Happiness key to performance of employees during lockdown

HR must understand the happiness of its employees if they are going to perform effectively through COVID-19.

Data from the The Happiness Index shows employees are less happy than usual since lockdown began.

Matt Phelan, co-founder at The Happiness Index, said: “The more data we look at the more we see that happiness drives performance and not the other way round.

“Your employees may say they are okay at the moment but that’s not backed up by the anonymous data that has seen a huge drop since the lockdown in employee feeling from 7.6 to 5.8 on a scale of 1-10.”

The company’s Employee Voice 24/7 service, which has been free for the last month, asks employees to anonymously rate how they are feeling today on a scale from one (terrible) to 10 (terrific).

The average score has dropped has been on a downward trend since 23 March when the lockdown began.

Only around four in 10 (40.4%) of employees gave a favourable score of seven or above, while 59.6% scored between 1 and 6.

Yet Phelan said the lockdown was making employees communicate more. “We have also seen the amount of feedback trebling. Remember that communications is a two-way street and you need to be communicating more, not less.

“Our continued advice is for senior leadership and HR professionals to not pull up the drawbridge.”

Despite employees being less happy than usual, their comments contained mostly positive (43.2%) or neutral (40.1%) sentiment, rather than negative (16.7%), Employee Voice 24/7 reported.

According to the data, work is the dominant positive in people’s lives at the moment, with many feeling grateful for remaining employed, for being supported by their employers, and for being able to contribute towards their organisation’s future.

Some respondents also saw lockdown as contributing towards a better work-life balance as it means they get to spend more time with their family and less time commuting, and can pursue personal interests and exercise more.

There was also evidence of employees struggling to adapt to being on furlough or remote working.

Respondents noted missing their colleagues and the work environment, and key workers commented on the challenges of going into work during the lockdown.

Numerous comments mentioned anxiety, stress, and uncertainty.

The difficulties of home-schooling and caring responsibilities while working also emerged as a theme, and respondents also commented on missing their families and worrying for the health of their families.

So far more than 100 companies have signed up to Employee Voice 24/7, giving more than a million employees a voice and providing leadership teams with real-time data.