Sep 18 2020

How COVID is Proving That Data-Driven Wellbeing is a Necessity

“Remote working brings a raft of challenges, from engagement to Quarantine Fatigue; while COVID leaves everyone with less access to Specialist Care. Here, we explore these issues and how data-driven Wellbeing can keep you resilient to these challenges”

by  Dr Dilraj Kalsi & Sukh Kalsi, Founders, Kalsi and Kalsi


Remote working brings a raft of challenges, from engagement to Quarantine Fatigue; while COVID leaves everyone with less access to Specialist Care. Here, we explore these issues and how data-driven Wellbeing can keep you resilient to these challenges and any volatile situations in future.


Why should enterprises focus on Employee Wellbeing?

Engagement was always tough, but remote working makes it 10x harder. With experts saying this situation could last at least another 18 months, remote working is here to stay.

Data repeatedly affirms that a thorough engagement strategy must include Wellbeing:

  1. A British Heart Foundation study shows that providing Wellbeing increases the likelihood of having fully engaged employees by 8 times; 
  2. Gallup’s longitudinal studies show teams in the upper quartile of engagement have 21% greater productivity, 37% less absenteeism and 65% less staff turnover. 

With material impact on key business outcomes, a coherent Wellbeing strategy is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity. 


Remote working poses a health challenge itself. COVID Quarantine Fatigue is a new phenomenon with a vague array of symptoms ranging from stress, irritability and anxiety through to changes in appetite and difficulty sleeping. It seems somewhat similar to Burnout. Whilst we do not know much about the full effects we do know that loneliness is as bad for your health as 15 cigarettes per day (due to increasing risks of high blood pressure, dementia and depression). 


With material impact on key business outcomes, a coherent Wellbeing strategy is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity.

Remote working poses a health challenge itself. COVID Quarantine Fatigue is a new phenomenon with a vague array of symptoms ranging from stress, irritability and anxiety through to changes in appetite and difficulty sleeping. It seems somewhat similar to Burnout. Whilst we do not know much about the full effects we do know that loneliness is as bad for your health as 15 cigarettes per day (due to increasing risks of high blood pressure, dementia and depression). 


With all healthcare resources funneled to COVID, people have less access to Specialist Care. In the UK, a 20% reduction means that people with long-term conditions will likely deteriorate without appropriate support in this time. For example, before COVID people with Rheumatoid Arthritis would have to give up work within 5 years of diagnosis on average. Without access to care this may accelerate, adversely impacting productivity and employers. 


To summarise, a more-of-the-same approach will lead to employees becoming disengaged, unproductive and unhealthy. If left unchecked, health claims will likely increase and attrition may rise. Laggards will have difficulty in attracting talent. The stark reality is that employers who get Wellbeing right at this time will come out of COVID significantly better off.


How does data-driven Wellbeing address these challenges?

Let’s go back to the basics: you cannot improve what you do not measure. To measure Employee Wellbeing, you need to use medically-validated health-related quality of life surveys which enable you to take a scientific approach. These surveys will provide both enterprises and employees with an understanding of their mental, physical and emotional health priorities.

By analysing trends in this data you can measure the impact of your Wellbeing initiatives. In turn, you can retain effective initiatives, discontinue ineffective initiatives and test new ones to optimise your entire programme from both health and cost perspectives.

These surveys also enable personalisation of your Wellbeing programme for employees. This is key to driving uptake. On average less than 1 in 4 employees participate despite >80% saying they would if the programmes were more relevant. Survey results can be used to generate personalised suggestions so that each employee is made aware of the right initiative at the right time.

Since surveys like this have been shown in medical research to predict long-term health outcomes, they can be leveraged to prevent disease. If you had been running these surveys prior to the onset of COVID, you would have caught the downtrend in mental and emotional health in your workforce and devised a proactive strategy to tackle Quarantine Fatigue by now.

The common pushback on Wellbeing has typically been the lack of demonstrable ROI. However, by combining this survey data with productivity, absenteeism and attrition metrics, you can optimise Wellbeing programmes for business impact as well as health.


To summarise, direct measurement of Wellbeing is the gateway to addressing many workforce challenges at this highly uncertain time. We may be in the hardest time our generation will remember, but this also presents the greatest opportunity to prioritise the most important thing, health, in a way that is sustainable and aligned with business goals.


Kalsi & Kalsi help companies drive performance through world-class Wellbeing using the best of Lifestyle Medicine, Behavioural Change and Data Analytics. K&K have designed proprietary processes enabling companies to: 

  1. Help their workforce overcome COVID Quarantine Fatigue and become Resilient, Engaged and Productive in 12 weeks
  2. Achieve >80% Wellness programme participation in 8 weeks
  3. Realise 10x ROI on Wellbeing programmes in 12 months

by combining employee health tracking through medically-validated surveys with personalised recommendations and internal business data to enable continuous improvement of employee health, engagement, productivity and retention. 



Dilraj Kalsi is a Doctor, Academic and Entrepreneur. He trained at the University of Oxford, the top medical school in the world, where he continues to publish with colleagues about Patient Empowerment. He is a Lecturer in Digital Health at the University of Warwick and uses Lifestyle Medicine to help patients reverse disease in his online clinic Hippocrates Lounge.

Shocked that 80% of health outcomes are due to health behaviors, socioeconomic background and physical environment, Dilraj is focused on Health at Work. Time and again, he has found that wellbeing programmes lack the outcome metrics expected in the medical and business worlds. Using lifestyle, behavioral and digital health, he is ushering in a new era of Preventative Health Care. 

Connect with Dr. Dilraj on LinkedIn


Sukh Kalsi has donned hats as a Management Consultant, Digital Product Manager and Peak Performance Coach. Educated at the University of Oxford, he thrives in fiercely competitive environments where performance is vital. 

He has repeatedly observed that individuals and organisations seek performance at the expense of health. This adversarial perspective is short-termist, focused on hours worked rather than effectiveness and leads to burnout. Tracking his own mental, physical and emotional state, he developed habits which enable him to operate at his peak without sacrificing wellbeing. His core philosophy is that cultivating positive habits aligns health, happiness and performance.

Connect with Sukh on LinkedIn

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