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Survey Takeaways: Good News (Finally). Back to Work? Video Rules.

COVID-19 Weekly Culture Pulse Survey April 20-24, 2020

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Our weekly culture pulse survey tracks how the 2020 pandemic is impacting workplace culture and the employee experience. Use this knowledge to act with confidence and inspire your people to get through this together.


First signs of things beginning to stabilize.

Good news. For the first time since our COVID-19 Weekly Culture Pulse Survey began, some major indicators of employee sentiment are stabilizing. Others have actually improved. These are grounds for cautious optimism. Here are just a few areas that have stabilized: furloughs, layoffs, pay and benefit reductions; feelings of futility; incidences of depression. In addition to these indicators stabilizing, the following areas showed week-over-week signs of improvement:

18.3% decrease in perception that the organization is putting employees at risk

13% decrease in feeling vulnerable to COVID-19 at the organization

13.1% decrease in perception that the organization is underprepared for COVID-19

18% decrease in fearfulness

32.6% Increase in engagement

4.4% increase in sense of wellbeing (significant movement in context)


The debate on when it’s safe to return to work begins.

Employees that have been working from home have begun to discuss when they should start commuting in to work again. 86% report it is still too early to consider moving back to the office. A majority of employees feel they should not return to the office for 2 to 3 months or longer. The reasons some report for their reluctance to return is that the virus is still spreading, they don’t want to undo the good we’ve done by social distancing so far, and they consider themselves at high risk. Still, other employees report that they are ready to return to work, citing skepticism of the true risk of spreading the disease and reporting that “it’s not that different from flu season.” Employees with a spouse, partner, or roommate also working at home were 3x more likely to report that it was not too soon to consider returning to work.

For a deeper dive into the research on when to return to work, and ideas for how organizations can respond, read Necessity, Recklessness, and the Right Time to Reopen the Office here.

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Video proves to be a very effective medium for leaders.

As senior leaders and executives have sought to hold their workplace cultures together through the pandemic, some mediums of communicating have fared better than others. 70.7% of employees report that video messages make them feel more connected to senior leaders. Videos don’t need to be produced with fancy production value, or a great deal of care taken in wardrobe (i.e. a fancy suit) or a well-staged backdrop. In fact, leaders should record video at home and connect in a natural, authentic way. They shouldn’t be unkempt. They should just try to communicate in a personal, human way. Video town hall meetings are proving particularly effective. We saw a 327% increase in employee net promoter score (eNPS) after participating in a virtual town hall meeting.

For a closer look at the survey data on executive communication methods and advice on how to connect with employees during and after the pandemic, read CEOs Discover Which Medium Is the Message here.

Stay tuned to our COVID-19 weekly culture pulse surveys for insights that will help your organization to weather the storm.

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