International SOS Risk Outlook 2022: Increase investment in employee health

Published December 3, 2021, 2:13 PM

by Robert D. Reyes

International SOS Risk Outlook 2022

The latest International SOS Risk Outlook 2022 report revealed that organizations worldwide are set to increase investment in employee health. The report and updated global risk maps also signal that organizations are grappling with an increasingly complex risk landscape.

Nearly 1,000 risk professionals across 75 countries participated in the survey. Insights from the Workforce Resilience Council and International SOS proprietary data indicate that both mental and physical health support will see increased investment with over half (56%) of organizations intending 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%) 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%) of organizations anticipate risks to increase or stay the same next year. In particular, decision-makers responsible for business travel (69%) and international assignees (67%) expect risk levels to increase or stay the same in 2022.

International SOS’ global survey revealed that the top five expected causes of decreased employee productivity in 2022 are COVID-19, mental health issues, natural disasters including extreme weather, transport concerns, and security threats, and civil unrest.

“In 2022 we are facing a layered threat environment. Entering the third year of the pandemic, while COVID-19 and the fallout from lockdowns continue to be major disruptors, other risks are coming back to the fore as travel resumes. With many experts predicting 2022 will be the year of the ‘great resignation’ organizations must act to ensure they provide the necessary support for employees,” explained Dr. Neil Nerwich, Group Medical Director of International SOS.

“Investing in both emotional health and physical wellness support will be essential for employee retention. This will also help to avoid a vicious cycle of productivity issues. With many governments and healthcare systems under increased strain, proactive organizations can lead the way. Those that can best help employees navigate changing working environments, will be rewarded with increased employee resilience, loyalty, and productivity,” he added.

The annual risk outlook study conducted by International SOS exposes the gaps in the protection of employee health and security such as risk perception, mental health, productivity impacts, and operational challenges. The survey is complemented with interpretations and predictions from the Workforce Resilience Council, as well as extensive proprietary data and analysis from International SOS. The Workforce Resilience Council is made up of representative experts of all health, security, and safety fields. The participants in this year’s Council are from a mix of think tanks, associations, advisory boards, NGOs, and IGOs, relevant to the risks of working at home or abroad.

Access the full report via