SURVEY: The Top 8 Concerns of People Around the Impact of COVID-19March 24, 2020
Two of the top five most stressful events in a person’s life are major illness or injury and job loss. Over the past several weeks, COVID-19 has continued to spread around the globe, causing massive changes to the way we conduct our daily lives. In an Indeed study ¹ of 1,035 individuals, 50% reported an adjustment in their work, job or shift at work due to the coronavirus.
Such challenges can cause stress, confusion and a significant burden on millions of people. Over half of survey respondents said the best words to describe the way they felt about the outbreak included concerned, cautious and worried.
Under the circumstances, it is natural to seek information and take action for ourselves, our loved ones and our community. In this article, we will review how people are feeling in various situations and provide ways to help out and tips for navigating changes in your life in the midst of COVID-19.
Dealing with the impact of COVID-19
In our recent survey, 72% of respondents reported checking news surrounding COVID-19 at least daily and 78% considered the coronavirus a real threat. Many communities around the globe are practicing social distancing, self-quarantine and may even be under shelter-in-place mandates put in place by local or state governments.
While the top concern related to COVID-19 was spreading COVID-19 in the workplace (25%), others included:
- Taking a financial hit (24%)
- Contracting COVID-19 in the workplace (23%)
- Losing my job (22%)
- Maintaining my mental health (20%)
- Caring for loved ones (19%)
- Challenges of working from home (15%)
- Balancing childcare arrangements (14%)
Considering all of those circumstances in the context of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we may be experiencing a significant shift in the way we spend our time, energy and emotions to do what’s best for the health and safety of ourselves and our families. This reprioritization is normal and healthy. The question becomes, what are the best steps to take to ensure our concerns are addressed?
Below, we’ll address a few of these concerns including tips and ways to help others you know who may be experiencing them.
If you’ve experienced a job loss…
Job loss can include being laid off, having your hours or shifts reduced or having to take unpaid time off due to the coronavirus itself or the impacts of it (such as children out of school). When asked about the impact of the coronavirus, 32% of people said it would have a very or somewhat negative effect on their jobs, and 58% said they felt the impacts of the virus would last up to 6 months for themselves. The single impact survey respondents said they were most concerned about financial topics (reduced wages, less contract work, decreased paid time off).
Job loss can be extremely stressful, especially during a time when employers are assessing their financial standing and may be thinking more carefully through hiring. While there may be some things that are out of your control, there are certainly steps you can take to set yourself up for success. Here’s what you can do:
Apply for unemployment benefits. Visit your state’s unemployment website to file for unemployment benefits. The federal government is allowing new options for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits related to COVID-19.
Seek out job resources. Many organizations and local governments are setting up job resources for people who may have experienced job loss related to COVID-19. Start by visiting our list of job resources by state, as well as Find Help by Aunt Bertha, a social care network.
Reach out to your network. Use your connections including friends, family, previous employers, mentors and professional networking platforms to get a pulse on what kinds of opportunities may exist. You never know what people may be able to offer.
Set aside time for job research. On top of your many other responsibilities during this time, looking for a job can feel like a full-time job in and of itself. Schedule time for your job search and try to minimize distractions during this time.
Set application goals. It can help you stay motivated to set daily or weekly application goals for yourself. When you’ve applied to your goal number of jobs, reward yourself in small, meaningful ways. During this time, it might be helpful to supplement with part- or full-time remote work.
Look for jobs currently hiring as a result of COVID-19. The spread of the coronavirus has also caused or revealed certain talent shortages, particularly in jobs such as stocking warehouses, food, grocery or order delivery, grocery store attendants and healthcare professionals (namely, nurses).
If you’re already searching for jobs or want to change jobs…
Be prepared to interview virtually. Many employers are continuing to hire, but they will likely ask you to do a virtual or phone interview instead of in-person interviews. Read our best practices on succeeding in your next virtual interview.
Be patient. If you’re not hearing back from employers, keep up your momentum by continuing to apply for jobs. Make sure you’re tailoring your resume and cover letter for each job, and you’re applying for jobs in which your experience and background align.
Consider supplementing with remote work. Searching for work-from-home side gigs may help you supplement your income in case it takes longer than expected to find the right job.
If you’re working from home…
36% of our survey respondents said they can or may be able to work from home during this time. While it has many benefits, working from home can be a difficult adjustment. To stay productive, you should:
- Set up a designated working space, ideally in a quiet area with minimal distractions
- Set boundaries with people you’re living with by communicating your schedule and “do not disturb” times
- Take regularly scheduled breaks and shut your computer down at a designated time each day
- Communicate working hours with your manager and colleagues and set expectations around due dates as it pertains to your situation
For more tips, read our Complete Work From Home Guide.
55% of our survey respondents reported having kids. Because many schools are closing or conducting virtual classes in light of the coronavirus, there are many individuals who now must work from home and care for their children simultaneously. For tips on working from home with kids, visit our Parent’s Guide to Working From Home With Kids.
If you’re unable to work from home...
Of our survey respondents, 46% said they were unable to work from home. There are many critical jobs that must be done, especially now, by people who cannot do them from home. This may include grocery store clerks, restaurant professionals, retail attendants, auto-shop mechanics, healthcare professionals and more.
If you’re unable to work from home, work with your manager to determine the best ways you can maintain your health if you’re required to interact with others. Review your workplace policy on sick leave and speak with your employer about any changes to the policy in light of COVID-19.
How to help others
When asked whether they felt that the outbreak of the coronavirus is making us more unified, 53% agreed. Taking time to practice patience and empathy for ourselves and those around us will improve the way we move through the world under COVID-19. People may be dealing with any number of situations, so it's important that we do our best to take care of ourselves and those around us.
The single most helpful and effective thing you can do is practice social distancing and other prevention mandates provided by your local and federal government, including the CDC. Doing so will slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce its impact in every way.
For more ways to help, if you’re able, consider:
- Donating to organizations fundraising for highly-impacted industries such as hospitality and food service—for example, the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.
- Donating to local food banks and food pantries.
- Sharing job opportunities with people in your network who have been impacted.
- Connecting virtually with your community through video calls, group discussions and other online forums. These are ways to provide support to one another even when you can’t be together physically.
¹ Indeed.com: Coronavirus Omnibus Tracker, n=1,035