Personal wellbeing damaged by work


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Worries about money in particular are having a negative effect on workers' wellbeing

The average Briton's sense of wellbeing has declined sharply over the past three years, partially due to the pressures of work, according to research from insurance provider Cigna International Markets.

More than 14,000 people were surveyed globally, including more than 1,000 in the UK for the annual Cigna 360° Wellbeing Survey. The UK was ranked eighth out of the 13 countries polled, falling from fifth in 2016 and third in 2015. This year it scored behind India (first place), Thailand (second) and China (third), but ahead of Turkey (ninth place), Singapore (10th) and Hong Kong (11th).

Employers' impact on wellbeing was explored. More than half (54%) of respondents said their company does not value their work/life balance, and only a third (32%) felt their workplace wellness programme matches their needs.

Worries about money were also found to be having a negative effect. Only a third (38%) of respondents said they felt that they could take good care of their children’s financial requirements, and just 20% believe they would be financially secure if they were unable to work. When it comes to later life, only 20% of people in the UK thought that they would have sufficient money once they retire.

Peter Mills, medical director at Cigna Global Health Benefits, said that he was not surprised by the findings. “People are faced with an uncertain political and economic environment, and concerns about the future are inevitably taking a toll on their wellbeing,” he said. “People feel that they are not spending enough time with their families, and they’re also worried about the future - for their children, for themselves and for their parents."

He added that businesses should take note of the findings. “Britain’s fall in the global rankings is not only a concern for families but for businesses as well. It is a clear early warning sign that employers need to start thinking more deeply about how to better support employees’ work/life balance. With half our waking hours spent at work, it will require a combined work/life solution to improve the nation’s overall wellbeing.”

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