms Rosaline Koo, founder & CEO, CXA said that digitalisation has accelerated to a completely different curve post-pandemic and that there has been high demand for virtual health solutions. She highlighted the need for companies to focus on an all-in-one platform with an ecosystem for physical, financial and mental health. “Firms need tools to engage employees during lockdowns and wallets can be used to reward them,” she said.

Data, she said, was key to driving the right insurance offer at the right time to the right person and companies need to capture work-life event and health ecosystem data as part of end-to-end customer journeys.

Speaking on the implications of COVID-19 for mental health, Dr Amitabh Deka, head of Wellbeing Solutions, South Asia and Aon Care, Aon, said that the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted every segment of society, especially the emotional and physical well being of individuals. “Employers can use a range of digital offerings as part of their mental health support schemes,” he said. He mentioned that improving mental health and building resilience is a shared responsibility that needs active intervention and is a journey.

Digital healthcare ecosystems

Dr Snehal Patel, CEO and co-founder of online healthcare service company MyDoc, said that telemedicine is here to stay as people are increasingly using telehealth platforms and embracing virtual consultations in the new normal. “The pandemic was a wake-up call and helped to break down the barriers to adoption,” he said. Telehealth has not realised its full potential to date due to a number of obstacles including the lack of reimbursement, lack of infrastructure and security, lack of integration with legacy systems, and resistance to change.

“Positioning a digital front door as the gateway to patient care is essential for setting a barrier against cost escalation,” he added. Digital healthcare ecosystems, he said, are paving the way for further change while providing support during the pandemic.

Speaking on new private-public partnerships (PPPs) to support COVID-19 recovery, Dr Monica Mittal, Innovation Lead, Access Health International, addressed the need for greater private and public initiatives to tide over the current health crisis. “For COVID recovery, the PPP must consider digitisation of healthcare systems and services,” she said. She also spoke about the building blocks of a digital health ecosystem, which include having a national digital health strategy, adequate communication infrastructure and a digitally competent workforce.

Mental health

Speaking on the topic of tackling the mental health impact of the COVID-19 crisis, Ms Joan Low, founder & CEO of ThoughtFull, said three out of four workers have struggled at work due to anxiety caused by COVID-19. “The physical impacts of COVID are visible in everyday life but what we do not see is the mental health impact of the pandemic,” she said. She highlighted pandemic fatigue as a reality that needs to be addressed by all stakeholders and for which a digital-first approach is required.

A panel discussion on “Innovation in Employee Benefits” saw speakers deliberate on harnessing the power of data analytics in wellness programs and the various employee benefits trends in 2021.

The event with the theme "The Future of Work—Benefits That Matter Today and Beyond" was organised by Asia Insurance Review.

Speaking of going hybrid, you might want to read these:

Building a high touch world of agents with high-tech world of digital

Digital hybrid model for Asia insurance agency - Looking beyond the pandemic - McKinsey

Great Eastern: Connecting with Customers in the Digital Universe

P.S: Join 10,000+ financial advisers, leaders, and senior executives on our complimentary VIP Weekly Newsletter

For the full suite of stories and updates, always check in to our Facebook / LinkedIn. Click the following if you want to improve your sales, learn how to be a better leader, or you just need some motivation to kick start your engine.

Do you have a new product or programme to share? Or perhaps you are keen to explore any collaborations with us or our partners?  Reach out to us at