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The Biggest Risk in Business Right Now Is Grief

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The Biggest Risk in Business Right Now Is Grief


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The traumatizing experiences of 2020 have taken a costly toll on workers’ mental well-being.

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COVID-19 may eventually be contained with an effective vaccine, but the toll the pandemic has taken on people’s mental health will linger. American businesses will need to help their “traumatized workforce” cope, or companies will face diminished productivity, business journalist Maria Aspan writes in Fortune. In an eye-opening piece, she lays out the enormous toll that a series of traumatizing experiences in 2020 has taken on workers’ mental health across the United States. She describes pioneering efforts US organizations have undertaken to address the situation – and calls on others to follow suit. This general-interest article holds particular significance for HR professionals.


The burden of grief lays heavily on United States’ workers in 2020.

Grief weighs heavily on America’s 147 million employees in 2020. Some 1.8 million Americans have experienced the death of a relative due to COVID-19, with a disproportionate percentage of that impact hitting Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities. The police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor traumatized Black Americans and heightened anxieties related to systemic racism. Americans also mourned the 2020 deaths of public icons, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Lewis.

Millions of Americans – even those who have not lost loved ones – are saddened at the loss of rituals, milestones, routines and favorite pastimes that formed an integral part of their pre-COVID life. Many must deal with job loss, financial stress&#...

About the Author

Maria Aspan is a senior writer at Fortune magazine.

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