Nine in 10 in Singapore rebalancing life priorities after pandemic
August 2023   THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Nine in 10 in Singapore rebalancing life priorities after pandemic

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The global pandemic has changed us. The unexpected, disruptive and isolating nature of the crisis has affected and continues to affect many of us in ways more fundamental than how we work, live and play. A new report by Cigna Healthcare Singapore reveals that people in the nation are now more resilient and open to change, while almost nine in 10 (88%) have reassessed their lives, with younger respondents under 45 more likely to have done so.

Our key findings:

  • Almost nine in 10 (88%) Singaporeans say the pandemic has led them to reassess their lives, significantly higher than the global average of 79%
  • Respondents named spending more time with family and friends (52%), more natural approaches to diet and well-being (31%) and “being okay” with their emotions (25%) as the top three things they have considered doing
  • 42% of Singaporeans feel they are more ready to embrace change after the pandemic, and more than a third (36%) have become more resilient

The latest 360 Global Well-Being Survey: Singapore Insights Report by global health service provider Cigna Healthcare is based on a survey of almost 9,000 people worldwide, including 1,100 respondents in Singapore. It uncovers major shifts in attitudes and perceptions by respondents, as well as the top priorities that came out of the post-pandemic reassessment.

Group of friends

Connection with people and well-being now paramount post-pandemic

People in Singapore may be familiar with the “Singaporean Dream”, a term long associated with a list of coveted possessions commonly known as the 5Cs: car, cash, condominium, credit card, and country club membership. However, the report found that many in the nation are now actively thinking about non-materialistic aspects of life including their connection with family and friends, physical and emotional well-being, and fulfilment at work.

The COVID-19 preventive measures in Singapore have likely caused people to value togetherness going forward. Among respondents who have reassessed their lives, 52% indicated that they would like to spend more time with family and friends. This sentiment is shared worldwide, with 49% saying it is a top consideration.

A stronger focus on health and well-being, both physical and emotional, is also evident, with 31% of Singapore respondents considering more natural approaches to diet and well-being, as well as 25% learning to “be okay” with their emotions.

Top three actions people are considering in Singapore vs. globally

The pandemic has also prompted many in Singapore to rethink their job and career, something more prevalent in the city state than any other market surveyed. Close to a quarter (23%) of Singapore respondents wanted to find a new job that is more fulfilling while 21% said they wish to retire early.

These priorities vary across age groups: respondents aged 25-34 were most likely to focus on finding a fulfilling job (31%), while those approaching retirement age (45-65) considered early retirement the most (29%).

These shifts could be linked to people’s general sense of time speeding up during the pandemic, according to Chartered Psychologist Dr Nilufar Ahmed, Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences from the University of Bristol. The feeling of needing to make up for milestones and opportunities lost during the pandemic can influence choices about jobs and lifestyle.

Higher adaptability and resilience but greater concern about illness

The disruptions brought about by the pandemic were unlike any other crisis in the last few decades. This experience has made 42% of Singaporeans more ready to embrace change, and 36% more resilient. On the other hand, 41% are now more worried about illness – the second highest proportion among the markets surveyed, just behind Hong Kong.

Top three changes in attitude in Singapore vs. globally

Raymond Ng, CEO & Country Manager, Cigna Healthcare Singapore & Australia said: “Our research shows that the people of Singapore have become more resilient and adaptable to change after the pandemic. At the same time, our priorities and aspirations have evolved, with many now valuing family and emotional well-being more, which we see as a silver lining from the crisis.”

Over to you

As people become more conscious about their health, employers can help give people peace of mind by providing a comprehensive healthcare plan. Health information to help employees focus on getting well if they fall sick, and initiatives that improve well-being and vitality when people are well are equally important in empowering employees to be their best self both at work and beyond.

To this end, Cigna Healthcare has launched the 5% Pledge, a global workplace mental health movement which invites leaders and managers from all organisations to commit time into understanding the needs of employees as well as implementing tangible change to improve their well-being. Find out more here: https://www.cigna.com.sg/5-percent-pledge

Download the Report [PDF]

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