Four in five workers experienced fears around catching or spreading Covid-19 upon their return-to-work last year.
This comes from Monash University’s Insurance Health Work Group, part of the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, published in The Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation.
The most common concerns reported by participants were getting infected with Covid-19, infecting other people, being able to maintain physical distance from colleagues, and being concerned about work colleagues coming to work when sick.
The study’s findings offer government, industry and employers an opportunity to develop evidence-based support resources and strategies to ease the transition back to worksites.
“It’s natural for people to have concerns about returning to workplaces after such upheaval,” says study lead and Director of the Insurance Work and Health Research Group, Professor Alex Collie.
“We expected people to be worried around infection risks in the workplace, but this study shows people are also worried about changes to their life at home, such as spending less time with family, and losing the ability to work from home.
“The study also shows us that everyone’s circumstances are unique. Some people have few if any concerns about returning to their usual workplace. It may offer them a sense of separation of work and home, and increased socialisation.”
Professor Collie adds that this study shows reveals “the need for targeted strategies to allay a broad range of concerns, experienced differently throughout the workplace”.
“Effective communication about improved infection control practices at worksites will be vital for employers.
“They may need to invest in programs to identify and further support employees experiencing psychological distress and mental health issues.
“Where possible, impacts on home and family life should be considered.
“For parents with dependent children, maintaining flexibility around the working location into the future may provide a gentler, more manageable transition back to the workplace,” he says.
To read the study, click here.