Employee wellness check during the pandemic

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Are your employees thriving, coping or hurting during this pandemic?

How well are your employees doing, whether working from home or at your workplace? It may be time for an employee wellness check. Especially if they’re at home, it’s hard to discern their emotional and mental resilience, if they’re able to perform their job just fine or are having real issues.

No doubt COVID-19, combined with today’s racial equality and social justice issues, are directly affecting your teams. As a recent Gallup article said, no resilience communication training could have fully prepared company leaders for today’s reality.

Most leaders are committed to helping their teams. But they shouldn’t assume employees are well-equipped because months have passed since the pandemic began, and there’ve been a plethora of self-help guides published, Gallup stated. That’s why a regular employee wellness check is even more important than ever.

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Inherent in the job description of business leaders is the responsibility to help mitigate workplace fatigue and isolation. In these extraordinarily prolonged times of remote work and social distancing, company leaders at all levels need to prioritize employee wellness checks. Shared coffee breaks, random lunchroom meet-ups and office drop-ins are a thing of the past—even after employees have returned to the workplace. Leaders must find new ways to foster healthy yet distant relationships. Otherwise, “workplaces will feel the aftershocks of isolation and burnout long after the pandemic is over,” says a recent SHRM article.

Related: COVID resilience tips for employees

In early March when the pandemic began its rapid spread, managers and business owners acted quickly to protect employees, retain customers and secure their organization’s buoyancy. Leaders continued their efforts to keep their teams informed, engaged and safe.

However, Gallup’s latest data suggest that leaders’ COVID-19 communication efforts are slipping. Yet those COVID-19 challenges haven’t solved themselves. Your employees are still looking to you for communication and direction. Hence the need for an ongoing employee wellness check.

“What do people need from their employer to remain happy, productive and successful during times of distress? The simple answer is: the same things they need all the time,” Glints Head of People Science Justin Black writes. “People want to feel valued and confident about the future of their organization, as well as their place in it. They also want to experience a sense of belonging, trust their leaders, be clear on where they should focus, and have a sense of stability in their work.”

View our infographic overview of this blogpost.

How has the pandemic affected employees?

Take a look at these stats from recent employee surveys:

  • 45% of adults said the pandemic has harmed their mental health. (Gallup)
  • 19% of adults surveyed said the pandemic has had a major impact on their mental well-being. (Gallup)
  • 90% of employees said they’ve experienced moderate to extreme stress since they started working from home. (Ginger)
  • Nearly 70% said it’s been the most stressful time of their professional careers. (Ginger)
  • About 66% of employees say they lose at least an hour of productivity each day because they feel isolated and stressed. (Ginger)
  • 25% of U.S. workers have considered quitting their jobs as worries related to the pandemic weigh on them. (Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research)
  • 70% cited juggling their jobs and other responsibilities as a source of stress. (Associated Press-NORC)
  • 50% of women call the pandemic a major source of stress, compared to 36% of men. (Associated Press-NORC)
  • 62% of Black workers and 47% of Hispanic workers say COVID-19 is a major stressor, compared to 39% of white workers. (Associated Press-NORC)

Employees returning to the worksite? You need contact tracing. One of our affiliate companies, AmeriSys, now offers contact tracing to protect your employees – and your company. Learn more.

Gallup recently discovered that engaged workers who are not thriving in their lives are much more vulnerable, adding risk to your organization. When they compared employees who are engaged but not thriving with those who are engaged and thriving, the group not thriving in life reports the following risks:

  • 61% higher likelihood of burnout often or always
  • 48% higher likelihood of stress much of the day yesterday
  • 66% higher likelihood of worry much of the day yesterday
Related: Returning to work amidst COVID-19

The good news is that employers are responding, says a recent Insurance Journal article. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that 57 percent of workers said their employer is doing “about the right amount” in responding to the pandemic; 24 percent said they are “going above and beyond.” Just 18 percent said their employer is “falling short.”

Why an employee wellness check? What’s stressing employees at work?

Another recent poll by G&S Business Communications found the top stressors for employees (and probably their bosses) are:

  • Setting up and handling technology issues
  • Managing time effectively
  • Communicating with colleagues
  • Juggling responsibilities for work and family
  • Getting enough exercise
  • Lack of structure leading to working too many or too few hours
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Too many distractions and interruptions
  • Too much screen time


Next time: How to detect stress and burnout in your team, and how to help