COVID-19 upended business (and life) like nothing has before, and now that we’re kind of getting used to the ever-evolving “new normal,” brands and businesses are learning a thing or two about how to manage their business and staff remotely, and how to help employees create some semblance of work/life balance.
What lessons can we learn from employee experiences during what is reported to be just the first wave of the crisis? New research from European employee feedback firm Effectory offers a snapshot of where we’re at—and what’s to come.
The positive effects of good crisis communications
Employees who are satisfied with the way in which their organization communicates and manages the crisis can perform better and get more work done. They also feel more confident about the future of the organization.
“If an organization shows strong leadership in times of crisis, it can help to develop a sense of solidarity,” said Effectory’s CPO and Innovation Manager, Merel van der Lei, in a news release. “Employees then think: We are going to overcome this situation. That motivates them to be committed and to perform well.”
Balance affected most at the start of the coronavirus crisis
On average, 60 percent of employees were unable to maintain a good work-life balance during the first wave of coronavirus cases. This percentage was highest (62 percent) at the start of the coronavirus crisis and has barely reduced since. Only 40 percent of employees were able to maintain a good balance. Normally, you would expect this figure to be around 69 percent on average, so the difference is considerable.
Lack of energy reserves represents a higher risk of burnout
If there is a long-term mismatch between energy reserves and work requirements, the risk of burnout increases. “During the first wave of coronavirus cases, employees had fewer energy resources,” said van der Lei. “For example, some employees did not have the right tools to perform their jobs properly. Collaborating with colleagues was, in many cases, more difficult. And many employees found that their living situations made it difficult to concentrate.”
Timely insight into reduced well-being to predict the likelihood of burnout
Pulse surveys are a quick way for organizations to gain insight into a number of critical indicators. Van der Lei explains: “Employees are automatically given the same seven key questions. Three are about their well-being: Do they have a good work-life balance? Is their workload too high, too low, or just right? And can they maintain their current situation in the long term? This last question predicts the likelihood of burnout. Carrying out Pulse surveys regularly can also help organizations to detect trends.”
This research is based on 123,000 employees who responded to Effectory’s COVID-19 Workforce Pulse surveys between late March and June 2020.