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Senior staff members are better able to cope with the pandemic than junior staff members

07 February 2022

The amount of resilience that University staff members have demonstrated during the coronavirus pandemic differs remarkably between categories. According to a study among University of Groningen staff, in general, it was harder for young, international, male academic staff with a temporary contract than for older, Dutch, female non-academic staff with a permanent contract. 

Positive effects

The research focused on the relationship between age, resilience, task requirements and resources, and self-regulation among 1,715 University staff members during the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2021. The study was in the form of an online survey comprising both open and multiple-choice questions. The general conclusion is that involuntarily working from home and teleworking during the pandemic had less negative effects on older than on younger staff. This was closely related to, on the one hand, a better work situation in terms of job security, facilities and equipment, and information channels and, on the other, better self-regulation when it comes to e.g. finding a good balance between work and private life or seeing the positive sides of a crisis. A lot of the older staff members also saw the crisis as a chance for personal growth. 

Practical implications

Among other things, the results point out the importance of job security. Because of that, organizations should be stimulated by the pandemic to take a critical look at their employment contract policy. In addition, organizations should put more effort into ensuring that staff members have adequate working from home equipment at their disposal, and, if their home situation does not allow for it, alternative office space. Access to information is also important, which is why investments in good knowledge management systems such as webinars, intranet pages, and information desks are required. Managers can also play their part by coaching and supporting their staff in a pandemic-like situation. And finally, an intergenerational collaborative team, in which younger staff members can profit from the experience and insights of their more senior colleagues, could offer a great contribution. 

General information

The research will be published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. It was conducted by staff members of the faculties of Behavioural and Social Sciences and Economics and Business, and by the Health, Safety & Sustainability Office (AMD) of the UG. 

Contact: Susanne Scheibe

Last modified:08 February 2022 12.37 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

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