A few months ago, I set out to articulate the most pressing short- and long-term challenges facing HR and business leaders from the coronavirus pandemic: business agility, wellbeing and leadership. Today, considerable uncertainty, stress, anxiety and even “pandemic fatigue” remain as the crisis continues to weigh on employees, HR professionals, leaders—heck, everyone.
Just a few weeks ago, many of us felt things were trending more positively: Cases of COVID-19 in the earliest and hardest-hit regions of the country had started to slow, while other regions were beginning to re-open workplaces and return to something close to “normal.”
But then, many of the less-impacted areas began to see surges in cases and hospitalizations. Workplaces that were preparing to reopen are now sitting in new hot spots, and going to work brings considerable uncertainty and even risk. At the same time, earlier trouble spots like New York and New Jersey are slowly seeking to open up businesses and workplaces—despite concern about opening up too broadly or rapidly. It all adds up to an environment of unprecedented confusion, ambiguity and worry—and that weighs heavily on all of us. That’s why the pandemic’s impact on employee wellbeing must be the primary concern for HR leaders.