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Survey Takeaways: Stabilization. Recognition rules. Frontline facts.

COVID-19 Weekly Culture Pulse Survey: April 27–May 1, 2020

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.

1.


Signs of stabilization continue amidst all the weirdness.


For the second week in a row, employee sentiments and organizational responses to COVID-19 appear to be stabilizing. Furloughs, layoffs, pay and benefit reductions are all holding steady with no further increases. Also, the following areas showed week-over-week signs of improvement:

18% decrease in intention-to-leave

8.1% decrease in feelings of futility

16.7% decrease in perception that the organization is putting employees at risk

7% decrease in feeling vulnerable to COVID-19 at the organization

17.45 increase in one-to-ones with leaders.

Stabilization will involve a slow, uneven journey back to pre-COVID-19 routines. We see several indicators of a turbulent employee experience continuing. Recognition frequency has declined by 19.7%. Also, the perception that the organization is overreacting to COVID-19 has increased by 14.4%. That last stat is particularly interesting as it correlates to some employees beginning to hope for a return to normal. Employee attitudes toward organizational policies are likely to continue shifting as we look toward recovery.

Employees working remotely are still expressing no hurry to return to the office. In fact, a majority of remote workers (82.7%) continue to think it is too early to consider moving back to the workplace. And remote work appears to be a viable long-term proposition for many as well. 90.8% of employees say they’d prefer to work from home at least some of the time—even after the pandemic is over. Note the following details:

WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO RETURN TO THE OFFICE?

3.7% say this week (a decrease of 11.9%)

7.3% say next week (an increase of 43.1%)

22.6% say in 2-4 weeks (an increase of 20.2%)

28.0% say in one month (an increase of 9.8%)

27.2% say 2-3 months from now (a decrease of 18.8%)

11.1% say longer than three months from now (a reduction of 13.3%)

WHAT IS THE RIGHT BALANCE OF REMOTE/OFFICE WORK ONCE RETURNING TO THE OFFICE IS ALLOWED?

9.1% do not want to work remotely

25.6% would like to work from home at least one day per week

15.9% would like to work from home at least two days per week

18.0% would like to work from home at least three days per week

10.6% would like to work from home at least four days per week

20.7% would like to work from home full-time

Interestingly, when asked if their organization would be supportive of remote work in the future, 61.4% of employees say that their organization would be supportive of remote work after the pandemic. For the 38.6% of employees that do not feel their organization would be supportive, 68.7% say they would leave the organization for a similar role elsewhere.

2.


Not appreciating employees comes at a cost.


Employee recognition has a positive impact on culture metrics in good times and bad. This week we saw evidence of the positive impact of appreciating employees—particularly during a pandemic. When recognized in the past 7 days, employees were 103.4% more likely to feel supported by the organization and 58.6% more likely to trust their leader. In organizations where formal employee recognition is not present (whether it was never offered or was put on hold during the pandemic) the numbers tell a different story. Where no formal recognition is present, employees are 22.7% less likely to feel supported by the organization and were 2x more fearful of COVID-19.

For a deeper dive into the research on employee recognition during the COVID-19 crisis, read Cutting Recognition Takes a Toll, Especially During a Crisis here.

3.


Non-remote workers want remote workers to stay home (for now).


Much of the COVID-19 story has focused on employees working from home. But the vast majority (67.3%) of employees have had to continue coming in to their places of work. These employees have been enduring special social distancing measures, wearing face masks, getting their temperature taken before work, and sometimes working longer shifts because of the pandemic. Yet, most of them are not anxious to see their temporarily remote colleagues return to the office. In fact, quite the opposite. 91.4% of frontline workers say they are not ready for remote workers to return to the office. Reasons vary, from feeling safer if people just stay away, to concerns about the availability of hand sanitizer, face masks, and other safety equipment. It will be important for organizations to listen to the feelings of all employees before making any changes to their social distancing policies.

For a closer look at the critically important views of frontline employees, read Return of the Remotes? Not So Fast Say Essentials. 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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