The consequences of COVID-19 pandemic and factors supporting resilience during the pandemic in the municipal sector

The aim of the research project is to determine how the COVID-19 pandemic changed work in the municipal sector and how the changes are reflected in the psychosocial work environment, well-being at work and work ability of municipal sector employees. We will also look at this according to the employee’s age, gender, occupation, and family situation. In addition, we will determine how COVID-19 infections are reflected in the development of sickness absence after an infection. The results will identify both risk factors and factors that support well-being.
Kasvomaskiin sonnustautunut henkilö katsoo kameraan.




The COVID-19 pandemic changed work life profoundly. In addition to being a threat to health and safety, it caused wide economic and social disruption. In response to the threat of an infectious disease, workplaces moved to working from home, which has been linked with both positive and negative outcomes.

The consequences of the pandemic varied also between occupations and one observed consequence of the pandemic has been polarization between occupations. Working from home is not possible in all occupations. Other changes due to the pandemic were transfers into new work tasks and team reorganizations. In the health care sector in particular, the pandemic increased job strain among already highly stressed personnel. However, no prospective evidence exists.

Data and methods

We determine:

  • how the COVID-19 pandemic was reflected in the wellbeing and work ability of municipal sector employees
  • the factors and changes supporting the wellbeing and work ability of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • the association between a COVID-19 infection and subsequent sickness absence

The data are from the Finnish Public Sector study and the study is included in the Finnish Public Sector study approval (in Finnish) (HUS/1210/2016) and privacy notice (in Finnish).

Results and impact

Based on previous research, it is assumed that changes in work and work organization are reflected in the wellbeing of employees, but prospective evidence collected after the COVID-19 pandemic is scarce. In addition, there is no evidence on which factors in organizations support the resilience and crisis management of organizations during a pandemic.

Data on sickness absence after a COVID-19 infection are not available so far. Although the pandemic affected nearly everyone, the elderly were at a particular risk of a severe infection. On the other hand, young people have suffered from limited social contacts.

Our study will help identify both resilient and vulnerable groups. Information about the effects of COVID-19 on different groups will help target measures in preparing for future pandemics and other types of crises and surviving them.

Study group

The Project Manager for the project is Jenni Ervasti.

Other members of the study group:

Ville Aalto
Jaakko Airaksinen
Johanna Kausto
Mika Kivimäki


Finnish Work Environment Fund and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health

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Jenni Ervasti

Jenni Ervasti

Jenni.Ervasti [at]
+358 30 474 2806