Organizations worldwide are set to increase investment in employee health. That’s the findings of the International SOS Risk Outlook 2022. The report and updated global risk maps also signal that organizations are grappling with an increasingly complex risk landscape.
A survey of nearly 1,000 risk professionals across 75 countries, coupled with insight from the Workforce Resilience Council and International SOS proprietary data, indicates that both mental and physical health support will see increased investment in 2022. Over half (56 percent) of organizations intend to increase spending on both.
Organizations are facing a dual challenge on the health front. Along with the physical aspects of COVID-19 safety, the pandemic has significantly contributed to a mental health crisis. Over a third of respondents (36 percent) expect mental health to cause a significant decrease in productivity in 2022.
The need for increased investment comes as organizations expect to face increased risks in 2022. Over two thirds (68 percent) of organizations anticipate risks to increase or stay the same next year. In particular, decision makers responsible for business travel (69 percent) and international assignees (67 percent) expect risk levels to increase or stay the same in 2022.
The top five expected causes of employee productivity decreases in 2022 are:
- Mental health issues
- Natural disasters including extreme weather
- Transport concerns
- Security threats and civil unrest.
Five predictions for 2022
Drawing on the findings of the Risk Outlook survey, the Workforce Resilience Council and the organization’s proprietary data, International SOS’ top five predictions for next year are:
- COVID-19, Long COVID, & mental health will be primary employee productivity disruptors in 2022: escalating absenteeism and continuity issues.
- The infodemic will continue to exacerbate the complex nature of protecting people, while duty of care obligations are reshaped by new health and safety measures, employee expectations, and regulatory compliance.
- Pandemic-disrupted activities will reach a degree of stability by 2023, as organizations utilise health and security risk management as a competitive advantage: supporting employee retention, and willingness to return to activities including business travel.
- Organizations risk being caught off-guard by rapidly changing security environments, as civil disorder and geopolitical volatility will rise above pre-pandemic levels.
- Climate change will increase the frequency and impact of climate-sensitive hazards, such as infectious diseases, extreme weather events, and socioeconomic tensions.