The Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study: Looking after well-being in lockdown

Introducing the first Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study, a new series of research studies from Cigna which seeks to better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s well-being around the world.

Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study

We are seeing some survey results we could never have predicted.

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Wellbeing Team
Cigna Global IPMI

Published 9 June 2020

The varied effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on work, well-being and people’s social lives, has been revealed in new research from Cigna.

As part of Cigna’s annual 360 Well-Being Survey, the Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study is the first in a new series of studies from Cigna to better understand the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s well-being. 

Areas of focus

The study focused in on four key areas:

  • The Cigna Well-Being Index
  • The health and wellness scorecard
  • The virtual health assessment tracker
  • People’s opinions on what the new normal will look like

It assessed over 10,000 respondents from across China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States between January and April 2020 to show the changes in attitudes during the crisis.

Results of the study

We are seeing some results we could never have predicted. People told us that learning and development from their employers has improved significantly, and work-life balance has also improved marginally, despite most reporting working longer hours at home than they were before. Again, with regards to family, people feel they are in a better position to support their partners/spouses and their children than they were before, and also feel they are now spending more quality time with them.

Decline in loneliness

We have seen an overall decline in loneliness, despite lock-downs across most markets. Only 8% of respondents say they always felt isolated from others in April, compared to 11% in early January. The lockdowns have also appear to have improved relationships in some cases. When asked if they feel closer to other people, 73% said they did in April, compared to 69% in January. 

People also said they feel closer to their colleagues than they did before the crisis. 64% of people said working from home and using technology had streamlined communications with their colleagues and 76% said their work-day was more flexible, rising to 93% in the United States, 91% in Thailand and 90% in both Spain and the UAE, indicating that working routines are likely to change permanently once the lockdown ends.

Longer working hours

However, ‘always on’ working with people working extended hours or checking emails before or after work hours or over weekends has increased across most countries. It rose by 7% in the UK (74%) and 6% in Hong Kong (72%) and Singapore (78%).

All these changes are transforming the way people look at how they want to access healthcare in the future. 60% of people said they are interested in using virtual health services, rising to 73% in the UAE, 72% in China and 67% in Thailand.

The most popular usage of virtual health is for general practitioner appointments, with 52% saying they would use e-health in the future. A further 39% said they would choose virtual health for mental health support in future, rising to 53% in Thailand and 51% in China.

Cigna’s view:

Commenting on the findings, Jason Sadler, President, Cigna International Markets, said: “Financial worries have increased and this is certainly reflected in the conversations we are having with our customers and clients. It is encouraging to see that overall wellness scores have remained steady, highlighting the resilience of people as they try to focus on the positives that the current situation presents. We will be publishing the second edition of the Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study soon and I look forward to seeing if these trends continue.”

“It is encouraging to see that overall wellness scores have remained steady, highlighting the resilience of people as they try to focus on the positives that the current situation presents.”

“No matter where, when and in what form it took place, the shift to remote working has been one of the most significant changes brought on by the COVID-19 lockdown”, said Arjan Toor, CEO, Cigna Europe.

He added: “There are some strong indications that, overall, working from home has contributed to improving work life, suggesting that working routines are likely to change permanently once lockdowns end. Whilst there is no doubt that the pandemic has brought significant stress and challenges to us all, it is encouraging to see confirmation of instances where people are more satisfied with their work well-being during these times.”

“No matter where, when and in what form it took place, the shift to remote working has been one of the most significant changes brought on by the COVID-19 lockdown.”

Fast and effective response

At Cigna, we are taking a long-view of the pandemic. We will be running regular pulse checks throughout the year to check-in and see how different parts of the world are responding to the pandemic as it moves into new and challenging phases.

We are all proud of our fast and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of our offices around the world quickly moved to home-based working and the new systems and processes we created or enhanced to support our customers proved invaluable as we moved into lockdown.

We also enhanced our products in relevant markets, ensuring that COVID-19 was fully covered and removed requirements for customers to co-pay for testing and treatment.  

The world is evolving at rapid pace

Already, we see a world that is evolving at a faster pace than any of us could have imagined. We are hopeful that this period will give rise to many positives in due course – a greater awareness of health, a stronger demand for health services that people can access whenever, and however they prefer, and strong bonds of trust between colleagues, families and friends as we check in with each other more than ever before.

As advocates for health and well-being, we at Cigna will strive to be the people’s partner on their journey and we will embrace this role with relish.

For more information about the study, please view our PDF:

The Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study

This article serves only as a reference and is intended for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article constitutes legal, tax, financial planning, health or medical advice including diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Any reference to products or services offered by Cigna are available except where prohibited by applicable law and subject to terms and conditions.

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