The pandemic has changed each one of us in a variety of ways, with one of the most apparent being the way it’s affected our health and wellbeing. 

Predominantly, the pandemic has brought our physical health into sharper focus. Collectively, we’ve never been more conscious of our physical health and signs of illness – in both ourselves and others. However, the pandemic has also impacted our mental health in several ways.

This, in turn, has had a number of knock-on effects on our ability to earn a living – affecting employees and employers alike.  In this post, we’ll look into the various ways that the pandemic has affected employee health and wellbeing 

Different ways the pandemic has affected employee health and wellbeing

Let’s start by looking at the various ways that COVID-19 has impacted the health and wellbeing of employees. 

Physical health

Firstly, there’s the most conspicuous way an employee could have been affected by the pandemic: if they actually contracted COVID-19. People reacted to the virus in different ways and, if they recovered, did so at different rates. Unfortunately, not everyone was able to resume their lives in the same way when they regained their health. 

For some people, battling the virus was such an ordeal that they were left with a heightened fear of contracting the virus again – or any sickness, for that matter, which impacted their ability to conduct their lives as before. Others report never quite feeling the same after contracting COVID-19 – and scientists don’t truly know the long-term effects of the virus.  


Sadly, many of us know someone that passed away from COVID-19. Consequently, many people will have returned to work without having had a chance to properly process their grief. This could especially be the case if they weren’t able to be with their loved ones as they approached the end of their life. 

Financial stress

The vast majority of us have experienced some kind of financial stress as a result of the pandemic. Many people suffered a loss in income, as a result of their employer closing their doors or downsizing; alternatively, their partner lost their job and they became the sole breadwinner. Others saw a reduction in their income as their employer was forced to cut costs to keep the lights on. 

However, the vast majority of us felt insecure about our job stability at one point or another – and in the face of an uncertain future, are still insecure about the status of the company we work for.  

Lack of separation between work and home life

Because we were required to stay at home for prolonged periods, it was often difficult to separate home and work life – and, consequently, achieve a healthy work/life balance. For some of us, it was hard to consistently get into work mode. For others, conversely, it’s hard to switch off when working in the same place we spend our leisure time. 

The inability to separate work and home life has left many employees close to burnout – which many people still haven’t fully recovered from. 

Disruption of routine

Another issue related to working remotely for a long time is the disruption of routine. 

First, there’s the routine of a typical working day, which helps us to separate our professional and personal lives. But there’s also the routine surrounding our recreational activities. Whether it was going out on the weekend with friends, visiting family on a Sunday afternoon, a midweek 5-a-side match, or a dance class, having it taken away suddenly can take its psychological toll. 

It’s a catch 22: on one hand, it’s easy for us to become bored with the repetitiveness of our routine, but on the other, routine is also akin to psychological glue. When it’s taken away, our mental wellbeing suffers, and some of us more so than others. 

Ways to address the effects of the pandemic on employee health and wellbeing


The first suggestion is the simplest: communicate with your staff. Ask them how they’re feeling and what you can do to help them. That will give you a more accurate picture of what they’re going through. 

Flexible working practices

Consider instituting flexible working practices if your company doesn’t have them in place. Conversely, consider ways to improve what you already have if you already have some in place. 

Giving employees more choice as to where and when they work allows them to better address their own needs and take care of themselves.

Encourage frequent time off

Encourage your employees to frequently take time off in order to recharge and return to work refreshed. This is arguably more important than ever before, as some of your employees may have lower stress thresholds than before, due to the physical and mental toll of the pandemic. 

SScheduleLeave is an absence management system that features powerful reporting tools that allow you to identify trends that can help you take better care of your staff’s health and wellbeing. Sign up for your free trial to see what it can do for your company.