“A vaccine is coming.”
Those are the words we’ve been waiting all year to hear and, with it,
the hope that the pandemic will end. However, before it gets here we
have many challenges to deal with. Lockdowns around the UK and
Europe. Surging cases
in the US. The solution
hasn’t changed — we still need more social distancing, but sheer fatigue
is setting in and getting to the end of the tunnel can seem like a
During this tumultuous year, we at Friday Pulse have continued to ask
employees of our clients, “How have you felt at work this
week?” Their responses have enabled us to track the impact of
COVID-19 on employee experience. As a result, we’ve been able to turn their answers into data
points and chart their progress.
We’ve called this journey the ‘resilience curve’ — evidence of how
people have bounced back from the shock of the first wave of COVID-19.
Now, as we face second and third waves, we have updated the graph to
reflect how people have been feeling throughout the last few months.
We’re also going to share some thoughts on how companies can continue to
A look at the resilience curve
As a reminder, the below data is from Friday Pulse clients — people who
have actively taken an interest in the wellbeing of their people. The
numbers reflected here are probably better than what is going on in the
The last few months have been disruptive and, more recently, things have
been slightly trending downwards again. It’s not surprising why — there
have been new waves of furloughs and redundancies. Some feel anxiety
that the holidays at the end of the year may be spent in isolation. Add
to that the discomfort of a political season and the news of COVID-19
cases rising, and we’ve got an easy case for decreasing happiness
At the beginning of the year, the pre-COVID average was 69.6 across all
clients. In the months since the initial wave of lockdown, that number
has dropped to 66.4. There is pressure entering the system that needs to
be addressed. When we look at the graph above, we can see the sheer
weariness and resignation of people in it. The drop off we see at the
end of the chart is a collective act of holding our breath, as if to
say, “Here we go again.”
We’ve been here before and we know how to survive lockdown
But the thing is, we know how to handle this.
The first step is to acknowledge our negativity bias and begin building
on the positive. Negativity bias is our natural tendency to lean towards outcomes that are
negative rather than those that are neutral or positive. It’s not just
an optimist/pessimist thing either. The effect of a positive result has
less of an influence on our behaviour than a negative one.
It’s easy to get drawn into negative narratives about our lives or our
situations. Take politics as an example — our feelings about candidates
or news headlines can make our days feel rotten. But the reality is
that these political events have minimal actual impact on our daily
lives. It won’t affect the taste of your coffee unless you let it.
In that light, if we want to carry whatever momentum we had in
innovation or creativity, we need to acknowledge the stresses but focus
on the positives. This means making a consistent, deliberate effort to
identify the good things going on in your business and build on them.
It’s also good to remember that whilst things may look a bit bleak right
now — we’ve been here before. This second round of lockdown shouldn’t be
as much of a shock as the first lockdown.
If you’ve been following our newsletter, here’s a reminder of the things
you know how to do:
You know how to accentuate the positive
Focusing on the positive doesn’t only mean looking at life through
rose-coloured glasses or lying to ourselves. What it means is you
celebrate the wins — no matter how big or small — that your team has. If
you’re already a Friday Pulse user, take advantage of our people
platform to spread some positivity around. Our tool helps people focus
on things that are going well in the workplace, as well as express
gratitude for each other.
That said, there’s a possibility that some are feeling COVID guilt — the
feeling that you’re somehow getting on well while others are
struggling. Or maybe
it’s the guilt of spending too much time working and not enough time
with family. That’s
normal too. There’s always going to be someone better off than you, and
someone not doing as well as you. Try and let go of it and forgive
Thrive through measuring and monitoring team culture
The key to surviving during lockdown is to check in with your teams — in
an empathetic, not overbearing way. Some of your people may be facing
new challenges this time around, so it’s important to be understanding
and give them space and time they need. You can also monitor wellness
levels with the weekly Friday Pulse survey to do it in a less intrusive
way. Above all, explicitly check in with your team.
Create a place of psychological safety
Psychological safety is a critical component to having a workplace that fosters
positive emotions and supports its employees. We must express
compassionate curiosity to understand different views and exercise
professional empathy to ask better questions and show empathy and
vulnerability to help our colleagues.
Healing and surviving the next wave of lockdowns
Undoubtedly, there are a lot of raw emotions right now that threaten to
spill over into the workplace. That’s okay. If we didn’t feel these
things, then we wouldn’t be human. But it’s also important to remember
the things we can control. We can watch out for each other. We can
check in on our teams and see how people are coping. We can be a friend
to those that need a listening ear.
Our people platform makes it easy to see how teams and leaders are
faring during lockdown. We’re continuing to offer free access to
companies and teams (50-1,000 employees) for 12 weeks. We are also soon launching a
new “start-up” version of our platform that will suit smaller teams. For
more information on how we can help and support your organization
through the pandemic, please reach out today.