Interview with Matylda Dzadey, Global Wellbeing Relationship Manager of Cigna Europe, about mental wellness of the globally mobile workforces.

Relocating overseas can improve career prospects, skills, income and provide broader life experiences for many, and we know from our research that globally mobile individuals generally have a positive working experience. However, globally mobile employees face many problems that go beyond simply being homesick.


- Why are globally mobile employees at risk of experiencing a less positive work-life balance than domestically based staff?

Globally mobile employees often have longer working days, in differing time zones international travel is common and the complex higher-level management decisions are heightened by cultural differences. Our research shows that just under three quarters of globally mobile employees (72%) are currently unhappy with their work-life balance and the amount of time available to spend with family.*

*Cigna 360° Wellbeing Survey 2019

- What are some key concerns of globally mobile employees and how can this affect their emotional wellbeing?

A key concern for many globally mobile individuals is the level of care and protection provided by companies, particularly to equip them for unforeseeable circumstances. As a result, they subsequently worry about illness; with cancer and the fear of accidents the main triggers, followed by mental illness, including depression.

Our research shows 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 – major triggers for depression and anxiety. Mental illness, including depression, is one of the top four concerns for the globally mobile sector, with just under a fifth (19%) admitting to suffering from loneliness, with this figure rising to 24% for those who are single or living alone. Many also admit to struggling with socialising out of work.

- How can companies help employees adjust to international life? 

Relocating abroad can be an extremely difficult transition and highlights just why a proactive approach to safeguard mental health needs to become a ‘must’ for all employers with a globally mobile population. Mental health is as important as physical health when working abroad, and it should be a priority for businesses when supporting their globally mobile workforce.

Companies should create a culture which promotes positive mental wellbeing and equip employees with the necessary tools and services when on assignment. As one of the world’s leading providers for globally mobile employees, Cigna is committed to deliver solutions to tackle this.


- What part can digital tools play in managing emotional wellbeing?

Personalised apps, such as our dedicated globally mobile employee app Cigna Wellbeing®, provide real-time health and wellness coaching, combined with 24/7 video and telephone consultations with doctors, nurses and healthcare specialists. With preventative care and behavioural change at the heart of apps like this, they offer collective, integrated and innovative tools that give users greater control of their health and wellbeing via online coaching. Employers are beginning to recognise that having the right support in place and early intervention can have significant positive impact on a prognosis, reduce the cost of treatment and motivate users to become more involved in their own care, and to ultimately live a healthier lifestyle.