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Key Takeaways: News You Need This Week

COVID-19 Weekly Culture Pulse Survey: March 30-April 3, 2020

Employee working from home with her child in her lap
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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.


Newly remote employees are striving for normalcy.

Here’s a telling statistic: 66.4% of employees now working from home are doing so for the very first time. Most are faring reasonably well and are working hard to adjust to their new normal.

After a few weeks of working from home, we saw evidence of employees striving for routine. Many are creating a sort of “virtual commute” that includes taking time before work to grab a coffee, listen to a favorite podcast or audio book, and take just a little breath before logging in for the day. Employees also reported being more aggressive in scheduling lunch and break time and sticking to them. Plus, many are making time for non-work-related social interactions with friends at work, often enforcing a “no work” rule, just like during lunchtime in the cafeteria at work.

Fortunately, team members are supporting one another by being transparent with their routines, filling in for each other, and respecting one another’s schedules. 83.2% report feeling supported by their teams.

This group of employees is also fairly positive about workplace culture. About 65% report that their culture has not changed in any meaningful way because of the pandemic. Their coworkers who cannot work from home tell a different story...


The brunt of pandemic-related change is falling on non-remote employees.

There is a dramatic difference in the employee experience between remote vs front-line hourly employees. While their coworkers adjust to spending their days at home, essential and customer-facing employees face exposure risk on top of extended hours and increased responsibilities. This group uses the word “stress” four times more than their remote coworkers. They also have a stronger sense that the organization is putting revenue ahead of their people.

Many front-line employees feel abandoned. In the words of one respondent,

“We feel we have been left behind. No one outside of our immediate team checks on us. No one is organizing virtual get-togethers for us. Other departments are safe in their own homes, and I’m not.”

Organizations need to focus on this segment of their workforce, sending them video messages from leaders, arranging video conferences with remote coworkers, and making efforts to protect their safety. Most of all, leaders need to do all they can to create positive daily experiences for these employees by increasing employee recognition, continuing to celebrate career anniversaries, and maintaining traditions that define life at work.


Peers are recognizing peers more often, but leaders are not.

When it comes to employee recognition, there is good news and bad news. While recognition consistency has decreased by 8% across organizations, peer-to-peer recognition provides a bright spot. As teams work hard together to meet the demands of a challenging era, peer-to-peer recognition has increased by 12%. Remote workers report that, after the initial shock of being sent home, their teams have become more collaborative and social, putting in extra effort to connect and support one another. On the flip side, recognition from leaders has decreased by 5%.

While leaders have a lot to think about at present, they need to make time for noticing and rewarding employees, especially those on the front lines who need it the most.


Layoffs, furloughs, and wage and benefit reductions are all on the rise.

As the economic impact of COVID-19 increases, many companies are being forced to make reductions and find ways to save money to ensure a healthy future.

17.9% of employees reported layoffs
24.6% of employees reported furloughs
13.7% of employees reported reduced wages/pay
11.0% of employees reported reduced / modified employee benefits


Workplace culture is taking a hit in engagement, burnout, and other factors.

Over the past few weeks, we have seen the 2020 pandemic take a toll on thriving workplace cultures. This week’s data revealed:

8% decrease in engagement
7% increase in burnout.
28% decrease in employee net promoter score
69% decrease in feeling supported by the organization
87% increase in avoiding activities to collaborate
44% increase in feeling unproductive
316% increase in fearfulness
9% decrease in team success since beginning of pulse
5% decrease in career advancement since beginning of pulse


And finally, the impact of COVID-19 is on the increase:

54.1% of employees report a COVID-19 diagnosis within their community (up from 45.4% last week and 27.0% at the beginning of the crisis).

29.0% of employees report a COVID-19 diagnosis within their organization (up from 22.8% last week, and 9.1% at the beginning of the crisis).

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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