Wellbeing worries


Cigna Corporation recently released the results of its 2017 Cigna 360° Well-being Survey – Globally Mobile Individuals, which reveals that people working overseas generally perceive themselves as worse off compared to individuals who reside in their home country when it comes to their physical, social, family and even financial wellbeing


Overall, the wellbeing index score for globally mobile individuals is 61.5 points, 1.8 points lower than their domestic counterparts. The most significant gap is in family wellbeing, which is 9.4 points lower.

“The results show that globally mobile individuals are more concerned than the general working population about their own health and wellbeing, and that of their families,” said Jason Sadler, president, Cigna International Markets. “Without exception, this group is worried about the consequences of personal or family member illness, an issue compounded by a gap in health benefits provided by their employers.”

This follows the publication of the 2017 Cigna Well-being Survey in April, which looked at five underlying trends that affect the health, wellbeing and sense of security of people around the world. In this study, Cigna examined the perceptions of globally mobile individuals living and working in 20 markets about their outlook on the same trends – physical, financial, social, family and work health.


The bright side of being globally mobile

International exposure is a significant draw to working overseas. Globally mobile individuals highlighted the opportunity to accumulate wealth, better career prospects, good working hours and positive relationships with co-workers as bright aspects of their experience.

But there are also challenges. While individuals have the opportunity to accumulate wealth while working overseas, only a third of respondents considered their current financial situation satisfactory. Lack of time spent with their family and their children’s education are other concerns, exacerbated by not having a family support network around them. Globally mobile individuals often experience anxiety and all respondents are concerned about illness. Cancer and accidents are their main worries, followed by mental illness, such as depression. Twenty-five percent of globally mobile individuals raised concerns about diseases associated with alcohol, significantly more so than the general working population. 

Cigna also found that globally mobile individuals feel the world looks less secure due to political turmoil and other macro-economic factors. One-third of respondents feel less safe than they did 24 months ago, a sense of insecurity found to be highest in the US, where 42 per cent of respondents feel less safe, and Africa, where 31 per cent have issues regarding their safety.

Many respondents also report having problems socialising outside of work. One-fifth suffer from loneliness, which increases to nearly one-quarter for those who are single or live alone.

“The survey shows health benefits are a very important factor when deciding to take an overseas posting,” said Sadler. “Despite this, there is a significant gap. A surprising 40 per cent of respondents do not have any medical benefits offered by their company, and 15 per cent have no health coverage at all. There is a clear need for employers to pay attention to the health and wellbeing of their globally mobile employees, and this duty of care should extend outside of the office when employers are interacting with their families and the local community.”