Special Issue "Workplace Health and Wellbeing during and beyond COVID-19"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Occupational Safety and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Holly Blake
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre, School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2HA, UK
Interests: workplace health; workplace wellness; health promotion; behaviour change; interventions; physical activity; self-management; digital
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health follows on from two previous issues on Workplace Health and Wellbeing in 2019 and 2020. Here, we focus on health and wellbeing in the workforce within the context of the continuing global COVID-19 pandemic, and the post-pandemic era.

This issue will consider the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and the physical and mental wellbeing of employees and trainees; experiences of particular occupational groups and sectors (including students in higher education as the future workforce); psychosocial risk factors; organisational interventions for workforce support; the engagement of line managers in workplace health initiatives, promoting healthy lifestyles at work; digital approaches to supporting employee health and wellbeing or facilitate pandemic-related shifts to remote working; and the prevention or management of chronic conditions at work and issues of equality, diversity, and inclusion in the context of COVID-19.

In particular, we welcome articles on the implementation and effectiveness of interventions to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. This may include the experiences and outcomes of workplace SARS-CoV-2 testing and vaccination programmes, and supportive interventions to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the mental and physical health of the current and future workforce.

Prof. Dr. Holly Blake
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • pandemic
  • workforce
  • interventions
  • health promotion
  • SARS-CoV-2 testing
  • vaccinations
  • occupational health
  • chronic diseases
  • mental health

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
A One-Year Prospective Study of Work-Related Mental Health in the Intensivists of a COVID-19 Hub Hospital
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9888; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189888 - 20 Sep 2021
Viewed by 420
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely tested the physical and mental health of health care workers (HCWs). The various stages of the epidemic have posed different problems; consequently, only a prospective study can effectively describe the changes in the workers’ health. This repeated cross-sectional [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely tested the physical and mental health of health care workers (HCWs). The various stages of the epidemic have posed different problems; consequently, only a prospective study can effectively describe the changes in the workers’ health. This repeated cross-sectional study is based on a one-year investigation (spring 2020 to spring 2021) of intensive care physicians in one of the two COVID-19 hub hospitals in Central Italy and aims to study the evolution of the mental health status of intensivists during the pandemic. Changes in their work activity due to the pandemic were studied anonymously together with their perception of organisational justice, occupational stress, sleep quality, anxiety, depression, burnout, job satisfaction, happiness, and intention to quit. In May–June 2021, one year after the baseline, doctors reported an increased workload, isolation at work and in their social life, a lack of time for physical activity and meditation, and compassion fatigue. Stress was inversely associated with the perception of justice in safety procedures and directly correlated with work isolation. Occupational stress was significantly associated with anxiety, depression, burnout, dissatisfaction, and their intention to quit. Procedural justice was significantly associated with happiness. Doctors believed vaccinations would help control the problem; however, this positive attitude had not yet resulted in improved mental health. Doctors reported high levels of distress (73%), sleep problems (28%), anxiety (25%), and depression (64%). Interventions to correct the situation are urgently needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Workplace Health and Wellbeing during and beyond COVID-19)
Article
The COVID-19 Clinician Cohort (CoCCo) Study: Empirically Grounded Recommendations for Forward-Facing Psychological Care of Frontline Doctors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9675; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189675 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 804
Abstract
This study aimed to develop empirically grounded recommendations and a coherent model of psychological care derived from the experiences and psychological care needs of COVID-19 frontline doctors, using semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis. Participants were UK frontline doctors specialising in Emergency Medicine, Anaesthetics, [...] Read more.
This study aimed to develop empirically grounded recommendations and a coherent model of psychological care derived from the experiences and psychological care needs of COVID-19 frontline doctors, using semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis. Participants were UK frontline doctors specialising in Emergency Medicine, Anaesthetics, or Intensive Care (n = 31) purposively sampled for maximum variation on gender, specialty, ethnicity, and trauma-related distress; most worked in ICU during the pandemic (71%). Four themes were derived: (1) ‘coping strategies’, participants used many, including exercise, mindfulness, and “wait until it gets really bad”; (2) ‘sources of support’, participants valued embedded psychological support, digital services, and informal conversations with colleagues or family, though there was little opportunity; (3) ‘organisational influences on wellbeing’, participants reported a love–hate relationship for concepts like ‘wellbeing’, seen as important but insulting when basic workplace needs were unmet; (4) ‘improving engagement with support’, analysis suggests we must reduce physical and psychological barriers to access and encourage leaders to model psychologically supportive behaviours. Doctors’ frontline COVID-19 working experiences shine a ‘spotlight’ on pre-existing problems such as lack of physical resources and access to psychological care. Empirically grounded recommendations and a model of incremental psychological care are presented for use in clinical services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Workplace Health and Wellbeing during and beyond COVID-19)
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Article
Prolonged Stress Causes Depression in Frontline Workers Facing the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Repeated Cross-Sectional Study in a COVID-19 Hub-Hospital in Central Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7316; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147316 - 08 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 759
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely tested the mental health of frontline health care workers. A repeated cross-sectional study can provide information on how their mental health evolved during the various phases of the pandemic. The intensivists of a COVID-19 hub hospital in Rome [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely tested the mental health of frontline health care workers. A repeated cross-sectional study can provide information on how their mental health evolved during the various phases of the pandemic. The intensivists of a COVID-19 hub hospital in Rome were investigated with a baseline survey during the first wave of the pandemic in April 2020, and they were contacted again in December 2020, during the second wave. Of the 205 eligible workers, 152 responded to an online questionnaire designed to measure procedural justice, occupational stress (effort/reward imbalance), sleep quality, anxiety, depression, burnout, job satisfaction, happiness, and turnover intention. Workers reported a further increase in workload and compassion fatigue, which had already risen during the first wave, and a marked reduction in the time devoted to meditation and mental activities. A low level of confidence in the adequacy of safety procedures and the need to work in isolation, together with an increased workload and lack of time for meditation, were the most significant predictors of occupational stress in a stepwise linear regression model. Occupational stress was, in turn, a significant predictor of insomnia, anxiety, low job satisfaction, burnout, and intention to leave the hospital. The number of workers manifesting symptoms of depression increased significantly to exceed 60%. Action to prevent occupational risks and enhance individual resilience cannot be postponed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Workplace Health and Wellbeing during and beyond COVID-19)
Article
Students’ Views towards Sars-Cov-2 Mass Asymptomatic Testing, Social Distancing and Self-Isolation in a University Setting during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4182; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084182 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1798
Abstract
We aimed to explore university students’ perceptions and experiences of SARS-CoV-2 mass asymptomatic testing, social distancing and self-isolation, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This qualitative study comprised of four rapid online focus groups conducted at a higher education institution in England, during high alert [...] Read more.
We aimed to explore university students’ perceptions and experiences of SARS-CoV-2 mass asymptomatic testing, social distancing and self-isolation, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This qualitative study comprised of four rapid online focus groups conducted at a higher education institution in England, during high alert (tier 2) national COVID-19 restrictions. Participants were purposively sampled university students (n = 25) representing a range of gender, age, living circumstances (on/off campus), and SARS-CoV-2 testing/self-isolation experiences. Data were analysed using an inductive thematic approach. Six themes with 16 sub-themes emerged from the analysis of the qualitative data: ‘Term-time Experiences’, ‘Risk Perception and Worry’, ‘Engagement in Protective Behaviours’, ‘Openness to Testing’, ‘Barriers to Testing’ and ‘General Wellbeing’. Students described feeling safe on campus, believed most of their peers are adherent to protective behaviours and were positive towards asymptomatic testing in university settings. University communications about COVID-19 testing and social behaviours need to be timely and presented in a more inclusive way to reach groups of students who currently feel marginalised. Barriers to engagement with SARS-CoV-2 testing, social distancing and self-isolation were primarily associated with fear of the mental health impacts of self-isolation, including worry about how they will cope, high anxiety, low mood, guilt relating to impact on others and loneliness. Loneliness in students could be mitigated through increased intra-university communications and a focus on establishment of low COVID-risk social activities to help students build and enhance their social support networks. These findings are particularly pertinent in the context of mass asymptomatic testing programmes being implemented in educational settings and high numbers of students being required to self-isolate. Universities need to determine the support needs of students during self-isolation and prepare for the long-term impacts of the pandemic on student mental health and welfare support services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Workplace Health and Wellbeing during and beyond COVID-19)
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