Work stress, the other side of the pandemic




29% of psychologists have experienced an increase in demand for therapies against anxiety during the pandemic, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA). This rebound is transferable to the European sphere and justifies the rise of online psychology in countries like Spain due to restricted mobility, fear of contagion, adaptation to video calls and other factors derived from Covid-19.

The health crisis has disrupted more than the global economy. Its psychological effects on the population are diverse: anxiety, irregular sleep, sedentary lifestyle or psychosocial and work stress they are part of a broader symptom picture that affects the personal, social and professional lives of millions of people.

Various clinics and psychology centers, such as the one in Madrid
, have identified parallels between the coronavirus and increasing job stress. «In our health psychology center we are seeing how workforce restructuring, adaptation to new work methods, new norms of social relations in the company, distance between positions, uncertainty and job insecurity, etc., are factors that precipitate or aggravate high stress situations and anxiety disorders ”, explains the director of Psicopartner, Angel Luis Guillén.

A recent study by the consulting firm Affor agrees with Psicopartner. Almost half of the workers surveyed (41.99%) say anxiety, while 27.73% admit that their health has worsened since the beginning of the pandemic, and about 70% claim assessments from the occupational health area for possible depression, according to the report "Impact of Covid-19 on health psychological of workers in Spain ". In relation to the causative factors of depressive symptoms, Chinese researchers pointed out psychosocial stress and the absence of habits and routines, due to their negative impact on mental and physical well-being, according to research published in the International "Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health".

And since the personal and professional spheres tend to overlap, it is not surprising that the sleep irregularities, the abuse of screens, lack of schedules, sedentary habits and other consequences of the "new normal" are responsible for high levels of stress at work, professionals say.

Significant is the rebound in job assistance programs that, in the words of Psicopartner, "are taking on special relevance due to the psychological and emotional impact that isolation, the new way of working and traumatic events due to the crisis triggered by the coronavirus", motivating that "this type of program is an essential part of the Preventive Plan for Psychosocial Risks in the company ».

Absenteeism and sick leave

These are difficult and complicated times for Human Resources departments. After having had to deal with ERTE, ERE and with the incorporation of teleworking, professionals are seeing how staff suffer stress and chronic fatigue that is reflected in a high absenteeism, sick leave and demotivation of employees. “We must not underestimate the psychological consequences of the pandemic in key positions in the organization. We are seeing how the involvement, motivation and performance of employees and managers are being resented by a lack of specialized assistance in the management of anxiety and work stress ”, says Angel Luis Guillén.

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