Study published on the well-being of small business workers during COVID-19

December 21, 2020

(AURORA, Colo.) December 21, 2020 - As the pandemic was starting to take hold, researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) performed a study to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the well-being of workers in Colorado. The team evaluated changes to employees' work and home life resulting from COVID-19 and individual perceptions of workplace safety and health climates. These climates reflect employee perceptions of how committed their employer is to their safety and health. They are commonly used as an indicator of organizational safety and health cultures.

This study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, examined whether safety and health climates were related to employee well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic in a sample of small businesses. CHWE has become an expert in the field of small business safety and health research based on its Small + Safe + Well (SSWell) study, a four-year, Total Worker Health® intervention. The research group distributed a COVID-specific employee survey to the existing employer group of SSWell organizations and received responses from 491 employees from 30 small businesses across Colorado.

"When the pandemic hit last spring, we knew that work changed significantly. We wanted to understand how the small businesses in our SSWell study were responding to the pandemic and how this was related to their employees' health," said Dr. Natalie Schwatka, one of the lead researchers and assistant professor at the ColoradoSPH.

"We learned that when employees perceived strong health and safety climates, they also reported better well-being," says Dr. Carol Brown, lead researcher and deputy director of CHWE. Employee perceptions of safety and health climates were significantly, positively related to their self-reported well-being during the first wave of COVID-19, even when there were changes to childcare, the ability to work, and limited social contacts.

"Safety and health climates may influence employee well-being even when other disruptions occur, suggesting that during emergencies, small businesses with strong climates may be better prepared to maintain employee well-being," according to Dr. Schwatka.

The team hopes the results of the survey will encourage organizations to approach emergency preparedness as a health and safety issue. "Businesses cannot always predict when an emergency is going to happen, but they can create a working environment that supports their employees' health, safety, and well-being" says Dr. Schwatka. "In doing so, they have laid a foundation for how to successfully respond to an emergency."
About the Center for Health, Work and Environment

The Center for Health, Work and Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health is one of six Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health® and houses the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center, one of 18 centers of its kind supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Main offices for the Center are located at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. The Center team works with faculty, students, and community partners on numerous projects in occupational and environmental health, safety, and well-being.

About the Colorado School of Public Health

The Colorado School of Public Health is the first and only accredited school of public health in the Rocky Mountain Region, attracting top tier faculty and students from across the country, and providing a vital contribution towards ensuring our region's health and well-being. Collaboratively formed in 2008 by the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado, the Colorado School of Public Health provides training, innovative research and community service to actively address public health issues including chronic disease, access to health care, environmental threats, emerging infectious diseases, and costly injuries.
Learn more and follow Colorado SPH's updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Related Pandemic Articles from Brightsurf:

Areas where the next pandemic could emerge are revealed
An international team of human- and animal health experts has incorporated environmental, social and economic considerations -- including air transit centrality - to identify key areas at risk of leading to the next pandemic.

Narcissists love being pandemic 'essential workers'
There's one group of essential workers who especially enjoy being called a ''hero'' during the COVID-19 pandemic: narcissists.

COVID-19: Air quality influences the pandemic
An interdisciplinary team from the University of Geneva and the ETH Z├╝rich spin-off Meteodat investigated possible interactions between acutely elevated levels of fine particulate matter and the virulence of the coronavirus disease.

People who purchased firearms during pandemic more likely to be suicidal
People who purchase a firearm during the pandemic are more likely to be suicidal than other firearm owners, according to a Rutgers study.

Measles outbreaks likely in wake of COVID-19 pandemic
Major measles outbreaks will likely occur during 2021 as an unexpected consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new academic article.

The COVID-19 pandemic: How US universities responded
A new George Mason University study found that the majority of university announcements occurred on the same day as the World Health Organization's pandemic declaration.

Researchers find evidence of pandemic fatigue
A new study from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology shows that the behavioral responses to COVID-19 differed by age.

Excessive alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic
The full impact of COVID-19 on alcohol use is not yet known, but rates have been rising during the first few months of the pandemic.

How fear encourages physical distancing during pandemic
Despite guidelines plastered on the walls and floors of grocery and retail stores encouraging customers to maintain six-feet of physical distance during the pandemic, many do not.

COVID-19 pandemic and $16 trillion virus
This Viewpoint aggregates mortality, morbidity, mental health conditions, and direct economic losses to estimate the total cost of the pandemic in the US on the optimistic assumption that it will be substantially contained by the fall of 2021.

Read More: Pandemic News and Pandemic Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to