The Employer Opportunity

The past three years has left employees exhausted and revaluating their priorities. The opportunity for employers is to consider their Whole Health approach to this new dynamic.  

Employees Embrace a Whole Health approach to Work

The past two and a half years have changed the world of work. Office workers instantly went from spending five days a week with their colleagues, to working from home. Although many found this experience isolating at times, many are keen to continue with a more flexible approach to work, preferring a hybrid model that better supports their Whole Health.

To understand this, as well as the impact of trends, such as the 'Great Resignation', we spoke to 11,922 people across the world to understand how their priorities have changed.

Our key findings:

  • Employees have embraced the new way of working

  • Younger people are looking for a Whole Health Approach

  • Worker are seeking higher trust and engagement

  • Employers have an opportunity to embrace the opportunity

Great Resignation or Exhausted by Work?

Despite the easing of most Covid-19 restrictions, many workers still feel challenged. The stress of the past three years continues to impact their whole health and, in common with expats, we see high levels of employee stress and burnout, especially among younger workers.

We also see a growing movement for things not to return to ‘normal’ post pandemic. Increasingly, people are demanding that hybrid working remains the norm and, despite the efforts of employers to encourage people back, hybrid work appears here to stay, with property specialists CBRE estimating that office occupancy levels in the United States are only 43%.  

People have discovered that a more flexible style of working is possible. They want greater control over their time, with 60% of senior managers saying they would take a lower paying job if they could work fewer hours. And, after so long being separate, they say that family and friends are their focus.

This is the employer opportunity. During the pandemic, many made huge investments in new technologies and whole health programs, changing the entire structure of work. However, despite some well-publicised efforts by major companies to encourage people to return to ‘normal’, employees are demanding a permanent shift. However, this isn’t simply about hybrid working, they want a rethink of the work contract, and employers to take account of their broader needs, rather than those enshrined in the office day.

The impact of the financial crunch and growing uncertainty about the future are beginning to weigh heavily. All generations are feeling this, but it’s younger workers who appear to be experiencing its impact the greatest, with 39% saying money worries are now a major cause of stress up from 37% in 2021, followed by 34% saying they are worried about the future.

Exhaustion from work isn’t new. In previous economic cycles, we have tended to see workers trend back to employer/employee norms and increase time at work as they try to ride out the storm. However, the pandemic appears to have caused a deep shift in these accepted norms, with 65% saying they have spent more time evaluating their life priorities compared to two years ago. This rises to 71% for ‘Gen Z’, aged between 18 and 24, and 73% for the Millennial, 25-34, generation.

In fact, 37% of workers say they are planning to change jobs in the next year, up from 32% last year giving rise to the term the great resignation. This represents a huge challenge to employers, as they try to readjust to the challenges that the future presents, but work exhaustion and those of the economy.

They also have the challenge of both supporting their employees’ stress, whole health needs, and personal aspirations, while also building a sense of loyalty and belonging to the organisation. If workers don’t get flexibility, appropriate reward, and respect at work, they are more likely to quit. People are looking at their whole lives, whole health and whole well-being and seeking change.

25% of employees have changed jobs in the last year

48% of 18-35s are looking for a new job in the next 12 months 

79% of those looking to change job are re-evaluating their life priorities

60% of senior managers would accept a job with less money if it meant more free time

During the pandemic the way we work was thrown into disarray. But while employment levels are going up, employees are reporting stress and burnout in vast numbers. People want a more balanced lifestyle, with a whole health approach at its core, and are prepared to move to find it.

The opportunity for employers is to continue the investment in building workplace cultures that value whole health and to rethink how to get the most from this change employer/employee dynamic.

Jason Sadler, President International Markets

About this Study

To monitor and track the annual evolution of well-being, the Cigna 360 Global Well-Being Survey 2022 looked at five key components- family, financial, physical, social, and work. In partnership with Kantar, a leading data, insights and consulting company, Cigna International has analysed the findings to uncover the latest trends and challenges for health and well-being. 

We surveyed 11,500 people aged 18-65, in in Australia, Belgium, Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UAE, UK and USA. The fieldwork for this survey was completed in April and May 2022.


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