Because of the nature of my position, I speak to countless people about a variety of different things.

There is no doubt in my mind that the COVID-19 health pandemic has created a number of challenges for employees preparing to return to the workplace.

According to the most recent Mental Health Index compiled by Total Brain and the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, “stress, anxiety, depressed moods, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and sleep apnea have all worsened  among workers since March.”

Of particular note, “anxiety and depressed moods were more prevalent in workers in April than before the pandemic the index noted.”

The index found:

  • A 29% increase in workers risk of PTSD since the start of February 2021.
  • A 33% rise in anxiety among women from March to April.
  • A 40% increase in anxiety over the past two months among middle aged workers.
  • A 15% jump in both anxiety and depressed moods since the pre-pandemic days.
  • A 25% rise in women’s stress in the past month.
  • A 47% increase is anxiety for workers between 40-59.

Employee Benefit News reported that “two-thirds of workers say they have anxiety about returning to their workplaces. EBN said that with employers hoping to reopen offices and return to pre-pandemic life, they must be ready to deal with a workforce in crisis.”

"After more than a year of emotional stress and trauma, employers and employees will never be the same," Michael Thompson, National Alliance president and CEO, said in a release. "As we get to the other side of the pandemic, we look with both hope and anxiety to a period of renewal, reconnection and reconstruction of our longer-term realities."

It is my strong belief that this stress is real and employers are going to have to deal with it effectively.

This is exacerbated by the voluminous amount of job openings that need to be filled.

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SOURCES: Total Brain and the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions & Employee Benefit News .