Back to Work But Not Back to Normal

Back to Work But Not Back to Normal

Relieved are those who have work to go back to during this pandemic, for that’s one less worry on their minds — or so it may seem. True for some but not for all. Worry about staying safe in the workplace is very different from worry about losing work during this time, but it causes its own kind of stress. 

The toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health has changed the way people work, whether onsite or remotely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that fear and anxiety and other strong emotions can affect one’s well-being at the workplace and can lead to burnout. 

Coronavirus-related stress for workers may be caused by having to adapt to a changed work environment, or by general anxiety about safety, job insecurity, or financial concerns, or all of these. But this stress can be checked and managed alongside the monitoring of COVID-related symptoms and managing of self-isolation and quarantine, all in one single patient engagement platform. 

According to a recent research report on the workplace in this pandemic, “Due to unparalleled fluctuations in employment across the U.S. because of the COVID-19 pandemic, those employed may be experiencing greater job insecurity, which may be associated with worse mental health.” 

As there is a growing prevalence of depression and anxiety that affects not only those out of work but also those employed, the findings suggest “that employers should aim to reduce job insecurity and financial concern among employees during the COVID-19 pandemic to address the associated mental health consequences.” 


Hollywood reeling from the pandemic  

The uncertainty that the pandemic has created has affected many businesses and industries. Hollywood is an example of an industry taking a big hit during the public health crisis, where workers feel like it’s “the great depression.” Aside from the loss of Hollywood gigs, there’s a real scare also from contracting the virus in the workplace, and the health protocols in place feel daunting to many. 

“This is a whole other level of insecurity,” Liz Alper, a writer whose credits include the TV shows “The Rookie” and “Chicago Fire,” was quoted by NBC News as saying.  

Despite the best efforts of production companies to protect their workers, there are still those who have contracted the virus including some big celebrities. “We are doing everything we can and sparing no expense to make sure we are working in a safe environment,” Bradley Bell, executive producer and head writer of “The Bold and the Beautiful,” told the LA Times.  

As production companies resume filming, they need to comply with health and safety protocols, including conducting weekly coronavirus testing to avoid outbreaks on the film sets. On top of that, regular monitoring of and check-ins with those in self-isolation and quarantine need to be managed. 

As Hollywood struggles to get back to business, Bell in the same article said, “It’s been a financial strain.” Reeling from this financial fallout, Hollywood needs solutions that have proven value to help them manage their workplace to curb new outbreaks. 

Some big film studios have turned to health technology to help manage workplace quarantine. LifeWIRE’s COVID-19 Self-Isolation Management Program (COVID-19 SIP™) supports contact tracing and manages regular check-ins for symptoms to mitigate risks in production companies. 


COVID-19's unseen but real toll on mental health 

The creative minds in Hollywood are most vulnerable. Psychotherapists agree that creative people, such as those in Hollywood, “tend to be more susceptible to the effects of isolation and to depression.” The therapists advise and encourage people to stay connected with friends, family, and coworkers as one way to optimize mental health during a quarantine

US Magazine quoted “Riverdale” star Lili Reinhart describing the quarantine as “isolating and extremely challenging for those of us who struggle with mental health.” Katy Perry said, “Sometimes I don’t know what’s worse — trying to avoid the virus, or the waves of depression that come with this new norm.” 

COVID-19 self-isolation and quarantine should never have to feel as if one is alone or cut off from others. Engagement is possible, and peer support can be extended remotely. Through a patient engagement platform that can help manage self-isolation and quarantine, an optional mental health symptom module can be added for population peer support for emotional health. 

That’s the value LifeWIRE brings to a COVID-19 program: Its interactive products incorporate modules for the workplace such as daily symptom tracking and isolation self-management providing specific modules such as temperature check-ins and anonymous emotional peer support. All these are done on a secure platform that is ePro-, HIPAA-, and HITrust-compliant

For those going back to work but not back to the normal that once was, proactive workplace management is needed. A dual-purpose approach is possible in a program that both enables practical ways to curb the spread of the virus and manages the emotional distress that the virus gives rise to. #BeLifeWIREd 


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