Caring for the wellbeing of our employees during stormy times: the COVID-19 crisis

In 2020, our working environment changed profoundly. We do not believe that we will return to how things were before and therefore need to embrace the “new normal”. To define the future of work at Swiss Re we seek to strike a balance between employee needs, desired corporate culture, the need for in-person collaboration and innovation, engagement, talent attraction, sustainability, productivity and wellbeing. We see the future as a hybrid model between the workplace and the home and aim to remain at the forefront of those changes.

In 2020, the wellbeing of our employees was our top priority. We took many steps to keep up with this topic:

Personal resilience (icon)

Personal resilience

Two wellbeing surveys conducted in 2020 enabled us to listen to and understand how employees have been coping with the evolving situation. We actively sought their feedback on how we could support them better.

Employee health (icon)

Employee health

When monitoring sickness data, we found that 2020 was an outlier, with employees recording fewer sick days compared to previous years (see graph below). We are committed to boosting our employees’ personal resilience and hence are investing in additional activities to support employees and the organisation. To read more about our mental health initiatives, see “We perform”.

Support work from home (icon)

Support work from home

  • To reflect the challenges of work disruptions, Swiss Re gave the majority of employees a discretionary one-time award in August 2020 equivalent to ≈USD 200 net. This payment aimed to help employees cover the costs of, for example, electronic equipment or furniture for their workspace at home.
  • Feedback from surveys showed that COVID-19 has added immense pressure, in particular to workload, impacting the way we work and, in many cases, testing our personal resilience.
    In recognition of these challenges, we celebrated the first Swiss ReSilience Day: a one-off event in January 2021. All employees were given the day off in addition to their annual leave and received another one-time award of ≈ USD 200 towards helping them recharge their batteries.
  • During periods of lockdown, our gastronomy team in Switzerland shared recipes to encourage home cooking and offered take-away meals, as employees were unable to access our staff restaurants.
Absences due to sick leave in 2020 (% of employees)

The percentage of employees who were sick was significantly reduced in 2020

Absences due to sick leave in 2020 (% of employees) (graphic)

Excluding countries and entities where data is not available (mainly Americas and iptiQ). The above table shows the figures excluding ReAssure employees.