Business Leaders Show New and Increased Concerns for Total Worker Health as COVID-19 Cases Increase

November 10, 2020

BSI, the business improvement company, recently established that while signs of optimism are apparent, organizations continue to be challenged by supply chain disruptions, and their concerns about their workers’ physical and mental health are rising as the effects of COVID-19 wear on. These findings are from a recently conducted survey of business leaders in North America intended to identify pain points caused by the pandemic and to evaluate organizations’ efforts on their road to recovery.

The key themes explored in the survey included:

  • Business continuity preparedness
  • Employee health, safety, and well-being
  • Supply chain concerns
  • Remote work preparedness

"We’re grateful to have heard from more than 1,300 clients, and the broader business community, over the course of these three pulse surveys. We’ve been able to identify and track trends related to organizational resilience and the pandemic’s impact on worker health as compared to when the effects of the virus began in North America nearly eight months ago,” said Tim Wren, Americas Chief Commercial Officer at BSI. “Our initial survey showed concern for physical health, but that has now broadened to concerns around total worker health as senior leaders contend with the mental impact of the public health crisis, highlighting the need to not only focus on the health of an organization from a health and productivity perspective but also the impact employee well-being has on those outcomes.”

Key Findings of the latest BSI COVID-19 Pulse Survey include:

  • BSI has identified four key phases of the pandemic response: survive, stabilize, rebuild, and resilience. Since our first pulse survey in April of this year, organizations have made significant progress in adjusting to and preparing for the next normal, with 65 per cent reporting that they are in the recovery or resilience phases.
  • The number of senior leaders citing they had entered the resilient phase increased to 40 per cent in the latest version of the survey, surpassing the number of respondents who identified themselves in the stabilize phase for the first time since our surveys began in April.
  • The number of respondents that reported they are in the survival phase remained flat at 5 per cent, demonstrating that those businesses continue to struggle to adapt, a concerning statistic especially as the United States is seemingly entering a new wave of the pandemic.
  • While employee safety remains a chief concern for senior leaders, concerns for the future, such as when a vaccine will be developed and the impacts of a potential third wave of COVID-19, as well as the overall health of the economy, are much more prevalent now than in April.
  • Additionally, the survey found that respondents' concerns have shifted from a focus on their employees' physical health; their concerns now include mental health as the stress of the pandemic continues to take hold nearly eight months in.
  • Organizations reported they’ve become much more accepting of the fact that remote working does not appear to be going away any time soon; nearly half (47 per cent) expect at least 25 per cent or more of their workforce to continue to work remotely after the pandemic subsides – nearly double what our April survey showed.
  • Information security issues continue to be a concern, particularly for the medical device industry, who, among all industries surveyed, cite the highest number of incidents related to VPN overload and increased phishing emails and cyber-attack attempts.
  • More than eight months into the pandemic, more than half of all respondents are still experiencing issues in their supply chain at the manufacturing site, and almost half of respondents are looking to make long-term changes to their supply chain, including how materials are sourced and transported, underscoring the fact that organizations continue to deal with ongoing unresolved supply chain-related woes.
  • Despite a remote workforce, 67 per cent of all respondents cite that productivity has either improved or remained the same amid the pandemic, with the Internet Communications Technology (ICT) industry reporting the highest productivity gains.
  • Only 18 per cent of business leaders report offering ergonomic support for their remote workforce through office furniture or laptop stands, and only 27 per cent report offering external mouses or keyboards.

“Now more than ever, it is imperative senior leaders consider total worker health amid these uncertain times,” said Danielle Reilly, SVP of Consulting Services at BSI. “As the majority of the U.S., and the world, continues to work remotely due to COVID-19, employers need to consider the physical and mental health of employees to help ensure a sense of value and belonging. This can be supported by finding ways to help optimize their remote work environments ergonomically and to offer support for their mental well-being as well. Doing so will not only benefit the overall health of the employee, but the organization.”

For more information on BSI’s Health and Safety offerings, please visit:  

For additional information and resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit:

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