Your Workforce Has Changed, Forever

Written by Explorance.

Two women working in an office

Reading Time: Less than 7 minutes.

Synopsis: We’ve all been through a lot in the past two years: fear, sickness, death, political discord, and non-stop stress. How can anyone possibly work like we did before? We can’t. That’s the new normal.

Below is an excerpt from a recent
white paper from Explorance where we define our perspective on “Corporate Long Covid.” We sum up the effects of recent history on every workforce and breakdown what CEOs can do about it.

Have you noticed any hiccups in performance lately? A sale that fell through… an accident that should never happen… a project that took three times as long as expected?

One thing’s for sure: We’ve all been through a lot in the past two years.

Covid brought fear, sickness, and death to everyone’s door. “The pandemic has been a source of disruption and misery to all Americans,” agrees The New York Times.[1]

At work, the Great Resignation meant sudden departures and extra work. At home, discord ruled every level of politics. Abroad, Putin invaded Ukraine.

And inflation jumped to a 40-year high, so that many families could barely pay their bills.[2]

That’s a lot to endure. How can anyone possibly work like we did before the pandemic?

What American employees endured since 2020

  • More than 1 million Americans died from Covid[3]
  • 4 out of 10 adults know someone who died from Covid[4]
  • 1 in 6 have cried with a co-worker[5]
  • 1 in 4 feel moderately to severely depressed: 3X higher than before Covid[6]
  • 1 in 3 say their mental health declined in 2021[7]
  • 6 in 10 say mental health problems—anxiety, burnout, depression, or stress—affect them at work[8]

In a nutshell, your workforce is shell-shocked from the past two years.

Sources: The Boston Globe, The Covid States Project, John Hopkins, Lyra Health, Microsoft

We’re still discovering the long-term effects of Covid. And none of them are good.

Up to 1 in 3 people who had Covid suffer lingering problems like fatigue, headaches, insomnia, shortness of breath, and pain.[9],[10],[11]

National Geographic reports that Covid can shrink our brains, as much as aging 10 years in a few weeks. Even a mild case can trigger problems with attention and memory.[12]

In fact, about 1 in 4 Covid survivors have impaired cognition: confusion, dizziness, trouble finding words, or a hard time focusing.

That means your top employees and managers can suddenly get “brain fog.”

Your sharpest analysts and consultants can fumble for words or zone out during meetings. Some have to go part-time or stop working entirely.

Even for those who can still work, all this stress leads to lower productivity. More mistakes. More accidents at work, and more accidents getting to work.

For instance, traffic deaths in the U.S. went up 6.8% in 2020 and another 10.5% in 2021—hitting a 16-year high.[13],[14]

This also means less creative problem-solving and fewer fresh ideas and breakthroughs.

All this is the new normal for any workforce. Part of the new normal is that everyone has recalibrated their work-life balance. And if their job doesn’t fit their new requirements, they may quit.

The Great Resignation is far from over. Many who quit worked in professional and business services. In fact, the 2021 turnover rate in that line of work was 64%—the same as retail.[15]

Industry leader and HR analyst, Josh Bersin says that people reconsidering their jobs is “a permanent and long-lasting change in our workforce.”[16] In fact, your workforce has changed, forever.

Continue to other excerpts.

Or click here to download the entire white paper.


  1. Julie Bosman. “The Lost Americans.” The New York Times. 14 May 2022. Retrieved 20 May 2022 from

  2. Matt Phillips and Neil Irwin. “Inflation hits fresh 40-year high.” Updated 10 February 2022. Retrieved 20 May 2022 from

  3. “Coronavirus Resource Center.” John Hopkins University of Medicine. Retrieved 20 May 2022 from

  4. Martin Finucane. “Survey finds 4 in 10 American adults know someone who died of COVID-19.” The Boston Globe. Updated 2 May 2022. Retrieved 20 May 2022 from

  5. “The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work–Are We Ready? Work Trend Index: 2021 Annual Report.” Microsoft. September 2021. Retrieved 20 May 2022 from

  6. “Report #84: Covid-19 Deaths and Depression USA.” The Covid States Project. April 2022. Pages 12-13. Retrieved 20 May 2022 from

  7. “2022 State of Workforce Mental Health.” Lyra Health. 23 February 2022. Page 5. Retrieved 20 May 2022 from

  8. Ibid.

  9. “PASC Dashboard.” American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R). Updated continuously. Retrieved 22 May 2022 from

  10. “Breathing Discomfort and Cognitive Symptoms Guidance Statements.” AAPM&R. Press release. 14 December 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2022 from

  11. Elizabeth Yuko. “People With Long Covid Are Risking Their Health Going Back to the Office.” Rolling Stone. 6 October 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2022 from

  12. Sanjay Mishra. “Even mild COVID-19 can cause your brain to shrink.” National Geographic. 19 April 2022. Retrieved 22 May 2022 from

  13. “NHTSA Releases 2020 Traffic Crash Data.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. Press release. 2 March 2022. Retrieved 22 May 2022 from

  14. “Newly Released Estimates Show Traffic Fatalities Reached a 16-Year-High in 2021.” NHTSA, U.S. Department of Transportation. Press release. 17 May 2022. Retrieved 22 May 2022 from

  15. “Annual total separations rates by industry and region, not seasonally adjusted.” Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Economic News Release. Updated 10 March 2022. Retrieved 22 May 2022 from

  16. Josh Bersin. “From the Great Resignation to The Great Migration.” Updated 13 December 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2022 from

CorporateCorporate Long COVIDCOVID-19Employee engagementEmployee insight solutionsOrganizational experiencePeople insight solutions

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