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Topical Collection "Workplace Health and Wellbeing during and beyond COVID-19"

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, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Topical Collection 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 submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection 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 2500 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

Related Special Issues

Published Papers (32 papers)

2023

Jump to: 2022, 2021

Article
Exploring U.S. Food System Workers’ Intentions to Work While Ill during the Early COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(2), 1638; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20021638 - 16 Jan 2023
Viewed by 751
Abstract
With “stay at home” orders in effect during early COVID-19, many United States (U.S.) food system workers attended in-person work to maintain national food supply chain operations. Anecdotally, many encountered barriers to staying home despite symptomatic COVID-19 illness. We conducted a national, cross-sectional, [...] Read more.
With “stay at home” orders in effect during early COVID-19, many United States (U.S.) food system workers attended in-person work to maintain national food supply chain operations. Anecdotally, many encountered barriers to staying home despite symptomatic COVID-19 illness. We conducted a national, cross-sectional, online survey between 31 July and 2 October 2020 among 2535 respondents. Using multivariable regression and free-text analyses, we investigated factors associated with workers’ intentions to attend work while ill (i.e., presenteeism intentions) during the early COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, 8.8% of respondents intended to attend work with COVID-19 disease symptoms. Almost half (41.1%) reported low or very low household food security. Workers reporting a higher workplace safety climate score were half as likely to report presenteeism intentions (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.52, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.37, 0.75) relative to those reporting lower scores. Workers reporting low (aOR 2.06, 95% CI 1.35, 3.13) or very low (aOR 2.31, 95% CI 1.50, 3.13) household food security levels had twice the odds of reporting presenteeism intentions relative to those reporting high/marginal food security. Workplace culture and safety climate could enable employees to feel like they can take leave when sick during a pandemic, which is critical to maintaining individual and workplace health. We stress the need for strategies which address vulnerabilities and empower food workers to make health-protective decisions. Full article

2022

Jump to: 2023, 2021

Article
Assessing Differences in Attitudes toward Occupational Safety and Health Measures for Infection Control between Office and Assembly Line Employees during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Baseline Data from a Repeated Employee Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(1), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20010614 - 29 Dec 2022
Viewed by 518
Abstract
In our study, we investigated possible differences across occupational groups regarding employees’ perceived work-related risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2, attitudes toward technical, organisational, and personal occupational safety and health (OSH) measures for infection control, and factors associated with this attitude. We analysed baseline [...] Read more.
In our study, we investigated possible differences across occupational groups regarding employees’ perceived work-related risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2, attitudes toward technical, organisational, and personal occupational safety and health (OSH) measures for infection control, and factors associated with this attitude. We analysed baseline data (10 August to 25 October 2020) from a repeated standardised online survey distributed at a worldwide leading global supplier of technology and services in Germany. 2144 employees (32.4% women; age (mean ± SD): 44 ± 11 years) who worked predominantly remotely (n = 358), at an on-site office (n = 1451), and assembly line/manufacturing (n = 335) were included. The work-related SARS-CoV-2 risk of infection differed between office employees working remotely and on-site (mean ± SD = 2.9 ± 1.5 vs. 3.2 ± 1.5; Mann-Whitney-U-Test: W = 283,346; p < 0.002; ε2 = 0.01) and between on-site office and assembly line/manufacturing employees (3.8 ± 1.7; W = 289,174; p < 0.001; ε2 = 0.02). Attitude scores toward technical OSH-measures differed between remote and on-site office (4.3 ± 0.5 vs. 4.1 ± 0.6; W = 216,787; p < 0.001; ε2 = 0.01), and between on-site office and assembly line/manufacturing employees (3.6 ± 0.9; W = 149,881; p < 0.001; ε2 = 0.07). Findings were similar for organisational and personal measures. Affective risk perception, COVID-19-specific resilience, and information about COVID-19-related risks were associated with the employees’ attitudes. To promote positive attitudes, it seems to be important to consider occupational-group-specific context factors when implementing OSH-measures for infection control. Full article
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Brief Report
Improving Surveillance and Epidemic Response in Ohio Childcare Settings
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 16927; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192416927 - 16 Dec 2022
Viewed by 553
Abstract
At the start of the Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the risk of cases in childcare programs was unknown. Thus, a rapid-response research approach was launched in Ohio childcare settings. Passive surveillance data from a state-operated incident reporting system were evaluated to [...] Read more.
At the start of the Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the risk of cases in childcare programs was unknown. Thus, a rapid-response research approach was launched in Ohio childcare settings. Passive surveillance data from a state-operated incident reporting system were evaluated to estimate the number of COVID-19 cases from 15 August 2020 to 1 January 2021. Additionally, active surveillance with self-administered reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests were conducted among staff at 46 childcare programs. Finally, six zoom-based focus groups with program administrators were used to gain feedback. Staff and children in childcare settings contributed 0.38% and 0.15% of the COVID-19 cases in Ohio during this timeframe, respectively. RT-PCR testing identified 3 unrecognized cases (0.88% of tests), and all occurred when the statewide positivity rate was >5%. Focus groups revealed that access to affordable cleaning supplies, masks, and reliable staffing were critical. Perhaps most importantly, we conclude that expanding the incident reporting system to include a childcare census would allow for the tracking of future health problems with highly valuable incidence rate estimations. Full article
Article
Promoting Strategies for Healthy Environments in University Halls of Residence under Regular Epidemic Prevention and Control: An Importance—Performance Analysis from Zhejiang, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(23), 16014; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192316014 - 30 Nov 2022
Viewed by 580
Abstract
In the post-epidemic era, regular epidemic prevention and control is a daunting and ongoing task for nations all around the world. University halls of residence have been important spaces where university students balance their studies, work, and personal lives after COVID-19. Therefore, a [...] Read more.
In the post-epidemic era, regular epidemic prevention and control is a daunting and ongoing task for nations all around the world. University halls of residence have been important spaces where university students balance their studies, work, and personal lives after COVID-19. Therefore, a healthy physical living environment deserves more attention. This paper compares situations before and after COVID-19 in an effort to evaluate the impact of indoor environments in university halls of residence on students. The study proposed eight vital dimensions for creating a healthy university hall of residence environment and, from 14 September to 4 October 2022, used an online questionnaire to collect data from 301 university students studying in Zhejiang, China. The key quality of service characteristics for fostering a healthy environment in university halls of residence were discovered using descriptive statistical analysis and revised importance–performance analysis (IPA). We found that an improved indoor physical environment and efficient arrangement of indoor space were crucial for the health of university students. The quality of educational services could be improved, and indoor exercise should be utilized effectively, both of which can contribute significantly to a healthy indoor environment. This study aims to contribute to the development of future initiatives to support healthy physical living environments in university halls of residence. Full article
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Article
Synergistic Interaction between Job Stressors and Psychological Distress during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(21), 13991; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192113991 - 27 Oct 2022
Viewed by 564
Abstract
Psychosocial job stressors increase the risk of mental health problems for the workers in health and social services (HSS). Although previous studies suggest that the accumulation of two or more stressors is detrimental to mental health, few studies have examined the synergistic interaction [...] Read more.
Psychosocial job stressors increase the risk of mental health problems for the workers in health and social services (HSS). Although previous studies suggest that the accumulation of two or more stressors is detrimental to mental health, few studies have examined the synergistic interaction of accumulating job stressors. We examined survey responses from 9855 Finnish HSS workers in a cross-sectional study design from 2021. We conducted an interaction analysis of high job demands, low rewards and low workplace social capital on psychological distress, focusing on the relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI). Additionally, we analysed the interaction of job demands, low rewards and COVID-19 burden (extra workload and emotional load). Our analysis showed that the total RERI for the job stressors on psychological distress was considerable (6.27, 95% CI 3.14, 9.39). The total excess risk was caused by two-way interactions, especially between high demands and low rewards and by the three-way interaction of all stressors. The total RERI for job demands, low reward and COVID-19 burden (3.93, 95% CI 1.15, 6.72), however, was caused entirely by two-way interaction between high demands and low rewards. Mental health interventions tackling high demands, low rewards and low social capital are jointly needed. Full article
Article
A Qualitative Evaluation of the Barriers and Enablers for Implementation of an Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Testing Service at the University of Nottingham: A Multi-Site Higher Education Setting in England
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(20), 13140; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192013140 - 12 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 709
Abstract
Asymptomatic testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been used to prevent and manage COVID-19 outbreaks in university settings, but few studies have explored their implementation. The aim of the study was to evaluate how an accredited asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 testing service (ATS) was implemented at [...] Read more.
Asymptomatic testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been used to prevent and manage COVID-19 outbreaks in university settings, but few studies have explored their implementation. The aim of the study was to evaluate how an accredited asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 testing service (ATS) was implemented at the University of Nottingham, a multi-campus university in England, to identify barriers and enablers of implementation and to draw out lessons for implementing pandemic response initiatives in higher education settings. A qualitative interview study was conducted with 25 ATS personnel between May and July 2022. Interviews were conducted online, audio-recorded, and transcribed. Participants were asked about their experience of the ATS, barriers and enablers of implementation. Transcripts were thematically analysed. There were four overarching themes: (1) social responsibility and innovation, (2) when, how and why people accessed testing, (3) impact of the ATS on the spread of COVID-19, and (4) lessons learned for the future. In establishing the service, the institution was seen to be valuing its community and socially responsible. The service was viewed to be broadly successful as a COVID-19 mitigation approach. Challenges to service implementation were the rapidly changing pandemic situation and government advice, delays in service accreditation and rollout to staff, ambivalence towards testing and isolating in the target population, and an inability to provide follow-up support for positive cases within the service. Facilitators included service visibility, reduction in organisational bureaucracy and red tape, inclusive leadership, collaborative working with regular feedback on service status, flexibility in service delivery approaches and simplicity of saliva testing. The ATS instilled a perception of early ‘return to normality’ and impacted positively on staff feelings of safety and wellbeing, with wider benefits for healthcare services and local communities. In conclusion, we identified common themes that have facilitated or hindered the implementation of a SARS-CoV-2 testing service at a university in England. Lessons learned from ATS implementation will inform future pandemic response interventions in higher education settings. Full article
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Article
Coping Methods and Satisfaction with Working from Home in Academic Settings during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12669; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912669 - 03 Oct 2022
Viewed by 810
Abstract
In this paper, we examined how university staff and students coped with challenges related to working or studying from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the level of satisfaction with working from home. An online survey was conducted among faculty, staff, and students [...] Read more.
In this paper, we examined how university staff and students coped with challenges related to working or studying from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the level of satisfaction with working from home. An online survey was conducted among faculty, staff, and students at universities in 24 countries (n = 674). The results show that over 80% of the respondents used multiple coping methods. Three clusters of coping methods were generated through factor analysis: (1) social and health factor, with focus on personal health and the social surrounding, (2) activity factor, i.e., being busy with work or studies, finding up-to-date information about COVID-19, while thinking about what one could do rather than what one could not do, and (3) public health factor, which meant trusting health authorities while avoiding misinformation from sources such as social media. Furthermore, 56% of the respondents were very or somewhat satisfied with working from home. Differences in the methods of coping and satisfaction with working from home highlight the need for employers to prepare for working from home beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Article
Workforce Experiences of a Rapidly Established SARS-CoV-2 Asymptomatic Testing Service in a Higher Education Setting: A Qualitative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12464; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912464 - 30 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 706
Abstract
The aim of the study was to explore workforce experiences of the rapid implementation of a SARS-CoV-2 asymptomatic testing service (ATS) in a higher education setting during the COVID-19 pandemic. The setting was a multi-campus university in the UK, which hosted a testing [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to explore workforce experiences of the rapid implementation of a SARS-CoV-2 asymptomatic testing service (ATS) in a higher education setting during the COVID-19 pandemic. The setting was a multi-campus university in the UK, which hosted a testing service for employees and students over two years. Qualitative semi-structured videoconference interviews were conducted. We contacted 58 participants and 25 were interviewed (43% response rate). Data were analysed thematically. The analysis produced four overarching themes: (1) feelings relating to their involvement in the service, (2) perceptions of teamwork, (3) perceptions of ATS leadership, (4) valuing the opportunity for career development. Agile and inclusive leadership style created psychological safety and team cohesion, which facilitated participants in the implementation of a rapid mitigation service, at pace and scale. Specific features of the ATS (shared vision, collaboration, networking, skills acquisition) instilled self-confidence, value and belonging, meaningfully impacting on professional development and career opportunities. This is the first qualitative study to explore the experiences of university employees engaged in the rapid deployment of a service as part of a pandemic outbreak and mitigation strategy within a higher education setting. Despite pressures and challenges of the task, professional growth and advancement were universal. This has implications for workforce engagement and creating workplaces across the sector that are well-prepared to respond to future pandemics and other disruptive events. Full article
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Article
Health and Well-Being of Church Musicians during the COVID-19 Pandemic—Experiences of Health and Work-Related Distress from Musicians of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(16), 9866; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19169866 - 10 Aug 2022
Viewed by 795
Abstract
Earlier research has revealed contrasting gender results in standardized mortality ratios (SMR) for cancers and cardiovascular diseases of Finnish church musicians compared with the general population. In order to better understand the SMRs, our study examined gender differences in health and work-related experiences [...] Read more.
Earlier research has revealed contrasting gender results in standardized mortality ratios (SMR) for cancers and cardiovascular diseases of Finnish church musicians compared with the general population. In order to better understand the SMRs, our study examined gender differences in health and work-related experiences of church musicians with special focus on experienced stress and burnout on the one hand, and work engagement and mental well-being on the other. The data were collected by a questionnaire including both standardized measures and open-ended questions. Statistical methods (mostly χ2 tests) were used for examining gender differences in the measures, and the open-ended questions were analyzed using theory-driven content analysis. The two sets of data complemented each other. Analyses of the standardized measures showed that church musicians have more burnout and distress than the general population but the results were not gendered. However, the open-ended questions revealed clearly higher distress in females than in males. Based on the contrast between the measures and the open-ended questions, we raise the question about how well females who have distressing work can recognize the stress factors and change them, especially if distress becomes a “normal state”. Full article
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Systematic Review
Are Organizational Interventions Effective in Protecting Healthcare Worker Mental Health during Epidemics/Pandemics? A Systematic Literature Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(15), 9653; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159653 - 05 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1015
Abstract
It is unclear how to effectively protect healthcare workers’ mental health during infectious disease epidemics. Targeting the occupational determinants of stress may hold more promise than individual stress management, which has received more focus. Through a systematic review of the 2000–2021 English- and [...] Read more.
It is unclear how to effectively protect healthcare workers’ mental health during infectious disease epidemics. Targeting the occupational determinants of stress may hold more promise than individual stress management, which has received more focus. Through a systematic review of the 2000–2021 English- and French-language scientific literature, we evaluated the effectiveness of organizational and psychosocial work environment interventions to protect healthcare workers’ mental health in an epidemic/pandemic context. Evidence from medium- and high-quality studies was synthesized using GRADE. Among 1604 unique search results, 41 studies were deemed relevant, yielding 34 low-quality and seven medium-quality studies. The latter reported on promising multi-component prevention programs that combined staffing adjustments, work shift arrangements, enhanced infection prevention and control, recognition of workers’ efforts, psychological and/or logistic support during lockdowns (e.g., accommodation). Our confidence in the effectiveness of reviewed interventions is low to very low, however, owing to methodological limitations. We highlight gaps in the reporting of intervention process and context elements and discuss theory and implementation failure as possible explanations for results. We conclude by urging authors of future studies to include and document detailed risk assessments of the work environment, involve workers in solution design and implementation and consider how this process can be adapted during an emergency. Full article
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Article
Socio-Demographic Composition and Potential Occupational Exposure to SARS-CoV2 under Routine Working Conditions among Key Workers in France
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7741; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137741 - 24 Jun 2022
Viewed by 956
Abstract
This study aims to describe the socio-demographic profile of so-called “key workers” during the first lockdown in France and to assess their potential occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 under routine, pre-pandemic working conditions. We used the French list of essential jobs that was issued [...] Read more.
This study aims to describe the socio-demographic profile of so-called “key workers” during the first lockdown in France and to assess their potential occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 under routine, pre-pandemic working conditions. We used the French list of essential jobs that was issued during the first lockdown to identify three subgroups of key workers (hospital healthcare, non-hospital healthcare, non-healthcare). Based on the population-based “Conditions de travail-2019” survey, we described the socio-demographic composition of key workers and their potential work-related exposures (to “infectious agents,” “face-to-face contact with the public,” and “working with colleagues”) using modified Poisson regression. In general, women, clerical and manual workers, workers on temporary contracts, those with lower education and income, and non-European immigrants were more likely to be key workers, who accounted for 22% of the active population. Non-healthcare essential workers (57%) were the most socially disadvantaged, while non-hospital healthcare workers (19%) were polarized at both extremes of the social scale; hospital healthcare workers (24%) were intermediate. Compared to non-key workers, all subgroups had greater exposure to infectious agents and more physical contact with the public. This study provides evidence of accumulated disadvantages among key workers concerning their social background, geographical origin, and potential SARS-CoV-2 exposure. Full article
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Article
Exploring the Psychological Impacts of COVID-19 Social Restrictions on International University Students: A Qualitative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7631; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137631 - 22 Jun 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2028
Abstract
The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on the mental well-being of university students, but little attention has been given to international students, who may have a unique experience and perspective. The aim of this study was to explore the views of international students [...] Read more.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on the mental well-being of university students, but little attention has been given to international students, who may have a unique experience and perspective. The aim of this study was to explore the views of international students and university staff towards COVID-19 restrictions, self-isolation, their well-being, and support needs, through eight online focus groups with international students (n = 29) and semi-structured interviews with university staff (n = 17) at a higher education institution in England. Data were analysed using an inductive thematic approach, revealing three key themes and six subthemes: (1) practical, academic, and psychological challenges faced during self-isolation and the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) coping strategies to self-isolation and life during the pandemic; and (3) views on further support needed for international students. International students faced practical, academic, and psychological challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly relating to the rapid transition to online learning and the impact of social restrictions on integration with peers and well-being. Online social connections with peers, family, or new acquaintances reduced feelings of isolation and encouraged involvement in university life. Despite raising mental health concerns, most international students did not access mental health support services. Staff related this to perceived stigma around mental health in certain cultural groups. In conclusion, international students experienced specific practical and emotional challenges during the pandemic, and are at risk of mental ill-health, but may not actively seek out support from university services. Proactive and personalised approaches to student support will be important for positive student experiences and the retention of students who are studying abroad in the UK higher education system. Full article
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Article
A US National Study of Barriers to Science Training Experienced by Undergraduate Students during COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6534; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116534 - 27 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 615
Abstract
Undergraduate research is a high-impact practice on college campuses. How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected undergraduate researchers’ progress is poorly understood. We examine how demographics, academic characteristics, research disruptions and faculty mentorship are associated with four barriers to research progress. Data are drawn [...] Read more.
Undergraduate research is a high-impact practice on college campuses. How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected undergraduate researchers’ progress is poorly understood. We examine how demographics, academic characteristics, research disruptions and faculty mentorship are associated with four barriers to research progress. Data are drawn from a survey of over 1000 undergraduate student researchers across the US. We examine students who actively continued to conduct faculty-mentored research during mid-March/April 2020 (n = 485). Using generalized estimating equations that control clustering by institution, we found economic hardship, discomfort teleconferencing, lower quality mentors, sexual minority status and higher grade point averages were associated with motivation problems. Economic hardship, serious illness, Internet connection issues, a lack of face-to-face meetings and lower a frequency of mentor–mentee communication were associated with a time crunch with regard to conducting research. Discomfort teleconferencing, Internet connection issues, a lack of face-to-face meetings and decrease in research workload were associated with task uncertainty. Economic hardship, serious illness and being an engineering major were associated with lacking needed tools for the research. In sum, economic hardship was an important correlate of research barriers, as were communication challenges and sexual minority status. Results can inform practical actions by research program directors and faculty undergraduate research mentors. Full article
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Article
Challenges in Working Conditions and Well-Being of Early Childhood Teachers by Teaching Modality during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(8), 4919; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19084919 - 18 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1529
Abstract
While a global understanding of teacher well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to emerge, much remains to be understood about what early childhood teachers have felt and experienced with respect to their work and well-being. The present mixed-method study examined early care [...] Read more.
While a global understanding of teacher well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to emerge, much remains to be understood about what early childhood teachers have felt and experienced with respect to their work and well-being. The present mixed-method study examined early care and education (ECE) teachers’ working conditions and physical, psychological, and professional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic using a national sample of 1434 ECE teachers in the U.S. We also explored differences in working conditions and well-being among in-person, online, and closed schools, given the unique challenges and risks that ECE teachers may have faced by teaching in these different modalities. From the results of an online survey, we found that in the early months of the pandemic, many ECE teachers faced stressful, challenging work environments. Some were teaching in new, foreign modes and formats, and those still teaching in person faced new challenges. We found many common issues and challenges related to psychological and physical well-being across the three teaching groups from the qualitative analysis, but a more complicated picture emerged from the quantitative analysis. After controlling for education and center type, we found that aspects of professional commitment were lower among those teachers teaching in person. Additionally, there were racial differences across several of our measures of well-being for teachers whose centers were closed. Upon closer examination of these findings via a moderation analysis with teacher modality, we found that Black and Hispanic teachers had higher levels of psychological well-being for some of our indicators when their centers were closed, yet these benefits were not present for Black and Hispanic teachers teaching in person. Full article
Article
Stress and Wellbeing during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Mixed-Methods Exploration of Frontline Homelessness Services Staff Experiences in Scotland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3659; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063659 - 19 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1480
Abstract
Staff working in homelessness services often find the work rewarding yet challenging, and the sector experiences high levels of staff burnout and staff turnover. During the COVID-19 pandemic, staff working in these services faced particularly stressful working conditions. This study explored the experiences [...] Read more.
Staff working in homelessness services often find the work rewarding yet challenging, and the sector experiences high levels of staff burnout and staff turnover. During the COVID-19 pandemic, staff working in these services faced particularly stressful working conditions. This study explored the experiences of stress and wellbeing among those working in frontline homelessness service roles during the early stages of the pandemic in Scotland. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 participants, 11 of whom completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). Qualitative data were analysed using Framework Analysis in NVivo, informed by the Revised Transactional Model of occupational stress and coping. MBI data were analysed using descriptive statistics. The COVID-19 pandemic positively and negatively impacted participants’ lives and roles. Organisational culture acted as a magnifying glass for pre-pandemic practices: for some, the pandemic brought teams and staff closer together, creating a better working environment. For others, it led to fragmentation and frustration. Participants discussed coping strategies and recommendations for the future to protect staff wellbeing. Quantitative data suggested that participants were not experiencing burnout, although some were at heightened risk. Future research should explore the longer-term impact of the pandemic on homelessness service staff outcomes. Full article
Article
Early Care and Education Workers’ Experience and Stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2670; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052670 - 25 Feb 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1462
Abstract
Early care and education (ECE) workers experience many job-related stressors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, ECE programs either closed or remained open while workers faced additional demands. We deployed a survey of the center-based ECE workforce in Washington State (United States) one year into [...] Read more.
Early care and education (ECE) workers experience many job-related stressors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, ECE programs either closed or remained open while workers faced additional demands. We deployed a survey of the center-based ECE workforce in Washington State (United States) one year into the COVID-19 pandemic to assess impacts and workers’ perceived stress levels. We describe the prevalence of reported impacts, including workplace closures; job changes; COVID-19 transmission; risk factors for severe COVID-19; the use of social distancing practices; satisfaction with workplace responses; perceptions of worker roles, respect, and influence; and food and financial insecurity. Themes from open-ended responses illustrate how workers’ jobs changed and the stressors that workers experienced as a result. Fifty-seven percent of ECE workers reported moderate or high levels of stress. In a regression model assessing unique contributions to stress, work changes that negatively impacted home life contributed most to stress. Feeling respected for one’s work and feeling positive about one’s role as an “essential worker” contributed to lower levels of stress. Experiencing financial insecurity, caring for school-aged children or children of multiple ages, being younger, and being born in the United States also contributed to higher stress. Findings can inform policies designed to support the workforce. Full article
Article
Remote, Hybrid, and On-Site Work during the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic and the Consequences for Stress and Work Engagement
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2400; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042400 - 19 Feb 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 7083
Abstract
With the COVID-19 pandemic having disrupted economies, businesses, and individual activities, it is important to examine how different forms of work affect employee behaviour. This study applies work engagement (the key construct in organisational psychology) as the dependent variable and considers its determinants [...] Read more.
With the COVID-19 pandemic having disrupted economies, businesses, and individual activities, it is important to examine how different forms of work affect employee behaviour. This study applies work engagement (the key construct in organisational psychology) as the dependent variable and considers its determinants in the form of stress factors and attitudes toward remote work. A cross-sectional study was conducted. A total of 544 (Female = 58.5%) workers were surveyed: remote (n = 144), hybrid (n = 142), and on-site (n = 258). The selection for the study was purposive. Standardised survey questionnaires were used in the study: UWES-9, Stress Management Standards, and Attitudes toward Remote Work. The obtained results indicate that there were no significant differences between groups in terms of the intensity of work engagement, but work engagement was explained by other variables that are different in each of the studied groups. Relationships and use of social media were the most important factors among remote workers. For on-site workers, the most important factors were control and role definition. For practitioners, the results indicate which aspects of work should be considered in order to maintain high levels of work engagement when employees are transferring to other forms of work. Full article
Article
The Role of Off-Job Crafting in Burnout Prevention during COVID-19 Crisis: A Longitudinal Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2146; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042146 - 14 Feb 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2090
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic and remote working challenge employees’ possibilities to recover from work during their off-job time. We examined the relationship between off-job crafting and burnout across the COVID-19 crisis. We used a longitudinal research design, comprising one wave collected before the onset [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic and remote working challenge employees’ possibilities to recover from work during their off-job time. We examined the relationship between off-job crafting and burnout across the COVID-19 crisis. We used a longitudinal research design, comprising one wave collected before the onset of the pandemic, in March 2019 (T1), and one wave collected during the first lockdown of the crisis in April 2020 (T2). We measured the six off-job crafting dimensions (Crafting for Detachment, Relaxation, Autonomy, Mastery, Meaning, and Affiliation) and burnout (fatigue/exhaustion) via a questionnaire among German and Swiss employees (N = 658; Age M = 47; 55% male). We found that both burnout levels and crafting for affiliation significantly decreased at T2 compared to T1. All off-job crafting dimensions and burnout correlated negatively cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Regression analyses showed that employees who crafted in their off-job time before and during the crisis experienced fewer burnout complaints during the crisis. Looking more closely at the subdimensions of off-job crafting, employees who crafted for detachment before and during, and for affiliation before the crisis, reported less burnout during the crisis. We conclude that off-job crafting may act as a buffer mechanism against burnout during the COVID-19 crisis. Full article
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Article
Return to Work during the COVID-19 Outbreak: A Study on the Role of Job Demands, Job Resources, and Personal Resources upon the Administrative Staff of Italian Public Universities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 1995; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19041995 - 10 Feb 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2020
Abstract
Background: Compared to healthcare workers and teleworkers, occupational wellbeing of employees who continued or suddenly returned to work during the COVID-19 pandemic have received less attention thus far. Using the Job Demand–Resource model as a framework, the present study aimed at evaluating the [...] Read more.
Background: Compared to healthcare workers and teleworkers, occupational wellbeing of employees who continued or suddenly returned to work during the COVID-19 pandemic have received less attention thus far. Using the Job Demand–Resource model as a framework, the present study aimed at evaluating the role of job demands and job and personal resources in affecting emotional exhaustion among university administrative staff. Methods: This cross-sectional study analyzed data collected through an online questionnaire completed by 364 administrative employees that continued working in presence (WP) and 1578 that continued working blended (WB), namely, partly remotely and partly in presence. Results: Among job demands, quantitative job demand overloads and perceived risk of being infected were positively associated with higher levels of emotional exhaustion. Among job resources, colleague support was significantly associated with lower emotional exhaustion for both WB and WP, whereas supervisor support and fatigue management were salient only for WB. Among personal resources, personal contribution in managing COVID-19-related risk at work emerged as a protective factor for emotional exhaustion. Conclusion: Insights for the development of targeted preventive measure for a more psychologically safe and productive return to work can be derived from these results. Full article
Article
Mental Health Symptoms and Workplace Challenges among Australian Paramedics during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(2), 1004; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19021004 - 17 Jan 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3238
Abstract
Background: Paramedics are vital to the health system response to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the pressures on this workforce have been intense and challenging. This study reports on mental health symptoms and the working environment among Australian paramedics during the COVID-19 pandemic and [...] Read more.
Background: Paramedics are vital to the health system response to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the pressures on this workforce have been intense and challenging. This study reports on mental health symptoms and the working environment among Australian paramedics during the COVID-19 pandemic and explores their experiences of work and wellbeing during this time. Methods: An anonymous, online survey of frontline healthcare workers examined work environment, psychological wellbeing, and contained four open-ended qualitative items. Using a mixed method approach, quantitative data were analysed descriptively and qualitative data were analysed using content analysis. Results: This paper reports findings from 95 paramedics who provided complete quantitative data and 85 paramedics who provided free-text responses to at least one qualitative item. Objectively measured mental health symptoms were common among paramedics, and almost two thirds of paramedics self-reported experiencing burnout. Qualitative analysis highlighted key issues of safety and risk in the workplace, uncertainty and upheaval at work and at home, and lack of crisis preparedness. Qualitative analysis revealed four themes; ‘the pervasiveness of COVID-19 disruptions across all life domains’; ‘the challenges of widespread disruption at work’; ‘risk, uncertainty and feeling unsafe at work’, and ‘the challenges of pandemic (un)preparedness across the health system’. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in considerable occupational disruption for paramedics and was associated with significant negative impacts on mental health. Findings emphasise the need for more adaptive working conditions, mental health support for paramedics, and enhanced crisis preparedness across the health system for future crises. Full article
Article
COVID-19 Vaccine Education (CoVE) for Health and Care Workers to Facilitate Global Promotion of the COVID-19 Vaccines
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(2), 653; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020653 - 07 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2192
Abstract
The COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out globally. High and ongoing public uptake of the vaccine relies on health and social care professionals having the knowledge and confidence to actively and effectively advocate it. An internationally relevant, interactive multimedia training resource called COVID-19 [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out globally. High and ongoing public uptake of the vaccine relies on health and social care professionals having the knowledge and confidence to actively and effectively advocate it. An internationally relevant, interactive multimedia training resource called COVID-19 Vaccine Education (CoVE) was developed using ASPIRE methodology. This rigorous six-step process included: (1) establishing the aims, (2) storyboarding and co-design, (3) populating and producing, (4) implementation, (5) release, and (6) mixed-methods evaluation aligned with the New World Kirkpatrick Model. Two synchronous consultations with members of the target audience identified the support need and established the key aim (Step 1: 2 groups: n = 48). Asynchronous storyboarding was used to co-construct the content, ordering, presentation, and interactive elements (Step 2: n = 14). Iterative two-stage peer review was undertaken of content and technical presentation (Step 3: n = 23). The final resource was released in June 2021 (Step 4: >3653 views). Evaluation with health and social care professionals from 26 countries (survey, n = 162; qualitative interviews, n = 15) established that CoVE has high satisfaction, usability, and relevance to the target audience. Engagement with CoVE increased participants’ knowledge and confidence relating to vaccine promotion and facilitated vaccine-promoting behaviours and vaccine uptake. The CoVE digital training package is open access and provides a valuable mechanism for supporting health and care professionals in promoting COVID-19 vaccination uptake. Full article
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2021

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Article
“It’s Been Ugly”: A Large-Scale Qualitative Study into the Difficulties Frontline Doctors Faced across Two Waves of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(24), 13067; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413067 - 10 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4690
Abstract
This study aimed to gain an uncensored insight into the most difficult aspects of working as a frontline doctor across successive COVID-19 pandemic waves. Data collected by the parent study (CERA) was analysed using conventional content analysis. Participants comprised frontline doctors who worked [...] Read more.
This study aimed to gain an uncensored insight into the most difficult aspects of working as a frontline doctor across successive COVID-19 pandemic waves. Data collected by the parent study (CERA) was analysed using conventional content analysis. Participants comprised frontline doctors who worked in emergency, anaesthetic, and intensive care medicine in the UK and Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic (n = 1379). All seniority levels were represented, 42.8% of the sample were male, and 69.2% were white. Four themes were identified with nine respective categories (in parentheses): (1) I’m not a COVID hero, I’m COVID cannon fodder (exposed and unprotected, “a kick in the teeth”); (2) the relentlessness and pervasiveness of COVID (“no respite”, “shifting sands”); (3) the ugly truths of the frontline (“inhumane” care, complex team dynamics); (4) an overwhelmed system exacerbated by COVID (overstretched and under-resourced, constant changes and uncertainty, the added hinderance of infection control measures). Findings reflect the multifaceted challenges faced after successive pandemic waves; basic wellbeing needs continue to be neglected and the emotional impact is further pronounced. Steps are necessary to mitigate the repeated trauma exposure of frontline doctors as COVID-19 becomes endemic and health services attempt to recover with inevitable long-term sequelae. Full article
Article
Predictors of Burnout in Hospital Health Workers during the COVID-19 Outbreak in South Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11720; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111720 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2480
Abstract
This study aimed to identify the factors that influence the components of burnout—emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DP), and personal accomplishment (PA)—among hospital health workers, including doctors and nurses, during the COVID-19 pandemic. We analyzed 200 healthcare workers’ responses to the Employee Health Promotion [...] Read more.
This study aimed to identify the factors that influence the components of burnout—emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DP), and personal accomplishment (PA)—among hospital health workers, including doctors and nurses, during the COVID-19 pandemic. We analyzed 200 healthcare workers’ responses to the Employee Health Promotion Survey conducted at a general hospital in Seoul with over 200 hospital beds. The questionnaire included items about COVID-19-related burnout and its influencing factors. We performed three different multiple regression analyses using EE, DP, and PA as the dependent variables. The results show that sex, marital status, workload of treating suspected COVID-19 patients, fear of COVID-19 infection, anxiety, and depression predicted EE. The predictors of DP were job category, consecutive months of work in the current department, satisfaction with work environment, anxiety, and depression. The predictors of PA were the workload of directly interacting with patients, socioeconomic status, and job stress. For EE and DP, burnout was found to be worse in doctors and nurses than in other health workers; moreover, burnout was worse among nurses than among doctors across all three aspects of burnout. The findings can be used to establish tailored policies to address each burnout component. Full article
Brief Report
Occupational Characteristics in the Outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta Variant in Nanjing, China: Rethinking the Occupational Health and Safety Vulnerability of Essential Workers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10734; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010734 - 13 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1327
Abstract
The risk of contracting COVID-19 varies by occupation. Clarifying the occupational disparity in the infection risk is crucial to the prevention and control of the epidemic in the workplace. In late July, some new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed among cleaners working in [...] Read more.
The risk of contracting COVID-19 varies by occupation. Clarifying the occupational disparity in the infection risk is crucial to the prevention and control of the epidemic in the workplace. In late July, some new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed among cleaners working in Lukou International Airport in Nanjing, China. The infected cases rapidly increased and spread to many domestic cities in the following days. The present study traces the brief reports of epidemiological investigations among the confirmed cases released by the Nanjing government from 20 July to 2 August, and offers a descriptive analysis on the occupational distribution of these cases. Cleaners and other staff working in the airport were found to make up more than 40% of all cases. The overwhelming majority of the cleaner cases were confirmed in the first 7 days. The present study statistically ascertains that the airport cleaners were the initial sufferers and transmitters in this outbreak. They experienced occupational health and safety vulnerability on both individual and contextual levels, including workplace hazards, workplace safety policies, and lack of awareness and empowerment. Effective protection for essential workers and the strict surveillance of occupational health in the workplace is urgently needed. Full article
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Article
Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Self-Isolation on Students and Staff in Higher Education: A Qualitative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10675; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010675 - 12 Oct 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 5549
Abstract
This qualitative study explored the impact of COVID-19 self-isolation and social restriction measures on university students, through the perspectives of both students and the staff supporting them. The study comprised 11 focus groups (students) and 26 individual interviews (staff) at a higher education [...] Read more.
This qualitative study explored the impact of COVID-19 self-isolation and social restriction measures on university students, through the perspectives of both students and the staff supporting them. The study comprised 11 focus groups (students) and 26 individual interviews (staff) at a higher education institution in England during a period of national lockdown (January–March 2021). Participants were university students (n = 52) with self-isolation experiences and university staff (n = 26) with student-facing support roles. Focus group and interview data were combined and analysed using an inductive thematic approach. Four themes emerged: ‘Adaptation during the pandemic’, ‘Practical, environmental, and emotional challenges of self-isolating’, ‘Social factors and their impact on COVID-19 testing and self-isolation adherence’, and ‘Supporting self-isolation’. Students and staff struggled with the imposed restrictions and shift to online education. Students found it difficult to adapt to new expectations for university life and reported missing out on professional and social experiences. Students and staff noted concerns about the impact of online teaching on educational outcomes. Students endorsed varied emotional responses to self-isolation; some felt unaffected whilst others experienced lowered mood and loneliness. Students were motivated by pro-social attitudes; campaigns targeting these factors may encourage continued engagement in protective behaviours. Staff struggled to manage their increased workloads delivering support for self-isolating students. Universities must consider the support needs of students during self-isolation and prepare for the long-term impacts of the pandemic on student wellbeing and educational attainment. Greater support should be provided for staff during transitional periods, with ongoing monitoring of workforce stress levels warranted. Full article
Article
Psychological Impacts of COVID-19 on Healthcare Trainees and Perceptions towards a Digital Wellbeing Support Package
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10647; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010647 - 11 Oct 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3015
Abstract
We explore the impact of COVID-19 on the psychological wellbeing of healthcare trainees, and the perceived value of a digital support package to mitigate the psychological impacts of the pandemic (PoWerS Study). This mixed–methods study includes (i) exposure to a digital support package; [...] Read more.
We explore the impact of COVID-19 on the psychological wellbeing of healthcare trainees, and the perceived value of a digital support package to mitigate the psychological impacts of the pandemic (PoWerS Study). This mixed–methods study includes (i) exposure to a digital support package; (ii) participant survey to assess wellbeing, perceptions of work and intervention fidelity; (iii) semi–structured qualitative interviews. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed, data were handled and analysed using principles of thematic framework analysis. Participants are 42 health and medical trainees (9M, 33F) from 13 higher education institutions in the UK, studying during the COVID-19 pandemic. Survey findings showed high satisfaction with healthcare training (92.8%), but low wellbeing (61.9%), moderate to high perceived stressfulness of training (83.3%), and high presenteeism (50%). Qualitative interviews generated 3 over–arching themes, and 11 sub–themes. The pandemic has impacted negatively on emotional wellbeing of trainees, yet mental health is not well promoted in some disciplines, and provision of pastoral support is variable. Disruption to academic studies and placements has reduced perceived preparedness for future clinical practice. Regular check–ins, and wellbeing interventions will be essential to support the next generation health and care workforce, both in higher education and clinical settings. The digital support package was perceived to be accessible, comprehensive, and relevant to healthcare trainees, with high intervention fidelity. It is a useful tool to augment longer–term provision of psychological support for healthcare trainees, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Article
Would Organizational Climate and Job Stress Affect Wellness? An Empirical Study on the Hospitality Industry in Taiwan during COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10491; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910491 - 06 Oct 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2480
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitality employees face a tremendous amount of job stress due to the decline in revenue and close contact with people. This study has three aims: first, to analyse the status quo of organizational-climate job stress on employee wellness in [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitality employees face a tremendous amount of job stress due to the decline in revenue and close contact with people. This study has three aims: first, to analyse the status quo of organizational-climate job stress on employee wellness in the hospitality industry during COVID-19; second, to discuss the correlation between organizational-climate job stress and employee wellness in the hospitality industry; and third, to analyze the associations between of personal background and organizational climate on job stress and wellness in the hospitality industry. This research uses a survey method to examine these issues. Participants were employees of franchise hotel branches in Taipei City, which yielded 295 effective sample sizes from five chain hotels. The personal background factor questionnaire, organizational climate questionnaire, job stress questionnaire, and wellness questionnaire served as the main research tools. In this study, Factor analysis, Pearson Correlation and Multiple Regression Analysis were used for sample analysis. The results revealed a significant relationship between organizational-climate job stress with wellness. Personal background factors, organizational climate, and job stress would affect the wellness of employees. As a result, the present research provides empirical evidence for the impact of organizational climate and job stress on employee wellness in the hospitality industry in Taiwan during COVID-19. The study’s findings, as well as its theoretical and practical implications, are discussed. The main contribution of this study is that the results serve as a reference for hospitality business owners to design better organizational environments for their employees, plan human-resource-related strategies, and provide training for their employees during a pandemic. Full article
Article
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Occupational Stress in Restaurant Work: A Qualitative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10378; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910378 - 02 Oct 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 7368
Abstract
The economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted the food service industry—one of the largest workforce sectors in the United States. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the occupational stressors experienced by restaurant and food service workers during [...] Read more.
The economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted the food service industry—one of the largest workforce sectors in the United States. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the occupational stressors experienced by restaurant and food service workers during the COVID-19 pandemic through a detailed assessment of their lived experiences. Thematic analysis was used to identify patterns within data from sixteen semi-structured interviews with people employed or recently employed in the restaurant industry during July of 2020. Five themes were highlighted including fear of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus while working under inadequate safety policies, job insecurity, inconsistent pay and hours and a lack of health benefits and paid time off, all of which increased occupational stress and led to uncertainty if respondents would return to the restaurant industry. Hardships associated with the pandemic were mitigated by the support and connections fostered by the communities built within the restaurants. Results led to several recommendations to address the social and economic contributors to occupational stress at the structural and population levels which can be used in the current and post-pandemic workplace. Full article
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
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 2875
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
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
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 5849
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
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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 43 | Viewed by 3891
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
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 33 | Viewed by 5819
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
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