Dr Zerak Saleh is Head of Finance Strategy at Saudi British Bank.
We caught up with Zerak in preparation for his involvement in the Wellbeing at Work Middle East Summit on 21-23 February to find out why he is so passionate about wellbeing at work and why he is looking forward to the Summit.
We are thrilled that you will be speaking at our Wellbeing at Work Middle East Summit in February. Our first and most important question is, how are you doing today?
Dr. Zerak: I’m doing very well. It’s an honor to be invited again to speak at the Wellbeing at Work Middle East Summit and I’m looking forward to sharing my insights and experiences with the attendees.
As a leader based in the region, what are the main challenges you are facing when it comes to employee wellbeing?
Dr. Zerak: The main challenges we face when it comes to employee wellbeing in the region are related to work-life balance, and access to mental and physical health resources. Many employees in the region have strong cultural and family obligations that can make it difficult for them to fully participate in workplace wellness programs or prioritize their own health and wellbeing. Additionally, the fast-paced and competitive nature of the business environment can also lead to stress and burnout.
What strategies have you seen developing in the region over the past 6-12 months to address health and wellbeing in the workplace?
Dr. Zerak: Over the past 6-12 months, I have seen an increased focus on mental health resources and support, as well as a greater emphasis on physical wellness programs and activities in the workplace. This includes more organizations offering employee assistance programs, mental health days and counseling services, as well as promoting regular exercise and healthy eating through company-wide initiatives.
Why is employee wellbeing so important to you personally?
Dr. Zerak: Employee wellbeing is important to me personally because it directly impacts the overall success and productivity of my team. When employees are healthy and engaged, they are more likely to be productive, motivated and satisfied with their work. Additionally, when employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to stay with the organization for longer, which in turn reduces turnover and recruitment costs.
What are you most looking forward to about our event in February?
Dr. Zerak: I am most looking forward to learning from other leaders in the industry and sharing best practices at the Summit in February. I believe that by sharing our experiences and knowledge, we can develop more effective strategies and solutions to promote employee wellbeing in the region.
Tell us, what is your vision for the workplace of the future, in terms of employee engagement, health and wellbeing?
Dr. Zerak: My vision for the workplace of the future is one where employee engagement, health, and wellbeing are not just an add-on but an integral part of the work environment and culture. This includes creating a positive and inclusive culture that supports the overall well-being of employees, providing access to mental and physical health resources, and promoting physical wellness through regular exercise and healthy eating.
What areas do you think employers should be focused on over the next 12-18
Dr. Zerak: In the next 12-18 months, employers should focus on creating a positive and inclusive culture, providing access to mental health resources, and promoting physical wellness in the workplace. This includes developing employee assistance programs and mental health days, promoting regular exercise and healthy eating through company-wide initiatives, and fostering a positive work-life balance. Additionally, employers should also focus on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, to ensure that all employees feel valued and supported.
Dr Saleh will be speaking in Riyadh at the Wellbeing at Work Middle East Summit that takes place both live and in-person in Riyadh and Dubai and virtually for the wider region. Further details on the Summit can be found here.