While the UAE witnessed an improvement in overall well-being, employees indicate that they continue to experience work-related stress as they work longer hours and over weekends, according to the second round of Cigna's COVID-19 Global Impact Study.
64% of the employees surveyed mentioned that they work on weekends, a significant increase from 57% in April 2020. In fact, a startling 97% surveyed in May-June reported being stressed, a significant rise from 90% in April. Encouragingly, among those under stress, 83% found their stress to be manageable compared to 74% in April.
Cigna launched the first COVID-19 Global Impact Study at the start of the pandemic, as an extension of its 360 Well-Being Survey, which has been tracking perceptions about health and well-being since 2014. The second round of the study conducted between 28 May and 5 June focuses on the changes in behaviour over the last three months following the lockdown.
Mr Jerome Droesch, CEO of Cigna MEA, said, “As employees return to work gradually after months of working in isolation, new fears and stress points arise. The pandemic has had a significant impact on the well-being of the employees as people were plunged into new realities. However, the first round of our study saw that people constantly checked in on one another – thereby easing emotional stress. Regularly checking in with employees at the workplace demonstrates the empathy and assurance of leaders and makes employees feel safer. A small act of checking in with employees can go a long way in ensuring they remain well, are engaged at work and can lead to positive overall business outcomes.”
“It is no surprise that people are looking for support and assurance from their leaders as they navigate the new setup. Employees are now more conscious of the support they receive from employers and 62% now pay more attention to what their healthcare plan offers,” he added.
In partnership with German Neuroscience Center, Cigna is offering complimentary mental health consultations to all UAE residents. Residents will have access to counsellors who speak a variety of languages including Arabic, German and English and receive a 30-minute full assessment followed by a report. As part of this partnership, UAE residents can also benefit from discounted packages for the upcoming sessions.
For employers, Cigna has developed resources such as the comprehensive employee digital toolkit and the International Employee Assistance Program to empower them to better manage employee stress and well-being at the workplace.
In a bid to better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s health and well-being, the study engaged participants from 11 key markets including the UAE, China, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Spain and the US.