Mental health and working communities during the Covid-19 pandemic

  • Andersen, Malene Friis (PI)
  • Wilstrup, Ninna Maria Guldager (CoI)
  • Rasmussen, Lene (CoI)
  • Vilhelmsen, Maja (CoI)
  • Elmholdt, Claus Westergård (CoI)
  • Knudsen, Charlotte Aagaard (Other)
  • Palmskov, Nikolaj (Other)

Project Details


Aim of the research project

Previous studies have shown that the relationships between managers and employees, as well as among employees, have an impact on well-being and performance. In this research project, we investigate how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted working communities, well-being and performance.

We have two objectives for the project:
1.Disseminating knowledge and tools for practice: to disseminate knowledge, perspectives and possible initiatives for managers, employees and OSH professionals. Among other ways, we will accomplish this through the website as well as through expert interviews with the media, webinars and presentations.
2.Contribute with scientific articles to the academic community. Selected results from the interview study will be published in two scientific articles.

To explore the issue in-depth, we conducted a number of qualitative telephone interviews with managers and employees from small, medium and large private enterprises in the period April-June 2020.

Although our interviewees come from the private sector, we expect that employees in public sector enterprises will also be able to recognise and make use of our results to a great extent.


Managers or employees from private companies with between 2-499 employees were eligible to participate in the interview. Employees who were physically present at their workplace as well as employees who worked from home were eligible to participate. Interviewees were recruited through social media, newsletters, articles and publicity about the research project, etc. A total of 116 interviewees are included in the study. The interviewees are distributed as follows:
•57 are managers with personnel responsibility, and 59 are employees
•38 interviewees are men, and 78 are women.
•The interviewees come from workplaces such as manufacturing facilities, construction sites, elderly care institutions and consultant/knowledge worker teams in small/large consultancies.

116 telephone interviews were conducted between 22/04 - 04/06 2020. All interviews were transcribed according to a detailed transcription guide. The transcribed interviews were subsequently coded in the NVivo data processing system. The codes were developed through dialogue, discussion and a series of coding tests by the research team. A thematic analysis was then performed on the codes.

Expert group

An expert group has been associated with the research project, where methodology, results and dissemination have been discussed:
•Svend Brinkmann. Professor, Aalborg University
•Lene Tanggaard. Professor, Aalborg University
•Karina Nielsen. Professor, Sheffield Business School
•Yun Ladegaard, researcher at University of Copenhagen and head of the division ”Erhverv” in Fonden Mental Sundhed

Layman's description

The corona pandemic has changed the working lives of many employees and managers. Some had to work from home from one day to the next, while others had to go to work in a changed world. This project examines how the corona pandemic has affected working communities, well-being and problem solving and has two purposes: to communicate knowledge and tools to practice and to contribute scientific articles to the research community. The findings highlight the importance of caring, supportive, and appreciative leadership behaviors, and give reason to recommend that organizational practices are adjusted to support the development of leadership competences to balance the various and sometimes opposite needs in times of crisis. The project is carried out in collaboration between Det Nationale Forskningscenter for Arbejdsmiljø and Aalborg University.
Short titleMESA
Effective start/end date15/04/202031/12/2021

Collaborative partners

  • NFA (lead)


    UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


    • covid-19


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