Global Telehealth: The solution for protecting occupational health and achieving success in an international SME
June 2021   SMALL BUSINESSES

Global Telehealth: The solution for protecting occupational health and achieving success in an international SME

ACCESS TO CARE - Promoting a healthy work environment that helps improve employee well-being is fundamental to the success of any company, of any size.
Scroll to read

Promoting a healthy work environment that helps improve employee well-being is fundamental to the success of any company, of any size. SMEs are no exception, particularly those with employees on international assignments. Where there is a greater sense of well-being among team members, there is a higher level of motivation and, as a result, an increase in productivity. In the face of an ever-changing global work environment, what can a holistic response to expatriate workers’ needs offer? The answer is Global Telehealth. And here’s why!

Many questions may arise when implementing a health and wellness plan in an international SME, such as: Where to start? Which solution would be the most appropriate for the company? Is it possible to measure the return on investment?

While it is vital that each company analyses its employees’ specific needs carefully to provide a tailor-made solution, the very nature of some solutions makes them a true ally of SMEs with employees located in different markets, given the flexibility they offer and their holistic health approach. Yes, we are talking about Global Telehealth solutions and how they play an important role in the success of a business.

This is because international SMEs with higher levels of employee well-being are more competitive. So, employees who feel healthier and more cared for are more satisfied, which will increase their motivation and, as a result, their productivity. This is particularly significant when it comes to expatriate workers. The uncertainty that comes with moving home and being away from friends and family can make employees who live abroad more likely to experience well-being-related problems. In light of this, the countless benefits that these new digital tools offer companies are clear. Opting for Global Telehealth solutions means investing in the success of your international SME, given the flexibility they offer when adapting quickly to the ever-changing work and social environment.

Want to know more about this? Click here and discover all that Cigna can do to help you care for your staff!

As a matter of fact, having easy and secure access to quality care, at any time and from any country of residence, as well as the possibility to enjoy various services focused on integral health care, prevention, and adopting a healthy lifestyle, are what makes these solutions a real ally of international SMEs, for various reasons:

  • They give expatriate workers more assurance and make them feel more satisfied. Not having a support network, such as friends and family, can pose an additional emotional burden that international SMEs must carry. So, the peace of mind of knowing that they can consult a health professional when needed, wherever they are, has a direct impact on their satisfaction with the company. By extending this benefit to their families, the positive impact is even greater, as family well-being is a major concern for employees on international assignment. 
  • They represent a way of offering care tailored to each individual via a single platform. The key to a successful health programme lies in its ability to meet each individual’s particular concerns. In an international SME, these may vary depending on the country or city they are located or the job itself. A Global Telehealth solution is the best way to offer personalised care anywhere, as it is provided via a single platform to effectively respond to their every need. 
  • They are a highly effective investment. Given that this solution alone can meet all or most of expatriate workers’ health and well-being needs, the return on investment is maximised, which means excellent results with limited resources. It is worth remembering that workers are the driving force of an SME entering overseas markets. That is why a healthy worker is a productive worker, which will translate into a huge boost for the organisation’s growth projection in other markets. 
  • They play a central role in health prevention. Providing expatriates with a solution they can use to closely monitor their health status, share their biometric data with healthcare providers or obtain expert advice on adopting a healthy lifestyle plays a crucial role in preventing or improving the treatment of various conditions. They may also be the perfect addition to specific health prevention plans implemented for certain groups, for example, colon and breast cancer prevention plans, smoking prevention plans, cardiovascular health plans, etc. 
  • They reduce absenteeism for health reasons. Because these solutions offer 24/7 care, they prevent unnecessary travel and, as a result, reduce absences, as expatriate workers are able to resolve all their health needs, regardless of any time zone differences or where they are located. 
  • They improve the quality of life of employees with a chronic disease. According to Eurofound, a quarter of the EU working population has a chronic disease. The probability that one or more employees have a chronic illness is therefore high. Offering them a Global Telehealth solution will improve their self-care, autonomy and adherence to treatment. This improves the way the disease evolves and slows down the occurrence of complications associated with these illnesses. Improving expatriate workers’ access to care and giving them greater control of their health via Global Telehealth solutions is, undoubtedly, one of the great benefits when deciding to move abroad. 
  • They boost the company’s reputation globally. By investing in the health and well-being of its team by providing access to a Global Telehealth solution, an international SME conveys that all its employees, whether on international assignment or not, are its top priority. This results in employees feeling more satisfied, making them the company’s best ambassadors. But that’s not all, as those outside the company will see it as one that cares about and is committed to its workers. This will, in turn, improve its reputation and ability to attract the best international talent, which is key for small or medium-sized enterprises to grow in different markets.

Lastly, there are some other reasons that are linked to the current social context. Global Telehealth is a care model that has grown significantly due to the pandemic, according to the ‘Living and working in Europe 2020’ report by Eurofound. In fact, 59% of people say they would choose to have a consultation or diagnosis virtually if given the option, which is 20% more than those who said they would use this service before the pandemic (41%), according to the Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study. So, Global Telehealth is here to stay, and any international SME that wants to remain at the forefront should bear this in mind.

It is also important for companies to offer health insurance

Likewise, workers now want their companies to provide enhanced health insurance cover (62%) and more support on staying healthy (48%), according to the above-mentioned study by Cigna. Given that many health insurance policies include access to Global Telehealth services, it is a good idea to consider providing this benefit, which is highly sought after and most appreciated by employees today, particularly in the case of those with international travel.

Company health insurance allows SMEs to offer better recruitment conditions to their workers compared to individual health insurance. In the specific case of expatriate workers, companies must guarantee them the same health conditions that they have in their own country by offering them insurance with full medical cover so that they can access all the services they need through a single health care partner. In addition, thanks to its flexibility, each insurance component can be tailored to the entity’s needs and structure: from the product terms to the cover, to extra services and form of payment. Taking out this service guarantees not only the best premiums but also excellent health cover.

Companies like Cigna are the perfect health partner for international SMEs, thanks to our wide range of solutions tailored to the needs of any company, of any size, particularly Global Telemedicine services, which are at the forefront of innovation. We have a vast network of medical specialists who offer our plan members multilingual 24/7 care wherever they are. We also offer specific support to improve people’s quality of life by providing full, international assistance and guaranteeing continual support and monitoring. In addition, our members have access to a wealth of resources (from online coaching programmes to various health management tools) to help improve their overall health.

For more information, click on this link and discover all that Cigna can do to help you invest in the success of your international SME – all while benefiting from cutting-edge digital services.

Related articles
office workers

Everything you need to measure the results (and success) of a health and wellness plan in an international SME

ACCESS TO CARE - Measures to improve employees’ health and well-being have become one of the most effective strategies used by SMEs, particularly in the case of companies with employees on international assignments.

colleagues having a meeting

How do you successfully implement a well-being plan in an SME?

ACCESS TO CARE - Caring for employees’ health and well-being is a key issue that large, medium and small businesses alike must address.