Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Employees grapple with re-entry anxiety as jobs call them back

Pandemic-related anxieties are entering a new phaseas more employers start to call vaccinated workers back into their offices.

Why it matters: Some employees simply don't want to go back to the office; some are desperate to. Some are struggling to rearrange their routines yet again; some don't have that flexibility. And everyone — employers and employees alike — is figuring out on the fly how to make it work.


Driving the news: "More and more employers are saying: 'If you've been vaccinated and we have all the safety precautions in place, it's time to come back to work.' That's causing a lot of anxiety," said Lucy McBride, a primary care physician in Washington, D.C.

  • "There's also the anxiety of, 'I had to make all these adjustments to my life because my kids weren't in school," said Georgia Gaveras, co-founder and chief psychiatrist of Talkiatry, a telepsychiatry company. "Now it's like, 'What do I do now if I have to go back to work?'"

Many Americans are still easing into the idea of being in close quarters with other people again, even after being vaccinated. But many workers also may be suffering mental distress from over a year of isolation.

  • Younger workers may be surprisingly skittish about going back into the office, said, Gregg Miller, the chief medical officer of Vituity, a firm that staffs hospital emergency departments.
  • "COVID used to be a disease defined by the elderly and the infirm. Now it’s a disease of people who are in the workforce, so this is going to be a bigger issue than ever for employers," Miller said.
  • Heading back to the office could bring unique stressors for women, who are more likely to shoulder the burden of parenting and household chores at the same time.

What we're watching: OSHA doesn't yet have a federal standard for workforces. “To date, it has been sort of a patchwork of incomplete guidance, unfortunately," National Safety Council CEO Lorraine Martin told Axios.

  • Employers will need to consider everything from how they screen employees coming into the office to their investments in protective equipment and physical changes to their offices, including new ventilation systems — and they need to communicate those efforts to their employees, Miller said.

The intrigue: Plenty of workers may be distressed because they've rearranged their lives around their new reality — or they've realized they simply like remote work.

  • In a survey released earlier this year by the Society for Human Resource Management, fewer than half of U.S. workers said they wanted to go back. In all, 52% said they'd prefer to work from home permanently.
  • 45% of workers who preferred to stay home said they'd even accept a 5% pay cut in exchange for permanent work-from-home status.

Simple matters of socialization, such as how to dress and whether we'll return to handshakes, will require their own adaptations.

  • "It's a lot to adjust to. We got used to living a certain way. We got used to it really fast, actually, and for a lot of people, they're enjoying it," Gaveras said.
  • One indicator that people are headed out of the house: Sales of Spanx and other shapewear brands spiked in the last month, the Washington Post reports.

The bottom line: "We benefited in some ways from having more time at home, which meant you could throw a load of laundry in while you were on a conference call and you didn't commute. That itself was a pivot to change our entire work life in March and April of 2020," McBride said.

E3 2021: Nintendo and Ubisoft team up again with Switch sequel “Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope"

Two of gaming’s biggest companies are creating a game together for the third time in five years with a Switch sequel, “Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope.”

Why it matters: Nintendo rarely lets other companies work with its characters, making its continued partnerships with Ubisoft a rare sign of trust.

Keep reading... Show less

In photos: Harris shows up at Pride parade in downtown D.C.

Vice President Kamala Harris dropped in at the Capitol Pride Walk And Rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

The state of play: Harris and second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, joined the crowd, who welcomed them with cheers, according to press reports.

Keep reading... Show less

A "new industrial revolution" presses the reset button on work

The endgame of the pandemic is giving both employers and workers a chance to create a more humane relationship — both in the office and out of it.

The big picture: Companies need workers, but many employees aren't ready to go back to the way things used to be. A hybrid setup could provide the best possible way forward, if both sides are willing to give.

Keep reading... Show less

Blue Origin auctions off a trip to the edge of space for $28 million

A seat aboard Blue Origin’s first crewed flight to suborbital space fetched $28 million during a live auction on Saturday.

Why it matters: While the market for suborbital tourist flights to space may not be huge, experts say it's an important, public-facing part of the space industry that could popularize it as more people start flying.

Keep reading... Show less

Macron at G7: "It's great to have the U.S. president part of the club"

U.S. President Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron were all smiles and handshakes during their first formal, in-person meeting on Saturday, with Macron telling pool reporters "it's great to have the U.S. president part of the club."

Why it matters: Biden has made rebuilding the United States' global leadership central to his foreign policy, frequently touting, "America is back."

Keep reading... Show less

More than dozen injured in downtown Austin shooting

A shooting in a busy part of downtown Austin, Texas, early Saturday injured at least 13 people, including two who are in critical condition.

The state of play: Gunfire erupted around 1:30 a.m. along 6th Street, a popular area with bars and restaurants. The suspected shooter remains at large, Austin police said. "It is unknown if there is one, or multiple suspects involved," they noted, adding the shooting appears to be an isolated incident.

Keep reading... Show less

Biden to urge G7 to take unified approach to countering China

President Biden on Saturday is expected to urge fellow G7 leaders to adopt a unified approach to countering China's rising global influence, AP reports.

Driving the news: The G7 leaders are set to unveil a multi-billion-dollar global infrastructure plan aimed at rivaling Beijing's efforts in the developing world.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories