- Nearly two-thirds of employers say they will face more employee stress and anxiety than normal in the next three to six months, an April 27 Willis Towers Watson survey of 200 employers found. Slightly fewer (60%) said they expect they will need to maintain employee resiliency.
- Much of this work will fall to managers, the risk management firm said. So far, the results appear positive; 89% of respondents said managers have "stepped up" to support employees throughout the pandemic. Managers still have room for growth, however: A quarter of respondents have upped employee training opportunities for managers, and another third plan to do so.
- More broadly, 59% of employers said their remote work arrangements will remain intact after the pandemic ends, and half said they plan to continue offering flexible work.
Workers' and employers' expectations for the post-pandemic work world may be somewhat in sync. A third of workers in a OnePoll and Citrix survey said they expect organizations to be more relaxed about remote work after public health and government officials declare it safe to return to work. According to the Willis Towers Watson poll, employers may agree with that assessment.
The sudden shift to remote work, however, has revealed the gaps in employer and employee readiness. Workers in the OnePoll and Citrix survey reported various tech challenges like insufficient Wi-Fi in addition to witnessing or creating mishaps and gaffs during video calls. And a third of respondents said they're overwhelmed by their new working-from-home lifestyle. This, combined with the short- and long-term worries created by the novel coronavirus, may contribute to the mental health issues employers in the Willis Towers Watson survey expect to face in the coming months.
Equipping managers to support employees during this challenging time may be a good launching pad for employers' mental health strategies. Empathy, after all, has been highlighted as one of the key elements of employers' coronavirus response by Mercer and LinkedIn. For HR specifically, sources previously recommended the department develop policies and practices that respect and support worker mental health. HR professionals may be able to highlight or add to mental health resources available during this time, including virtual options such as telebehavioral health.