Health Risks Related to COVID-19, Psychological Distress and Perceived Productivity
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of billions around the globe. Yet, our un-derstanding of its impact on psychological distress and work productivity remains limited.Using data from two waves of the Understanding Society COVID-19 study, a representa-tive British survey of reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic, comprising 5829 individuals,we find that perceived health risks related to COVID-19 affect the productivity of work-ing individuals negatively via increased psychological distress. Results also show that theextent of homeworking amplifies the negative relationship between psychological distressand productivity. Additionally, we find that the negative relationship between psychologi-cal distress and productivity is stronger for self-employed individuals compared to thosewho are in paid employment. Psychological distress, self-employment status and genderjointly interact in reducing productivity, such that self-employed women experience thestrongest decline in productivity. We discuss the implications of our findings in light ofsupporting individuals to reduce psychological distress and maintain their productivityfollowing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Author affiliationSchool of Business, University of Leicester
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