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The effects of the pandemic on the mental and physical health of employees

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Soon after the global pandemic started at the beginning of 2020, we began to witness changes in nearly any field of our lives. Be it healthcare, social life, and, of course, our working conditions.

In today’s article, we’ll take a closer look at the effects of the pandemic in terms of the mental and physical health of employees.

We’ll discuss the most common changes and effects of the office work, and what can we do to improve it.

 

The effects of the pandemic on the mental health

A few months into the global pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced increased demand for mental health services.

The most common symptom the people experienced was increased anxiety. And as we now know, both stress and anxiety can have a detrimental effect on our well-being.

In fact, stress can cause a wide array of the following mental and physical health issues, including:

  • insomnia;
  • increased feelings of fear, sadness, worry, anger and frustration;
  • decreased energy levels;
  • difficulties in focusing and making decisions;
  • changes in appetite;
  • feelings of numbness and lack of interest in anything;
  • physical symptoms (headaches, pains, sensitive skin, etc.);
  • increased usage of alcoholic beverages and drugs.

All of these mental health problems translate to our work life as well.

For instance, decreased energy levels and lack of concentration or motivation at work can make it very hard (or sometimes even impossible) to perform at our best and deliver top results.

What’s the way out of this situation? And what can we do to support ourselves and our colleagues?

The key is to learn to deal with day-to-day stress. What a company could do to support its staff, is to invest in professional stress management training and encourage employees to seek professional help.

The key is to acknowledge that stress is one of the main factors of employee performance. Hence, a business must do everything to support its employees in solving anxiety and stress-related issues.

 

The effects of the pandemic on the physical health

Based on a survey of 2800 workers, nearly 70% of professionals have started working on the weekends after transitioning to remote work. Another 45% say they work longer hours than before the global pandemic.

Needless to say, these changes took a toll on the physical health of the employees.

Based on another study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, with more hours spent by the computer screens, 41,2% of remote workers reported low back pain, and 23,5% experienced neck pain.

Headaches and eye strain are also among the most common complaints of remote workers.

What can the employees do to improve their physical well-being?

  • Taking regular breaks is key in avoiding dry eyes and back pains.
  • Daily exercise is highly recommended to stay active and fit.
  • Drinking enough water and following a healthy diet helps in overall well-being.
  • Wearing glasses with a blue light filter and using eye drops can help with the drain eye symptom.

 

Bottom line

With the negative effects that the global pandemic has brought to our professional lives, it is key to take additional steps to improve our physical and mental health.

Employees simply cannot perform at their peak without feeling good in terms of their mental state and physical well-being.

Therefore, businesses have an obligation to do everything in their power to support their team members.