If there’s one thing that the pandemic has changed irreversibly in our lives, it’s got to be the way we work. A recent McKinsey study shows that 20 per cent of the global workforce will work from home between three to five days a week post-Covid.

In Australia, that sudden and rapid change in human behaviour has taken a toll on many, with a survey revealing that 34 per cent of workers’ compensation claims last year were related to mental health impacts of COVID-19.

It’s hard to predict how WFH will normalise over the longer term here, but if these trends were to continue, it might not be a bad idea to start looking into the wellness tech segment, especially those that play to the COVID story.

Mental health stocks would definitely be in this category, but the broader picture should include telehealth stocks – which in short, is the delivery of health care and services via remote technologies.

To be sure, telehealth was already a growing space even before the pandemic, but COVID had launched it into the mainstream.

The temporary Medicare subsidies on telehealth items and services is set to end at the end of March, but a lot of that is already priced into the stocks, according to healthcare expert Scott Power, of Morgan Financial.

“Moving forward, there will be an increased reliance on tele-consult, and this will be a permanent change. The other structural shift will be a move to more remote monitoring of patients outside of the hospital”, he said.

ASX wellness stocks

The good news is there are options aplenty in this segment to pick from.

Oneview Healthcare (ASX:ONE) is one stock that’s done well over the past two weeks, rising by around 400 per cent after announcing a partnership with investment research company, StocksDigital.

It has a platform that helps healthcare workers conduct tele-consulting, caring for COVID-19 patients. The technology is installed on a monitor in the patient’s room, and provides virtual rounding, as well as virtual visitors capabilities. The company said COVID-19 had prevented access to hospital sites last year, delaying installation and go-lives of its product launches, but expects it to normalise in 2021.

Doctor Care Anywhere (ASX:DOC) is a UK-based virtual GP stock that dispenses e-prescriptions and health assessments online. It has partnered with major insurance company AXA, and counts Microsoft as its client. Its revenue growth has been strong, rising by 102 per cent in FY20 to GBP 11.6 million.

Intellicare (ASX:ICR) is an SaaS telehealth company catering to the senior market. Its total revenue for the latest full year has blown out by 50x compared to the previous year. The company helps seniors to live independently at home, without the presence of caregiver. It offers a suite of products, such as the InteliLiving app and smart home sensors. It has a rapidly increasing distributor channels, including a five-year supply agreement with Optus.

Keeping a careful eye on employee mental health has also become a rising theme as the challenges of WFH, working with kids from home and job security fears take their toll. Mental wellness has never been more of an issue for employers, and the sector is growing as demand for access to aid rises.

Limeade (ASX:LME) is a US company which offers software that helps businesses keep their workers happy. Among other things it measures employee inclusion, engagement and satisfaction. Its software is sold in over 100 countries, and has increased revenue by 19 per cent to $57 million in the full year FY20. Importantly, 97 per cent of the revenues is recurring.

MediBio (ASX:MEB), is one stock that plays well to the COVID story. Its flagship product is Ilumen, which is corporate mental health software that provides an employer with aggregated data to measure the mental wellbeing of its workforce. The company recently won a CE Mark approval for its MEBSleep software, which allows it entry into Europe, but is still waiting for US FDA approval.

Another pureplay mental health stock is Total Brain (ASX: TTB). Its SaaS platform helps users to scientifically measure and optimise their brain capacities while managing the risk of common mental conditions.The company has a major contract in place with US giant IBM since 2019.

Total Brain’s technology is powering IBM’s GRIT platform – a digital solution for veterans and active-duty service members to strengthen their mental fitness.