Global employee survey: Dutch least stressed


Less stress among Dutch employees says nothing about overall mental health

  • Spiritual, family, physical and mental well-being Dutch employees are below European average;
  • Employee stress levels are higher among women than men, and higher among younger than older employees;
  • Dutch employees are accustomed to hybrid working, working from home or working remotely.

Amsterdam, Nov. 02, 2023 - Dutch employees are the least stressed of all employees worldwide, according to research conducted annually by international health insurer Cigna Healthcare. 'Only' 64% of Dutch respondents experience stress. In Belgium, where employees experience the most stress, it is 81%.

Although the number of European workers feeling stressed is below the global average, the survey indicates that stress levels are also high after the corona pandemic. That picture is consistent across Europe. In particular, Dutch employees experience relatively less stress when it comes to worries about the cost of living, personal finances and uncertainty about the future. However, employees in our country experience as much stress as in other countries due to too much work.

The survey also shows that women (80%) in Europe experience more stress than men (71%) and that stress is particularly age-related: younger workers experience more stress than older workers. Between the ages of 18-24, 89% of employees experience stress, while that figure drops to 82% in the 25-44 age group and to 68% in the 45-59 age group. Less than half of those aged 60+ experience stress (49%).

The fact that Dutch employees experience less stress than the high European and global average says nothing about overall mental health. Indeed, Dutch employees still score the highest mark in Europe (67.9) when it comes to vitality, although the European average (66.3) is close. But in other aspects that affect overall health, our country does significantly less well. For example, Dutch employees fare poorly compared to the European average in terms of spiritual (-9%), familial (-8%), physical (-6%) and mental (-4%) well-being.

"Our latest research shows that overall health is a sum of numerous factors. Many external stressors affect our mental well-being, leading to worryingly high rates of stress and burnout. Studies of people's well-being should take into account the bigger picture: intellectual and emotional stimulation, cultural and social connections, financial and physical security and, of course, health.", Arjan Toor, CEO of Cigna Europe.

The modern definition of well-being goes beyond physical and mental health. It is a dynamic concept, resulting from the sum of our choices, the quality of our relationships and the health of our environment. The 2023 Vitality Study therefore measures overall health using multidimensional factors. The study brings together insights on how social, occupational, financial, intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional and environmental factors are interrelated and redefine our concept of health.

The research also specifically addresses the mental well-being of employees since changed working conditions due to corona. In that regard, compared to employees in other European countries, Dutch employees have little difficulty with hybrid working and a relatively large proportion of the workforce sometimes works from home or remotely (55%). Of all countries worldwide, the Netherlands is the country where most employees have a work-from-home arrangement (52%).

Dr. Stella George, Chief Medical Officer International Health at Cigna Healthcare, adds that employers have a responsibility to create workplaces that help their employees develop well. Skills, such as creating a safe environment, building knowledge and being able to handle emotions, are among the highest indicators of overall vitality among Dutch employees.

Key vitality indicators for Dutch employees

  • I have places at my disposal where I can always go and where I feel safe and good (55%)
  • I have the freedom and ability to support myself financially (52%)
  • I value learning new things and understanding them better and better (43%)
  • I feel I am able to control my own emotions (40%)
  • I can successfully build relationships with others (39%)

Note to editors:

About the Cigna Healthcare vitality study.
For the Cigna Healthcare Vitality Study, over 10,800 respondents were surveyed between May and June 2023 in the US, UK, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Kenya, UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, Singapore and Hong Kong SAR.

The survey asked 35 questions to gauge respondents' sense of social, occupational, financial, intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional and environmental well-being. This gave Cigna Healthcare a comprehensive picture of people's ability to thrive in an organizational environment and to live in health and with strength and energy.

The survey is based on the Evernorth Vitality Index©, developed in collaboration with leading clinical psychologist and author Dr. Richard Ryan, using his Self-Determination Theory and Subjective Vitality Scales (SVS). The index measures eight dimensions of well-being and three components of the SVS.

About Cigna Healthcare
Cigna Healthcare is a provider of healthcare services that advocates for better health at every stage of life. We guide our clients through the healthcare system, giving them the information and insight they need to make the best choices to improve their health and vitality. Products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of The Cigna Group (NYSE:CI), including Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Evernorth Health companies or their subsidiaries and Express Scripts companies or their subsidiaries.

Such products and services include an integrated package of health care services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits and others.

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