Globally mobile workers on assignment have more health concerns than their stay-at-home colleagues.
And a staggering 72% – nearly three out of four expats – are unhappy with their work/life balance because they do not have enough time to spend with their families.
Loneliness is also a big problem for expats on assignment, with one in four who are single or living alone reporting that business travel and unaccompanied moves leave them feeling isolated, says research by private medical insurer Cigna.
The study suggests that employers can do more to support their workers moving between countries, such as encouraging them to live in serviced apartments with shared social spaces so they have more contact with other people outside of work.
Concerns about wellbeing of children
The Cigna 360° Wellbeing Survey – Globally Mobile Individuals highlights that expats on assignment worry more about their health and wellness than those who live in their home country.
Most complained (76%) that they could not properly look after the needs and wellbeing of their children. The report also noted that expats were anxious about the education of their children when they did not have a local family network to support them.
Many also felt their employers failed them when on assignment., with 42% saying their employer did not offer them adequate support and another 40% confirming their companies did not offer any medical benefits.
All the 2,000 globally mobile individuals said they worried about illness, fearing cancer and accidents the most, followed by mental illness, including depression.
“While working overseas has its benefits, the reality of life in a new country can be an emotional upheaval,” said Phil Austin, CEO Cigna Europe. “Working practices are different, not to mention the cultural, lifestyle and language changes, which can make coping with life’s challenges more difficult.
“Our findings show 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. It’s imperative that employers pay attention to the needs of their globally mobile employees and, as a health partner, we remain committed as ever in delivering solutions to tackle this.”