Almost all employees struggle with COVID-19 anxiety

Physical health and safety is not the only thing on their minds

Almost all employees struggle with COVID-19 anxiety

An alarming 92% of employees reported feeling some level of anxiety due to the ongoing pandemic, according to a new study.

About half of them (55%) indicated experiencing moderate or high degree of anxiety.

Additionally, seven in 10 employees reported feeling distracted at work due to COVID-19 concerns. Another two-thirds are saying they’re facing difficulties balancing working from home and other responsibilities.

Meanwhile, three in five employees feel bogged down by financial concerns, with more than half (54%) claiming their employer have not made it easier to access or use their benefits, found Willis Tower Watson.

However, about half (47%) said their employer have effectively applied employee benefits to meet current needs of the crisis.

READ MORE: COVID-19: How to relieve employee anxiety

Lesley Brown, Asia Pacific Practice Leader, Employee Insights at Willis Towers Watson shared that the challenges presented by the crisis highlights the demand for cross-functional collaboration to truly employee needs.

Brown gave some tips to manage the rising anxiety levels:

  • Manage employee anxiety through HR benefit-related coping support
  • Help staff tackle distractions by encouraging line managers to deepen team connections
  • Alleviate financial worries by urging company heads to demonstrate leadership
  • Improve overall employee experience by understanding job constraints due to issues outside of work

The study found that only about half (49%) of the employees who can manage issues outside of work report moderate to high anxiety compared with 80% of employees unable to do so.

In addition, employees in stronger team environments express much lower rates of distraction (16%) relative to colleagues who struggle to collaborate (56%).

READ MORE: 5 tips to manage coronavirus anxiety

“In Asia Pacific, many employers are trying to maintain business operations, while also looking ahead to restoring stability after social distancing measures are relaxed by local governments,” Brown said. “While they do this, it is important to remember that this is a time when empathy and careful listening to their employees are also very critical.

“There is a clear opportunity for employers to put their people first and do all they can to show support and build goodwill. Employers have many levers to pull, such as helping workers upgrade their work-from-home technology and enhancing programmes that can help employees battle emotional and financial anxiety.”

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