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Employee Stress Levels Hitting New Highs Due to Coronavirus

Source: MetLife, U.S. Employee Benefit Navigating Together: Trends Study 2020

Sixty-seven percent of employees are experiencing higher levels of stress due to COVID-19 — with work and finances being their biggest concerns. Not surprisingly, a larger proportion of health care workers and women, many of whom have taken on child care and schooling duties in addition to their careers, are reporting heightened stress levels, a study from MetLife reports.

The findings come as employers grapple with providing conducive working environments for employees in these unprecedented conditions. Data from before and during the crisis show that greater support from employers results in more successful employees. Research from 2019 shows that 67% of successful employees reported having the necessary flexibility in work policies to manage work and life.

Understanding employees’ experiences and needs has never been more paramount for organizations. This “new normal” necessitates enhanced employee emotional wellness support and financial wellness initiatives for managing work-life stress. Employers who lead with empathy will have a “more engaged, productive and successful workforce.” 

TCFD Support Multiplies Across Countries and Institutions

The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has grown from having just 29 supporters in 2016 to more than 2,600 in 2021, amounting to $194 trillion in assets and including over 120 regulatory and governmental entities. It has garnered substantial support from private and public institutions alike. 

Seven jurisdictions are currently working to align their official reporting requirements with TCFD, including the European Union, the United Kingdom and Japan. New Zealand recently became the first country to mandate climate-related financial disclosures in October.

The TCFD was established by the Financial Stability Board in December 2015 to develop a framework for companies and financial institutions to disclose their climate-related risks and opportunities. 

TCFD brings forth opportunities for its supporters to better understand the financial implications of climate change, helping them pivot their business models and allowing their stakeholders to make more accurate decisions on investment, lending and insurance underwriting.

How the Pandemic Changed Urban Mobility Readiness

Stockholm, San Francisco and Singapore are the cities most ready to embrace mobile sustainability, says a new report by Oliver Wyman Forum and the UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies.

According to the newly released 2021 Urban Mobility Readiness Index, these cities have invested in new technologies, such as electric vehicles, and now benefit from the shift to remote work following the pandemic. This has reduced congestion and allowed for more physically active mobility options. Stockholm, which topped the list, has invested in electrification and micromobility infrastructures, as more of its residents embrace a walking or cycling lifestyle.

Not in the top 10 is New York City, whose index score dropped as more people continue to move out of the state compared to before the pandemic. Those who stayed bought private vehicles due to restrictions and lack of trust in public transportation during the pandemic.

Countries in Asia and Middle East Lead the World in 5G Reach

Hong Kong, South Korea and Kuwait lead the world in 5G reach.

Hong Kong, South Korea and Kuwait lead the world in 5G reach, according to Open Signal, a mobile network analysis company. The score measures the percentage of locations where 5G is available on a scale of 0 to 10. 

Small island countries like Hong Kong and South Korea, known for their well-established infrastructure, have the broadest 5G reach. Kuwait also has historically invested in 5G to supplant its poor broadband infrastructure. The score for the U.S. will likely increase as competition between telecom countries ramps up.

As more countries invest in 5G, more users will be able to participate in the global economy. “Without adequate internet penetration for high-bandwidth mobile technologies, harnessing fintech to achieve financial inclusion will continue to be difficult, even with a high mobile subscription level,” wrote CAREC Institute’s Khalid Umar. Also of note, while countries are investing in 5G, the next generation of mobile networks is already being developed with the intent of being deployed by 2030.

The Cost of Cybercrime Outweighs Investment in Cybersecurity

More money is spent on cybercrime than cybersecurity

Guy Carpenter research shows that the size of the cyber market is $6 billion, and, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, only $6 billion is spent on cybersecurity products per year. Only 42% of businesses invest in a cyber product, according to Marsh Specialty data.

This gap between spending and forecasted cost puts the almost $21 trillion in intangible assets of the Fortune 500 at risk.

These drastic costs are a result of more sophisticated and accessible forms of ransomware that are now available “off the shelf” to bad actors. At the same time, the “new normal” from the pandemic continues to foster distributed work environments that are often easier to penetrate.

A cohesive cyber strategy, as featured in MMC’s Cyber Handbook 2022, is critical to keep pace with sophisticated cyberattacks in complex and converging technology ecosystems. There is also a need for cyber insurance and reinsurance to help solve this expanding protection gap by developing a robust cyber risk transfer market with well-defined product options for intangible risk.

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