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Election stress surpasses pandemic levels

November 12, 2020 - 3 min read

Heightened stress and feelings of anxiety were almost palpable last week in every conversation I had with friends, family members, and co-workers. But, when I saw this graph from our team at BetterUp Labs, I was stunned. Could the US election be causing more stress than a global pandemic?

What the data suggests

BetterUp has been tracking session topics across hundreds of thousands of coaching sessions with workers around the globe since July 2019. In the graph, we see a clear picture of two major spikes in stress management and self-care as a focus area: 1) at the start of the pandemic in March - April, and 2) in late October leading into the election week. Stress management and self-care focused coaching sessions are up 20% in comparison to last month and up 56% in comparison to the beginning of the year (pre- Pandemic times). During the election week, stress management and self-care sessions surpassed the previous spike in March-April by ~4%, and it continues to be the top focus area in coaching sessions. It’s encouraging to see that BetterUp Members are getting the help they need to find calm and increase their resilience.

Why this matters

This data validates what we have been sensing all around us–stress has reached a fever pitch. With the complete integration of work and life in our new world of work, it’s hard, and many will say impossible, to keep this stress from affecting the workplace. People may be highly distracted, feeling tense or disengaging to hide their emotional state, and organizations may experience productivity dips as a result. Wherever you stand on politics in the workplace, encouraging people to access all available employee resources and benefits can help them bounce back faster and find positive ways forward. 

Our free online toolkit is available to help you and your teams navigate uncertainty, manage difficult emotions, and thrive while working remotely. 

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Published November 12, 2020

Erin Eatough, PhD

Sr. Insights Manager

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