Low oil prices and the onset of COVID-19 cases in the United States has depressed energy demand and has dramatically altered the employment situation for almost all energy workers. Companies are starting the return to a new, unprecedented normal. UH Energy partnered with PESA, the Petroleum Equipment and Services Association; Pink Petro and IPAA, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Energy Management Institute at Texas A&M University – to gather data on expectations for the return to work recently and has released its findings.
The highlights point to a wide range of challenges and opportunities. The future of work is virtual working from home. More than 70% of those surveyed said they'd prefer to continue to work from home. This strategy could prove to help energy companies as they seek to cut costs in a low price environment and a flexible work environment will also provide an opportunity to reshape office culture and ease work-family interface challenges.
More alarming news are the mental health issues surfaced in the study. Job insecurity and work-family interface issues also predict mental health challenges among energy workers during COVID-19 and a need to step up resources. With the industry likely to continue layoffs, it's essential that companies provide enhanced EAP programs and equip leaders with the ability to recognize and address mental health, a taboo topic in the workplace.
Raising awareness about mental health and eliminating the stigma is important. May is Mental Health Awareness month. To get support for your employees, colleagues or organization, visit our COVID-19 Resource Guide.