With September around the corner, we’re about to reach a very critical point in this pandemic timeline, with more adversity than we’ve faced since COVID-19 popped some 6 months ago.
Here is a quick list of things coming in the month ahead for many of us:
Back to School
Re-opening of Day Care programs
Beginning of Fall (cooler temperatures, pushing people indoors where the virus has been feasting)
End of Summer
Return to Work
All of this all adds up to the most stressful period (collectively) we’ve had since this madness all started. Our resilience is about to face a major test.
For organizations and specifically HR teams that are tasked with executing their return to work strategies, there is a lot to consider when we factor in the elevated stress levels of the returning workforce.
A Benefits Survey from Willis Towers Watson polled leaders from 816 organizations that represent 12 million employees. It suggested the top 2 employer concerns post COVID-19 are communications (67%) and mental health (43%). Employers are now recognizing the lag in workplace mental health from where it needed to be and are now unfortunately playing catch up.
Getting Employee Mental Health Right, Once and For All
69% of employees say the coronavirus pandemic is the most stressful time of their entire professional career. According to Ginger, 88% of workers reported experiencing moderate to extreme stress over the past 4-6 weeks.
What are the implications for organizations? 62% of workers report losing at least one hour a day in productivity due to COVID-19-related stress, with 32% losing more than two hours per day.
These figures are highly problematic.
There was tremendous need before COVID-19 to deal with benefits, programs and culture to address mental health concerns. The pandemic has intensified this need, significantly. And now with return to work? For employers it’s a very scary proposition.
Organizations must be intentional about elevating the importance of mental health so that employees are taken care of, and they need to do it now.