COVID-19: Challenges of Returning to Work or Staying at Work During a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented workplace disruptions for the past 10 months, and there is growing evidence of its toll on worker health and well-being. The ability of workers to continue working under difficult circumstances and their willingness to return to the workplace will depend on extraordinary efforts by workers, employers, and health care systems. In this presentation, three researchers in occupational health and safety reflect on current events and share data and suggestions for adapting worker health and rehabilitation programs to this new reality. Topics will include mental health impacts, job stress, bullying and incivility, organizational climate, use of telehealth for injured workers, impact of broader socioeconomic changes, and the effects of COVID-19 on vulnerable workers.
You will learn
- Identify sources of growing health concerns among workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Describe issues of miscommunication, incivility, and job stress related to COVID-19
- Describe special challenges in return-to-work and injury rehabilitation
- Consider changes to organizational leadership and services to support workers
Brief take-home message
COVID-19 is changing the way we work and significantly rearranging priorities in occupational health and safety, worker well-being, rehabilitation, and return-to-work. The combined effect of widespread unemployment, altered physical and social workplace activities, and continuing risks of infection require that employers and health care providers adopt an expanded view of injury protection, rehabilitation, and disability management for workers.