Overcoming the Energy Crisis in Houston

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A fog of uncertainty has fallen over Houston’s energy sector during the pandemic. Oil and gas workers are going home every day in Houston uncertain about their livelihoods. About the future of their industry, one that has been hobbled by coronavirus.

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Researchers at the University of Houston released a study that found that while employees are mostly pleased with their employers’ handling of the crisis, they are stressed and uncertain about the future of their jobs.

“Our research explores the impact of COVID-19 on energy workers. Houston continues to be the energy capital of the world, so workers in Houston have been disproportionately affected by a simultaneous drop in energy prices and COVID-19,” explained Christiane Spitzmueller, an industrial psychologist at UH and one of the researchers that worked on the study.

The study found that 53% of energy workers said the pandemic has them worried about their jobs, with 40% concerned that they won’t be able to pay their mortgages and utilities.

Spitzmueller said her team learned that “job insecurity in Houston's current economic climate was very stressful, with a negative impact on both work and family domains.”

The study provides employers in the energy sector a comprehensive, detailed overview highlighting the biggest concerns among workers. This will help employers address and alleviate these concerns and keep spirits high.

“In our work, we explore what companies can do to help employees mitigate COVID-19 challenges, and what makes employees comfortable in returning to work,” Spitzmueller said.

According to the report itself, the researchers hope their work will “contribute to the industry’s ability to capitalize on its driven and committed workforce to weather the current economic and public health challenges and to do what the energy industry has done in prior economic downturns: innovate, learn, and use technology to create even more efficient systems that serve the industry and the public.”

Category: Local Economy

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