finger pressing symbol for web document Following the unprecedented events of the past 18 months, revisit the resources available through your EAP to ensure you have all bases covered. (Image: Shutterstock)

If there were ever a time to introduce (or reintroduce) your employee assistance program (EAP), this is it. More than 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, and many employers have started to bring their employees back to the workplace in some capacity. But this workforce re-entry is not without risk to employees’ mental health. The American Psychological Association reports the highest levels of stress in the US since April 2020, and that half of adults are uneasy about returning to in-person interactions.

Facing the unknown is a trigger for anxiety and depression for many people. What to expect when returning to the office after the unprecedented year that was 2020 is certainly a big unknown. The effects of the pandemic have been broad and sweeping, upending everything from work routines to family life to socioeconomic situations for many individuals. Beyond feeling anxious about returning to the workplace, your employees may also be experiencing grief from the loss of a family member or friend from COVID-19, struggling with the lingering effects from their own COVID diagnosis, dealing with financial stress if their spouse or partner has lost their job or a significant amount of income during the pandemic, or being uncertain about the safety of in-person interactions stemming from news about new and dangerous variants of the virus.

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