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Employee Happiness Data During The Pandemic – How Did Employees Feel In Lockdown?

We all know 2020 was a turbulent period for most of us, a time of unknowing and unsettlement in the worldwide Covid 19 pandemic. This was when the world of work changed forever. Check out the employee happiness insight and data from our Employee Voice survey during lockdown 2020, for people either on furlough or working.

Employee happiness data during the 2020 pandemic lockdown.

Latest Data & Themes from Employee Voice 24/7 on employee happiness during Covid-19 lockdown.

We’ve been offering our Employee Voice service on a complimentary basis for a month now. So, what does the data show about how employees are feeling during lockdown?

No Sh!t Sherlock! Employee Happiness During The Pandemic is Down

We’re asking employees “How are you feeling today?”. They simply score 1-10 (from pretty terrible to terrific), and then tell us why. Whether they’re working, or on furlough, employees can answer anonymously, whenever and with as much detail as they wish.

Unsurprisingly, the average employee happiness score is well down to 5.8 from our normal average of 7.6 (and has been on a downward trend since 23rd March lockdown period began). Looking at the scores in more detail, the picture is more nuanced with 4 in 10 employees (40.4%) giving a favourable score (of 7 or above) and 6 in ten (59.6%) scoring 1-6.

Increased Desire to Share Feelings

The pandemic has increased the desire amongst employees to share the detail on how they are feeling. 8 in 10 employees (80.8%) have left comments, more than double the normal average.

Sentiment is Overwhelmingly Positive or Neutral

Breaking down the sentiment of the comments gives us more insight into what people are really experiencing in their day-to-day lives. 4 in 10 comments (43.2%) contain positive or neutral sentiment (40.1%) and less than 2 in 10 (16.7%) contain negative sentiment.

In addition, the average magnitude of sentiment is far higher than normal, driven by the amount of emotional language being used by employees to detail their feelings.

What Are The Emergent Themes?

By analysing and visualising this rich data in dashboards, we’re able to help employers understand how to drive their internal communications.

Positive Emergent Themes

1. Work is the dominant positive in many people’s lives at the moment. They’re grateful:

  • to remain employed

  • for the support their employer is providing them

  • that they can contribute towards their organisation’s ongoing future.  

2. There’s a recognition from many that lockdown is contributing towards a better work-life balance as:

  • they get to spend more time with their family

  • less time commuting

  • can pursue personal interests and exercise more

3. In the last week we’ve seen a very strong theme emerge around the positive impact of the sunny weather on the UK’s experienced on people’s mood.

Negative Emergent Themes

1. Unsurprisingly work is also a strong negative theme particularly for those:

  • struggling to adapt to working remotely

  • on furlough

  • missing colleagues and the work environment

  • key workers still going into their workplace during lockdown

2. There’s a clear need for employers to communicate how they can support the wellbeing of their people, with a high incidence of comments mentioning 

  • anxiety

  • stress

  • uncertainty

3. Finally, we’ve also seen family emerge as a negative theme, with comments highlighting:

  • the difficulties of home-schooling/caring responsibilities whilst working

  • those missing seeing their families

  • worrying for the health of their families

How Did Our Customers Used Employee Voice Survey?

During the first lockdown we had over +100 companies sign up for complimentary use of our Employee Voice survey.

Employees were able to feedback in real-time about how they were feeling due to the pandemic making it easier for leadership, HR and People teams to pinpoint emerging themes within the business and react accordingly.

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Caroline O'Keeffe

"Rafael Nadal, being by the sea and funk music all make Caroline happy."


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