The ongoing pandemic has generated an increase in employee mental health risks, including anxiety and depression.
The isolation of working remotely has been challenging for many, particularly parents of preschool and school-age children. In-person work brings fear of exposure, new workplace responsibilities such as screening and sanitizing, and requirements to wear personal protective equipment. Healthcare workers have been uniquely strained due to their roles in treating patients, managing heightened hospital capacities, and rolling out the vaccine.
Employers play a critical role in providing mental health benefits and must be aware of how stress-inducing events impact employees. During the pandemic, workers have faced adjustments to remote work, school and daycare closures, or loss of a coworker or family member to COVID-19. Under the load of these and other stressors, employees may exhibit mental health indicators such as decreased performance, behavioral changes, increased time off, and gaps in attention.
These stressors, and resulting mental health indicators, are harder to detect when employees are working remotely. Managers need training to identify rising employee mental health issues.