Today Bupa Global has launched its Executive Wellbeing Index, the first report of its kind to look at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global business leaders and wealth creators who will shape the post-COVID world.

The new research, commissioned among almost 2,000 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) and senior executives based across Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia, in seven key regions, highlights the extensive physical, emotional and economic fallout the pandemic has brought about.

And importantly, it examines how this unprecedented event will bring about changes that will shape the future of business, how we balance work and home life, and attitudes to wellbeing and mental health.

Key findings from the Index include:

  • The mental health toll of the pandemic on HNWIs around the world has been high. Seven in 10 experienced poor mental health during this time – rising to eight in 10 business leaders. And for many, this was a new experience. But nearly a third of HNWIs delayed seeking help due to the pandemic – rising to 40% at boardroom level

  • In the wake of this, the vast majority of HNWIs and heads of business will be initiating shifts to recalibrate work-life balance, enable greater focus on overall wellbeing, and prevent health issues in the future for themselves and those they work with

  • Over half of board-level executives are planning not to return to the same fast pace of life and nearly a third will continue to work mostly from home, some even working permanently from their holiday homes. Others plan to manage down their hours (24%), spend more time with family and friends (36%), as well as cut down on travel, both for personal and environmental reasons

  • To prevent future health issues, executives intend to take more regular exercise (38%, maintain a better diet (32%), and make more time for meditation and mindfulness (30%). Nearly a third will actively focus on adopting more preventative healthcare such as regular health checks, supplements and vaccinations

  • And the pandemic has acted as a catalyst for change in the workplace as well, including greater investment in technology to enable flexible working (29%), fewer face to face meetings (25%) and decentralised teams (17%). While one in four executives commits to providing more or better mental health and wellbeing support for colleagues

  • Six in 10 global executives also shared that their attitudes towards their local public and private healthcare systems have improved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven in 10 are planning to purchase private medical insurance in the next 12 months, expecting greater emphasis on preventative care (including maintenance of good mental health) as well as supporting mental ill-health.

Sheldon Kenton, Managing Director of Bupa Global, said: “The pandemic is still playing out across the world, and we do not yet understand its long-term impact. What we do know however, is that once the initial challenge passes, we will see a long tail of other healthcare needs. With the pandemic still a daily threat, global executives need to brace for even greater challenges ahead, and, the need for mental health support has never been greater.

“As a premium health insurer, our role is to find a way to provide a holistic approach to protecting our customers’ health – both to address current needs, and help boost health and wellbeing to prevent issues in the future . The Bupa Global Executive Wellbeing Index helps us identify critical concern areas, so we can personalise these solutions.

“Bupa Global is committed to providing the best medical services to our customers around the world. That’s why we have already invested in our mental health expertise and offering, further enhancing our mental health cover for individuals and their families, as well as expanding our Global Virtual Care service which gives people access to international doctors wherever they are in the world. We also provide a range of preventive health and wellbeing services and annual health checks, designed to help customers manage their health holistically.”

View the full report and accompanying infographic.