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  • Over half (54%) of adults are working outside normal work hours, as Britain says goodbye to the 9 to 5
  • UK businesses are being blindsided by growth and overlooking employee health, with 88% experiencing burnout
  • Cigna Healthcare launches initiative for companies to place employee health at heart of business growth

The majority (54%) of British workers are having to work outside traditional work hours – as Britain says goodbye to the 9 to 5.

That’s according to new research from global health service company Cigna Healthcare which reveals almost nine in ten (88%) of UK employees are displaying signs of burnout – as almost half (47%) admit their employer prioritises productivity over staff mental health and well-being.

And with over three quarters (78%) of workers reporting that they’re stressed, and a fifth of stressed workers admitting they’re less productive as a result, Cigna Healthcare is calling for organisations to place employee health at the heart of growth and profits.

The new initiative, Your Health Plan, Your Growth Plan is aimed at UK SME’s and multinational companies who have expat employees. It aims to raise awareness about the negative effects of putting profit first, with employee burnout often leading to chronic illnesses and mental health issues. Your Health Plan, Your Growth Plan will support and inspire businesses to prioritise the health of their workforce, which in turn can help increase productivity, vitality, retention and performance – and ultimately lead to business growth.

Jason Sadler, President, International Health, Cigna Healthcare said: “The current climate is challenging, and many businesses are facing recessionary cost pressures, but we are seeing out of hours working and burnout become the ‘norm’. This impacts productivity, retention and the bottom line. Employee health is imperative for any business to succeed and it’s crucial that businesses stop being blindsided by growth and start to recognise this.

While cutting costs can be instinctive during tough economic times, investing in healthcare can actually reap benefits for the business. Our new campaign aims to shift the conversation towards employee health as a driver of business growth, and how investment in healthcare could in fact be a solution to create value.” 

The cost of under-investing in employee health is clear; globally 12 billion working days are lost due to employees suffering from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety1, equating to US$1 trillion in lost productivity2. In the UK alone, 18 million days per year, on average, are lost at work to mental health conditions3.

The Your Health Plan, Your Growth Plan initiative launches as the research by Cigna Healthcare, conducted among more than 1,200 UK adult workers, also revealed:

  • Three quarters of workers (75%) have worked while unwell
  • Over half (53%) said that an employer focus on health and well-being created a more positive work environment
  • 51% said a focus on health and well-being led to better productivity
    • Almost a third (31%) said absenteeism decreased

From an expat perspective, the firm’s Globally Mobile Vitality Study reveals:

  • Working longer hours has become a way of life, with roughly half (51%) of expats going beyond normal hours
  • Burnout rate remains high with 96% having experienced at least one burnout symptom
  • Nine out of ten Globally Mobile have felt at least one symptom of stress with disrupted sleep (45%) the most common symptom
  • Globally Mobile continue to feel stressed – more so than locals (86% vs. 78%) with millennials the most stressed (90%)

To help businesses successfully implement a health plan and begin prioritising employee health as well as growth, Cigna Healthcare has identified some top tips:

  1. Be flexible, not dictatorial, especially with working hours.​ Employees are putting more emphasis on work/life balance to support health and overall well-being
  2. Build an empathetic culture that allows people to open up about physical and mental issues.​ Employee health cannot be addressed openly and honestly unless the workplace is a safe space for people to talk about their concerns
  3. Keep up with digital trends and use remote, virtual health tools. Have employees fill out a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) to gain insight into their general health and lifestyle. Using insights from the HRA, businesses can implement changes in their organisation and monitor their success
  4. Take a long-term view,supporting employees in their health journey by offering preventative care, as well as reactive cover.​ This can inspire employees to participate in health programs and ultimately take control of their health
  5. Use rewards to drive healthier behaviours offering wearables and fitness club memberships, for example. Digital devices allow people to proactively monitor their health on an ongoing basis which can help with engagement
  6. Make a noise. Every health plan needs a communication plan to help people see the benefits of their cover.
  7. Spot issues early using line managers and mental health first aiders.​ Be mindful that managers aren’t perfect – they need to be trained to listen to employees and to recognise the signs
  8. Be culturally sensitive. For many employees, talking about their health needs is not only an uncomfortable intrusion to who they are in the workplace but also who they are as people. It’s important to recognise one size doesn’t fit all, and adapt to beliefs, behaviours, values and languages.

For further information about Cigna Healthcare Your Health Plan, Your Growth Plan please visit Your health plan, your growth plan (

About Cigna Healthcare, International Health

Cigna Healthcare, International Health is part of The Cigna Group (NYSE:CI), a global health service company with roots in the US, serving more than 180 million customers and patients throughout the world. We deliver quality health care and health services through choice, predictability, affordability and through integrated solutions. We have more than 60 years of experience in designing, implementing and managing international group health insurance and employee benefits programs for European corporations, International Organisations (IGO & NGO) and governments. We also provide health services for globally mobile individuals. To support our customers, Cigna Healthcare has dedicated offices in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Spain, Kenya, Dubai, the United States, and Malaysia. Over the years, we have acquired an in-depth understanding of the daily challenges faced by international organisations, and their staff members in managing their Whole Health.