Could coronavirus be impacting workers mentally as well as physically?
Recent research from employee engagement and survey experts, Inpulse, found 40% of employees admitting that worries and concerns about the coronavirus pandemic are impacting on their performance at work.
In the last two weeks, 65% of survey respondents have said they have felt nervous, anxious or on edge, 43% have not been able to stop or control worrying, 53% have little interest or pleasure in doing things and 42% have felt down, depressed or hopeless. Thirty-two percent are aware they are being harsh and judgemental about themselves.
On top of this, nearly a third (31%) of respondents don’t agree that they are supported by their line manager and 37% don’t feel secure about their financial situation, with women being significantly more concerned about their financial wellbeing than men (69% of women are worried; 59% of men).
Whilst the survey results show the huge emotional impact this is having on people’s wellbeing there is some positivity. Eighty-seven percent of respondents feel they are part of a supportive community or team and 81% have meaningful social interactions.
Employee engagement has been measured through an Emotional Wellbeing Index which scores 7 core elements for individuals: Mental health, Self, Purpose, Connection, Body, Financial and Mind. These identify and signpost organisations towards supportive interventions and show whether employees are coping with the demands of daily living, self-awareness, motivation to achieve goals, supportive relationships, physical activity, financial security and the ability to recognise optimistic or unhealthy thinking.
Matt Stephens, CEO of Inpulse and author of The Engagement Revolution, explained:
“Everyone is currently unsure of the impact working from home or being furloughed is having on their people. We can safely say there is a lot of employee anxiety due to uncertainty and change and with that, people feel the culture of the company may be changing too. But from what we’re seeing, this isn’t true – employer values and behaviours are simply adjusting to a new style. What employers need to ask now is what was helpful from the old culture that we can use now? And what do we need to get rid of in terms of behaviours, processes and systems to help employees thrive in this new unfamiliar world?
“For instance, this most recent survey is showing that 40% of employees are feeling anxious, stressed, isolated and bored. This is a marked improvement of the 61% of respondents who said they felt these in mid-March. Our system’s algorithm analyses free text responses and shows that employees are positive because they feel a personal commitment to their teams, to jobs they see as important that help others and to a hope that the shutdown will end swiftly.
“Yet people are feeling negativity because of significantly increased workload, always feeling ‘on’ especially now they’re working from home, job security, lack of support from line managers and interestingly, job satisfaction as they are not enjoying their processes at home and missing social interaction.
“Employers need to understand employee emotions to support their emotional wellbeing through this change, that will then guide them into creating the right interventions that support teams and the business and ultimately lift performance.”
The Inpulse Survey had 113 UK responses and took place between 2nd and 12th of April 2020.