Employers looking for workers, but some are facing ‘work anxiety’ about returning

JOPLIN, Mo. – Vaccines continue to roll-out and employers are opening up. But, not everyone is ready to get back to work.

Era Stone was a temp dental hygienist before the pandemic, but that changed as more was learned about the Coronavirus. “I put a stop to that when the pandemic hit because reports were coming out saying that dental hygiene was one of the highest risk occupations during this pandemic.”

She decided to take a break to reduce the risk of bringing COVID home to her family. Many employers across the area in many different sectors are hiring for workers. But there are a number of people out there, not ready to go back for stone, some of it’s anxiety, the other, is the ease of working from home. “It’s made it to where I really have no desire to go back into working with people face-to-face when an online gig is available.”

For those facing anxiety Sarah Dodson at Mercy Hospital in Joplin says there are some things you can do, like keeping a journal. “No one else has to see it, it’s a safe place you can vent all of your fears, all of your hopes, all of your dreams, and then you can write down what the pros and cons are of what you’re facing and look at those fears, are they a rational fear or an irrational fear that’s most likely not going to happen.”

Dodson says there’s also things an employer can do. “Open communication between the employee and the employer that will help reduce the anxiety because then you’ll know what the fears are and you can address them head on.”

If you are facing anxiety, Dodson says to try and turn your mental clock back. “Just look back and remember how it was before and try to roll with the punches and remember that we have all become very adaptable during COVID.”

As for Stone, she’s just waiting for the right time. “I’m not opposed to going back to in-person, but I approach it very cautiously at this point, and until more vaccines are out and we get the green light to return to some semblance of normalcy, I’m just listening to the professionals that know more than I do.”

Dodson says it’s important to remember to do what makes you feel safe and comfortable before returning to in-person work.