Cigna study shows Thai employees embracing work from home during COVID-19 pandemic

General Press Releases Thursday June 11, 2020 16:29
Bangkok--11 Jun--StarPR

Cigna’s (NYSE:CI) International Markets business, in partnership with Kantar, has published its first Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study. Part of Cigna’s annual 360 Well-Being Survey, this research 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.

Cigna’s annual 360 Well-Being Survey has tracked perceptions about health and well-being, including an index covering physical, family, social, financial and work well-being since 2014. This edition engaged 10,204 people across eight markets, including Thailand, between January and April 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The areas of health and well-being questioned comprised of Loneliness, Working from Home, Virtual Health, Workplace Wellness and the New Normal. The results are summarised as follows:

Well-Being Indicators Remain Steady
This new research suggests that our perceived well-being has been surprisingly resilient with the overall global Well-Being Index consistent at 62.5 points, despite the pandemic and lockdowns.

Financial and social well-being indices have declined, driven by the exception of the ability to maintain current standards of living, and the ability to spend sufficient time in-person with friends. In contrast, work and family remained broadly consistent, with marginal increases in learning and development training up by 4% and having a good work-life balance up by 1% respectively. While, there were significant improvements in people’s confidence in being able to protect their partner’s well-being (increasing from 44% to 47%) and that of their children (marginally increasing by 3% from 48% to 51%), along with spending sufficient time with family (marginally increasing 2% from 43% – 45%).

Home Working Increases Job Satisfaction, Work Relationships & Communication

Despite working longer hours, people reported that working from home has improved their work life. Thai respondents are the most likely to see their new working circumstances as giving them more flexibility (90%), followed by Spain (80%) and UAE (79%), compared to the global average of 76%. This may indicate that working routines are likely to change permanently once the lockdown ends.

Thais also feel they have become closer to their colleagues during the pandemic, with 68% of people believing that working from home and using technologies to communicate have streamlined connections with their colleagues, compared to 64% globally, and only 8% of people that said it had not.

Reduction in Loneliness

The lockdown appears to have improved personal relationships. The report found that only 8% of respondents said they always felt isolated from others in April, compared to 11% in January. When asked if people felt closer to other people, 73% said they did in April, compared to 69% in January. Notably, some markets with comprehensive lockdowns saw improvements with UAE up from 71% to 80%; the UK up from 70% to 79%; and Spain from 81% to 91%.

People Struggle to 'Switch Off’

Despite working longer hours, most people value working from home, suggesting that working routines may change permanently. Most markets experiencing 'Always on’ working and felt that their working day got longer, including Thailand with 75% of people saying they felt their day had got longer.

Teeravuth Suthanaseriporn, Chief Executive Officer at Cigna Insurance Plc., said:

“The decline in the loneliness score is unexpected but highlights the positive impact digital technology can have. This shift in attitudes to work, with people feeling that home-based working has offered some positives, especially in terms of balancing family and work responsibilities, despite the longer hours, had a clear effect in Thailand, as many respondents felt they maintained strong connections with colleagues. This has been demonstrated at Cigna Thailand where we have been able to continue normal operations, including in our contact centre, with certain departments now having the option to work from home extended until the end of the year.”

Demand for Virtual Health Grows Rapidly

Appetite for virtual health has also grown rapidly in Thailand. The survey showed that 67% of people are interested in using virtual health services. The most popular usage of virtual health is for general practitioner appointments and mental health support.

“Seeing the importance of digital landscape in Thailand, and the increased figure of virtual health appointments by our global customers, we had decided to launch our latest telemedicine solution, called 'Doctor Anywhere Application’ that provides more wellness support for our customers. More importantly, this platform allows our customers to access professional healthcare advice to maintain their health, dignity and ability to work going forward, drastically saving their time and protecting them from potential exposure to infection,” added Teeravuth.

The study was conducted using an online survey, with respondents recruited from online panels and undergo rigorous quality control. Age, gender and residing city quotas were set based on population proportion of respective markets. The research was conducted between January 10 and February 24 and; April 22-27. 8,983 online interviews were conducted in January and 1,221 in April across 8 markets (including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States) and the 20 to 25-minute survey was completed anonymously.

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