After a Year of High Unemployment, Benefits of Work are Evident

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Express Employment Professionals CEO Bill Stoller on the Value of Returning to Work

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"As we continue to make progress against COVID-19 and the economy picks up speed, companies are desperate for workers and employees can reap more benefits than just a paycheck by accepting an offer." Express CEO Bill Stoller

Last year, the bottom fell out for many businesses as they were forced to close due to COVID-19 lockdowns. And millions of workers suddenly found themselves furloughed for the foreseeable future or without a job altogether.

There’s a reason mental health services have been crucial during this time. Humans crave structure and many thrive on stability, both of which vanished in a matter of days.

With the usual coping methods of peer interaction and social distractions discouraged, stress skyrocketed from anxiety and depression in every facet of life.

Today, millions are still on the labor force sidelines for a variety of reasons, such as childcare issues, the elimination of their old job or fear of catching the coronavirus in the workplace. But as we continue to make progress against COVID-19 and the economy picks up speed, companies are desperate for workers and employees can reap more benefits than just a paycheck by accepting an offer.

There’s no denying that making enough to pay the bills is usually the primary motivation for seeking work. But securing that aspect can also positively impact your mental health. A job can elevate your self-esteem and challenge the mind, which studies have shown helps to prevent early aging.

While not every job can have a remote aspect, many will shift to offer some remote component long after the pandemic ends. Some people thrived this past year working remotely full-time, but for others, it became incredibly isolating. Human interaction is imperative and friendships with coworkers fill that need.

Coworkers challenge your skills and encourage you to learn new ones. They often provide balance with family and are there during life’s biggest moments. For younger workers, a workplace setting is crucial to development during early years in the workforce. It’s a time to test out hard skills learned in school, and refine soft skills that only come from exposure to various situations.

Returning this particular generation of young workers safely to the labor force and the classroom should be a top priority for businesses and government. Valuable time has already been lost in their career journeys and personal development.

Undoubtedly, there will be pent-up demand by consumers for everything from shopping to travel as the economic recovery continues, meaning the possibilities are endless for those who have been unemployed long-term or are looking to make a career change. There’s a reason successful entrepreneurs often get their start during tough circumstances. Those moments are when self-reflection reveals opportunities. This moment is no different.

Yes, returning to work may look different than many envisioned, but it’s also an exciting time to test which skills translate into emerging industries at quality companies. With effort and patience, rewarding opportunities will follow. Now is the time to get America back to work!

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Sheena Hollander
@ExpressPros
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