Work-Life Balance Drives Vitality in the UAE

In a recent study by Cigna Healthcare, financial stress is affecting productivity and health for both individuals and organizations.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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Cigna Healthcare has released the results of a recent study on health, vitality, and work-life health balance. The recent study consists of 35 questions asked to more than 10,800 respondents in 12 global markets, including Africa, Asia, the US, and the Middle East regions, exploring eight dimensions of health.

Stress is a key factor affecting both individual health and organizational success. The study that Inc. Arabia received via email lists an alarming disruption of sleep, depression, and loss of interest in activities as some of the top impacts. 

However, a lot of the study respondents expressed a desire to change their work-life balance situation.

An overwhelming 83% of employees in the UAE, which is significantly higher than the global average, indicated that they prefer a private health insurance plan over a government-run one.

Only 25% of respondents in the UAE mentioned subsidized gym memberships, despite them being perhaps the most traditional form of employer-provided health support globally.

UAE Highlights

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), approximately 32% of respondents reported high vitality levels. However, this figure represents a decline from the 39% vitality score recorded at the beginning of 2023. 

The study also shows that 71% of respondents profoundly value learning new things. Interestingly, this intellectual pursuit is prioritized over physical health. 

Emphasis on Emotional Well-being

The study reveals that respondents highly prioritize environmental and social health, with 63% expressing awareness of safe and welcoming spaces and an equal percentage believing in their capacity to build meaningful connections with others.

Individuals with low vitality scores are more prone to stress, with 98% reporting elevated stress levels compared to 84% in the high vitality group.

Stress remains prevalent in the UAE, with 89% of respondents experiencing stress—a figure surpassing the global average, with 99% reporting at least one burnout symptom.


With 45% of respondents highlighting its significance, the "cost of living crisis," which is a result of global inflation, emerges as a major source of stress in the UAE. Financial concerns, particularly those related to personal and family finances, closely follow suit. With expectations of sustained high global interest rates, financial concerns top the list of stress and anxiety triggers. 

The study highlights the significant role of employers in supporting their workforce, especially in the context of inflation impacting health. In the UAE, 74% of employees report that inflation poses challenges to maintaining their health.

Instead of looking forward to the sunshine each morning, 65% of respondents express anxiety and anticipation, finding the start of the day a cause for stress. 

Lifestyle Shifts Post-Pandemic

Just like New Year's resolutions, there were a lot of post-pandemic lifestyle changes. 79% of respondents in the UAE emphasized the increased importance of being close to family and friends.  75% of those interviewed say they have given more attention to their health post-pandemic. 

Private health insurance plans (83%) top the list of preferred health and well-being programs in the UAE. Flexible work arrangements (a preference for hybrid and home-based work by 35%) and mental health support programs (33%). 

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