Study: Morale, Mental Health Issues are Major Concerns for Employers

02 Apr, 2020 Nancy Grover


Sarasota, FL ( – Mental health issues among workers, especially those who are injured are especially heightened during the coronavirus pandemic. Many employers surveyed listed morale and the mental health of their employees among their top concerns. Experts point out that increased anxiety and stress among those who are injured can impede their recoveries, if not addressed appropriately.

“With the workplace itself and connections with co-workers a defining part of many individuals’ lives, several respondents indicated that managing employee morale and mental health, as well as trying to keep employees calm, were top of mind,” said a flash survey report from the law firm Littler Mendelson. “One in-house lawyer mentioned the delicate balance of ‘giving the right amount of concern and attention without causing panic’ and an HR Director indicated grappling with ‘how to address employee anxiety over concerns regarding the virus.’

The responses were based on a survey of 900 employers in mid-March, just as the pandemic was starting to get into full swing. ”As employees continue to be impacted in numerous ways, both personally and professionally, providing resources and support to help them cope will likely continue to be a focus of progressive employers, alongside managing a slew of other legal and operational issues,” the report said.

Those employees who are injured face unique challenges during the pandemic. They are increasingly unable to see medical providers due to offices cancelling appointments or closing; in many industries the closure of facilities means there are no modified duty options available. These and other factors exacerbate their stress and anxiety.

“I have yet to speak with someone who hasn’t experienced some fear or anxiety about facing this new reality and many are also feeling overwhelmed when considering the future for themselves, their jobs and their families,” wrote Mark Debus, Behavioral Health Team Lead for Sedgwick, in a blogpost. “It’s a struggle for them to feel hopeful and many lose sight of their own resiliency.”

Debus wrote of the need for employers and others to help “normalize the fears and anxieties of the moment.” Then, he said, the focus should be on action. “Namely, what do we actually have control over and what do we not have control over? This might vary from person to person and I believe it’s important to have this conversation with a recovering employee as a way to help them develop their own action steps, maintain focus on their progress and prepare for a return to work when that is feasible.”

Debus suggested helping injured workers focus on what they can do right now, rather than letting their fears of the future get the best of them. Reaching out for support among family and friends is another, along with asking providers if there are telemedicine options.

“If in mental health treatment, make sure I maintain contact by phone, text, email or virtual visits with my treatment providers,” Debus advised. “Ask for help when needed and help others when able.”

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    About The Author

    • Nancy Grover

      Nancy Grover is a freelance writer having recently retired as the Director, Media Services for She comes to our company with more than 35 years as a broadcast journalist and communications consultant. Grover’s specialties include insurance, workers’ compensation, financial services, substance abuse, healthcare and disability. For 12 years she served as the Program Chair of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. A journalism/speech graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Grover also holds an MBA from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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