Wellbeing worries highest among globally mobile population

Health and personal safety concerns are a more significant issue for globally mobile employees than the general employee population, according to a major new survey by Cigna Global Health Services.

Health and wellbeing
Three-quarters of the 2,003 individuals working outside of their home country studied said while they enjoy the experience of working abroad, they are significantly less satisfied with their levels of wellbeing than the norm.  As well as acknowledging the career and fulfilment advantages of overseas postings, the report assesses the impact of a long-distance lifestyle, its impact on personal relationships and family life where members are split across national borders, personal security and illness.

Mobile employees most concerned about health issues

According to the Cigna Wellbeing Index for globally mobile individuals, the gap between the general working population and mobile workers is almost two points – 61.5 compared to 63.3. The biggest gap is in family health, with a difference of nine points – 56.7 compared to 65.8 for the general working population.“The results show that globally mobile individuals are more concerned than the general working population about their own health and well-being, 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.”

Health insurance benefits gap adding to anxieties?

Four in ten respondents said their employer provides them with no medical benefits, exacerbating health concerns.Instead, this group mainly rely on self-purchased insurance or on cover provided by their partner’s employer, reports Cigna. Fifteen percent say they have no medical benefits at all.A significant gap in health insurance coverage may contribute to elevated levels of concern, suggests Cigna.
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Worries over wellness a significant consideration in overseas postings

The Cigna Wellbeing Index reports that 100% of respondents admit to major concerns over how illness might affect them while working abroad.Concerns over specific health problems are also significantly higher than the general working population:
  • 19% are worried about accidents – compared to 13% of the general working population
  • 13% fear mental illness and depression – compared to 7% of general working population
  • 3% worry about alcohol-related problems – compared to 0% of the general working population. 
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.One in five (19%) of globally mobile individuals report they suffer from loneliness, rising to almost a quarter – 24% – of those who are single or live alone. Many respondents also report problems socialising outside the working environment. 

Personal security

Globally mobile individuals also feel the world is less secure due to political turmoil and other macro-economic factors, adding to their anxieties.A third of respondents feel less safe than they did 24 months ago. This sense of insecurity was highest in the U.S., with 42 percent of respondents feeling less safe, and in Africa, where 31 percent have an issue with their safety.

Seeking treatment

Globally mobile individuals are also substantially less satisfied with their family health situation, scoring 56.7 for family health compared to 65.8 for the general working population. Around half would prefer to return to their home countries to receive medical treatment, but 13% say that they would have to remain in their country of work due to lack of insurance cover.“There is a clear need for employers to pay attention to the health and well-being of their globally mobile employees,” concludes Mr Sadler. “This duty of care should extend outside of the office when employers are interacting with their families and the local community.”For more global health and wellness news and features, please click here.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  

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