Employee Happiness before and during covid: figures from the (remote) workplace
By Mare Derks | July 13, 2020
Organizations are facing a major challenge. In recent months, they have experienced how their employees and managers deal with a crisis. The focus was on survival, but in the Netherlands, the next phase has arrived: redesign the company culture and grow. Or will we be startled by a second corona wave? In each of those scenarios the data-driven and people-oriented employer plays a key role. Because they will be able to offer every employee the healthiest and most motivating (remote) working atmosphere that is needed to thrive again.
Employee Happiness is not a one-size-fits-all topic. Therefore continuous feedback on team level is leading. Also, the covid crisis has taught us that a mood monitor for your internal organization is not an unnecessary luxury, but a valuable information source with which HR and managers can influence the employee experience and performance.
Employee Happiness Data Report
In 2019 and 2020 (during the covid-19 peak), more than 40 organizations in the Netherlands collected data on the (remote) work happiness of their staff. Every week, on average 2,800 employees and managers answered a short online survey. From this aggregated data we can draw lessons.
For example, we see that paying attention to communication, connection with people and (mental) well-being has helped organizations through the first difficult phase. Which topics should we focus on in the coming period?
It’s time to learn from the past and look to the future. The Employee Happiness Data Report of 2DAYSMOOD lists the most important results and analyzes. For anyone who wants to build a future-proof organizational culture!
The most important numbers and insights about employee happiness
The coronavirus outbreak came along with uncertainty, change and social distance. These factors affected workers in the Netherlands. In our data, we logically notice differences with average results from the year 2019, but we also see some remarkable differences between managers and employees.
1. Downward trend of positive energy
In the survey results from the covid period, we see a very clear impact on the positive mood of employees: a peak in stress and dissatisfaction! However, we seem to recover quickly due to strong and empathetic leadership, cohesion and resilience. But the longevity of this crisis remains our enemy. After the initial shock and our recovery, we notice a declining trend of positive moods and energy (cheerfulness and enthusiasm). Working from home and a lack of (physical) connection has a bigger impact than we think. That is also how management guru Ben Tiggelaar described it in his recent newspaper column about “Remote work boredom”. This is an important point of attention for every organization. After all, what do you think happens to an employee’s performance level if they are tired, unstimulated or dissatisfied?
2. Excited managers are hit harder
In 2019, we see that managers work with more energy and pleasure. On average, managers report feeling excited 43% of the time, versus 26% for employees. However, in the most uncertain period of the covid-19 crisis (early March in the Netherlands), the negative impact is more noticeable on managers as compared to employees. For example, negative moods (dissatisfaction and stress) increase by about 15%. For employees, that is only half of this percentage. Perhaps this is a logical consequence of the responsibilities and leading role that managers have to take on in times of crisis. Either way, it shows that we should not forget this group when it comes to happiness during work!
3. Factors that affect Happiness during Work are changing
Employee Happiness at work is not just about having a positive mood during work. The experience of happiness at work has various drivers. 2DAYSMOOD has validated 15 universal factors and incorporated them into the Employee Happiness model. In 2019, employees find 1) social values, 2) relationships with colleagues and 3) work-life balance the most important ones for their work pleasure. In the covid period, 2DAYSMOOD re-examined which themes influenced happiness at work in this specific context. The importance of topics is shifting, but colleagues and work-life balance are still at the top. Unfortunately, these subject or not on top in terms of satisfaction. During the corona period, employees are least satisfied with 1) work load, 2) work-life balance and 3) connection with people. You can read what employees are most satisfied with in the report.
4. More appreciation for employers
Despite the fact that the corona peak has some serious effects on employees’ and managers’ happiness during work, they quickly get back on their feet. This may have to do with the extra attention that organizations pay to their personnel. Transparency, empathy and trust are key learnings here. For this extra attention, employers are rewarded with an increase in employee ambassadors, measured through the employee Net Promoter Score. On average in the Netherlands, this score increases by 15 points during the covid pandemic (from 1 to 16)! This means that organizations get 8% fewer detractors and 7% more promoters. Promoters are defined as employees who recommend their organization as a good employer to others.
5. Focus areas in the future
By bringing together all the data and expertise from the past and present, we can make cautious predictions for the future. We believe that employers should pay sufficient attention to, among other things: Personal well-being and vitality, Autonomy and personal leadership and Purpose and fulfillment in the renewed hybrid or remote work environment. These topics might just be the magic buttons, that can help boost employee happiness again. Curious why? And which other topics can contribute? You can read that in the Employee Happiness Data Report.