U.S. employees confronted unprecedented work-related stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year, but most remain resilient, according to a new Travelers survey.
Travelers found 48 percent of respondents blamed work for causing them stress during the pandemic. About 42 percent said they experienced anxiety, Travelers said.
At the same time, 73 percent described their current mental state as excellent or good, better than the 67 percent recorded in the early months of the pandemic, Travelers said. Before the pandemic began, that number was 81 percent.
Respondents in the financial services and education reported the strongest improvement in mental health versus a year ago – up 16 points and 13 points, respectively. IT software and services professionals are about where they were before the pandemic, but workers in entertainment and hospitality reported worsening mental health compared to a year ago – down five points.
Travelers conducted its survey in March 2021, via Morning Consult, asking 2,000 employed adults ages 18 to 64 questions about their general mental health and well-being.
Other survey result highlights:
- Most workers – 84 percent – were able to identify at least one positive during what has been an otherwise difficult year.
- Resilience doesn’t mean that the pandemic didn’t affect employees. Respondents said missing out on social experiences, worrying about losing a loved one, concerns that life will never be the same and fear of getting sick had the largest impact on their mental health through the pandemic.
- A sizable minority – 36 percent – said that a blurred line between their personal and professional lives during the pandemic had some or a lot of impact on their mental health.
- About 21 percent said the opportunity for career advancement and learning/professional development had gotten worse during the pandemic.
- Eleven percent said relationships with co-workers had gotten worse during the pandemic, though 63 percent said they’ve stayed about the same.
- Millennials reported the worst cases of pandemic-related work and personal stress. Gen Xers complained the least, apparently; 28 percent said work stress got worse during the pandemic, and 35 percent said personal stress took a turn.
- How to cope? Nearly 42 percent of respondents said they exercised to combat pandemic loneliness, and 43 percent exercised to counter stress.