SINGAPORE: A new report shows that most workers in Singapore want more support from their employers to help them live healthier lives. The Cigna Healthcare Vitality Study 2023 shows that 67 per cent of Singapore respondents said that inflation is making it too expensive to maintain good health, and more than 3 out of 5 (61 per cent) expressed the wish for employers to extend more support toward this end.

“When asked their top three preferences in terms of a robust health and well-being program, most expressed flexible time off or work arrangements (66 per cent), followed by a private health insurance plan (63 per cent) and mental health support (34 per cent),” says Cigna.

The company conducted a survey worldwide, including 1,000 participants in Singapore, across eight key aspects of vitality – emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual. The study highlighted a particular concern—that only one in ten (10 per cent) of Singapore respondents displayed a high level of vitality, as opposed to the global average of one in five and lower than the regional (Asia Pacific) average of 14 per cent.

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The respondents ranked physical health and having a place where they feel safe and well (38 per cent) at the top of the indicators for vitality, followed by learning new things (37 per cent). Cigna points out that this shows how “elements beyond common notions of health, like environmental and intellectual health,” have become increasingly important to vitality.

Interestingly, less than a third of Singapore respondents (30 per cent) indicated that they possess the skills and tools necessary for living a healthy life. “This gap signals the need for employers and policymakers to better equip people with appropriate resources to stay healthy,” Cigna added.

The study also delved into the connection between vitality and stress, showing a difference between those who say they have high and low vitality. A vast majority (83 per cent) of respondents with high vitality said they have strong emotional or mental health, but only 8 per cent of those with low vitality had the same response.

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Furthermore, 93 per cent of those with low vitality said they are stressed, while only 77 per cent of those with high vitality said the same. Overall, 87 per cent of Singapore respondents said they’ve experienced stress, while the global average is 80 per cent.

Sixty per cent of Singapore respondents said that the cost of living crisis is the number one cause of stress. Coming in second is uncertainty about the future (41 per cent) and then personal finance (40 per cent).

“In this era of persistent economic uncertainty and evolving work-life dynamics, the challenge for employers and society is not merely adapting to this shift but embracing it as an opportunity to redefine our commitment to our greatest asset – our people. It is imperative that employers offer holistic support that address the full spectrum of employee vitality and regard this as a key part of organizational strategy. Only then can we foster an environment where every employee can thrive and contribute their best every day,” says Raymond Ng, CEO and Country Manager, Cigna Healthcare Singapore and Australia. /TISG

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