Working in the Corona- Crisis: Mental Burdens for Employees during the Pandemic

Home office, home schooling, short-time work: Employees currently see themselves confronted with a multitude of challenges. Many companies had to take far-reaching measures to follow contact restrictions and to ensure the continuity of the business in this situation. While several studies deal with the consequences of social isolation, a research team at the University of Applied Sciences for Management Studies (HdWM) examines how the changes in the work situation effect the psychological well-being of employees. The investigations were conducted by the Head of study programme and burnout expert, Prof. Dr. Andreas Zimber.

The as yet unpublished study by Prof. Zimber and colleagues examines what measures companies are taking during the crisis and the psychological stress it places on workers. To this end, changes in the company were surveyed, which since the outbreak of Corona compared to the last 12 months. These data were compared with the current condition of the subjects ...and the data is synchronized. Job insecurity, stress symptoms, Burnout symptoms and negative emotional states, such as anxiety or worry, examined. In order to be able to make statements about the extent of mental stress of employees, the results of studies were compared with the results of from the time before the Corona pandemic. The online survey included almost 150 participants, representatives from various industries and company sizes. Especially many young employees were represented in the study.

Citizens are highly concerned about the effects of the virus. It was therefore surprising that job insecurity showed no abnormalities in stress symptoms - on the contrary: uncertainty and stress were even slightly below the comparative studies. Employees in companies where there are already measures taken in the course of the Corona pandemic, such as short-time working or home office, had higher values. Especially for women this effect had to be proven. In companies, where already employees had to make significant cuts in their working hours, higher burnout symptoms, such as physical and mental exhaustion and negative emotions, like fear and worry, were visible. "Since the the initial restrictions have only been in place for a few weeks, we must continue examinations whether the mental stress of workers is reduced or eliminated, and increased overall or limited to those which are already affected by concrete measures," explains Prof. Zimber the results. "Not only the companies, but also certain risk groups among workers will need support. Helpful could be for example a telephone employee advisory service. Through them the chronification of mental stress can be effectively prevented."
During data collection, the economic psychologists were confronted with the great network of the HdWM into the economy. The partner companies were willing to participate in the study and gained valuable insights into give.

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