72% of globally mobile people unhappy with work-life balance

New research from health insurer Cigna shines highlights the impact of global mobility on family life and personal wellbeing, and how employers can further develop their support.

Image of business women running through an airport with a suitcase
Following on from the findings of its Global Wellness Index, Cigna has published fresh insights into the health, wellbeing and happiness of globally mobile individuals.Correlating with the finding that people on international assignments have more health worries than the general population, the insurer's online survey of 2,003 globally mobile individuals finds over two-thirds (72%) are unhappy with the amount of time available to spend with family. 

Loneliness an issue for a quarter

Potentially as concerning given the rise in unaccompanied moves and extended business travel arrangements is that 24% of people who are single or living alone said they suffer from loneliness.While many serviced apartment operators for example are creating appealing shared social spaces in their international locations to encourage a sense of community and to support networking among frequent business travellers, the findings suggest employers could do more to support their assignees when on the move.

Education an added worry for relocating families

Highlighting the emotional aspects of longer term international relocations the Cigna 360° Wellbeing Survey – Globally Mobile Individuals also found that people working overseas worry more about their own and their families’ health and wellness than those who reside in their home country. Over three-quarters (76%) reported they cannot adequately take care of their children’s various needs and wellbeing. Respondents also voiced concerns about how anxieties around their dependents’ education is intensified by a lack of a family support network.

Experiences of employers' duty of care

Suggesting further scope for HR, line and relocation managers to step in, under half (42%) felt their employer offered them adequate duty of care. A full 40% said they were not in receipt of any medical benefits by their company.All globally mobile individuals (100%) subsequently worried about illness, with cancer and the fear of accidents the main triggers, followed by mental illness, including depression.

'Deep insecurity about family health and well-being'

“Whilst working overseas has its benefits, the reality of life in a new country can be an emotional upheaval,” said Phil Austin, CEO Cigna Europe. “Working practices are different, not to mention the cultural, lifestyle and language changes, which can make coping with life’s challenges more difficult. “Our findings show a deep insecurity about family health and wellbeing, coupled with social isolation and increasing loneliness, which is exacerbated by the loss of a support network.  It’s imperative that employers pay attention to the needs of their globally mobile employees and, as a health partner, we remain committed as ever in delivering solutions to tackle this.”Head to our HR section for more news and insight.  
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