As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, we cheer ourselves by thinking of future socializing in-person. We also think about returning to work or activities we love. These hopes help us through the challenges of physical distancing. Moreover, these challenges show us that we can be more flexible or more creative than we thought we could. For instance, work during the pandemic has taken new forms and new strategies for success. Many of these strategies are also practices that help employers accommodate workers with disabilities. Employers and colleagues are working in new ways and supporting workers in diverse circumstances. In the post-COVID-19 future, more employers may learn how job performance improves when workers’ diverse needs are met. Consequently, more employers may continue to use diverse work strategies and hire workers with disabilities. For example, employers may provide more support for workplace mental health after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Workplace Mental Health After the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the pandemic continues, employers are fielding many new questions and concerns from workers experiencing increased sources of stress. For instance, workers in essential services may be worried about catching the virus. Moreover, remote workers may feel isolated from colleagues. Furthermore, workers may be concerned about changes to their jobs as a result of COVID-19. For example, workers may be concerned about using technology to connect with colleagues. In addition, workers may feel stress not related to work. For instance, workers may be worried about loved ones, or anxious about day-to-day activities like shopping. Finally, workers may be saddened by constant news about the pandemic. All these new concerns may impact workers’ abilities to focus on their jobs.
Support for Workers
However, many employers are supporting workers as they navigate these concerns. For example, employers may communicate frequently about how their workplace is responding to the pandemic. Employers may explain any changes they make to their physical set-up in response to physical distancing. Similarly, they may implement video-conferencing that minimizes feelings of isolation among workers. In addition, they may offer step-by-step instructions on the use of video-conferencing software their company is starting to use.
Furthermore, employers are also empathizing with the many challenges workers are facing in their professional and personal lives. They are also supporting workers by making important changes to their policies. For example, some workplaces are allowing workers to take sick days without a doctor’s note. This policy supports workers’ safety by encouraging them to avoid leaving home. Likewise, employers are also supporting workers who need time off to care for loved ones.
These methods of communicating closely and empathizing with workers also help employers maintain mentally healthy workplaces and accommodate workers who have mental health challenges. Employers are becoming accustomed to offering needed support to workers experiencing high levels of stress. Therefore, employers may recognize the benefits of these supports and offer them on an on-going basis. Moreover, they could include these supports in workplace policies. As a result, workers with mental illnesses may choose to disclose their disabilities. This disclosure gives workers access to accommodations that enhance job performance and benefit both workers and employers.