Six in 10 staff feeling anxious, stressed or distracted, fuelled by coronavirus worries

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Six in 10 employees currently feel anxious, distracted or stressed, mainly because of fears around how the coronavirus pandemic will affect their job security.

This is according to a poll by employee engagement survey experts Inpulse, which reported a shift in the overriding employee sentiment, with “negative” emotions becoming more dominant than positive feelings.

Sadly, people are now consumed by the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic – and it’s massively impacting their work. This is a catastrophic shift in the emotional landscape of the workplace, and it’s only happened in a matter of days.” – Matt Stephens, Inpulse

Of the 120 people polled between 13 and 17 March, 28% said they felt anxious, 22% were distracted and 11% stressed. Until this point, “committed” represented 21% of all emotions chosen in engagement surveys undertaken by Inpulse clients in 2020 – now just 14% of employees feel committed.

Matt Stephens, CEO of Inpulse, said: “We have never seen these levels of anxiety and stress in ‘normal’ times, it is unprecedented and shows the impact Covid-19 has had on employees’ wellbeing. We typically see high levels of commitment and enthusiasm around employee jobs and their organisations.

“Sadly, people are now consumed by the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic – and it’s massively impacting their work. This is a catastrophic shift in the emotional landscape of the workplace, and it’s only happened in a matter of days.

“Through the survey, they’ve told us they are anxious about job security. One said, enlighteningly, that they are stressed about having to choose between being committed to their work or being safe. On top of this some are consumed by their concerns, media updates and government announcements. Others are concerned by poor communications from their employer.”

More positively, 76% of employees said they had confidence in business leaders’ ability to make the right decisions during these uncertain times.

Inpulse said it was important that organisations understood how their staff were feeling and remained in regular contact with employees who were working from home or self-isolating.

Meanwhile, a separate survey by jobs board CV-Library has found 87.9% of workers feel their employer could do more to improve morale. The survey of 2,300 UK professionals also found that being happy is the most important aspect of a job for employees, as stated by 61.7%.

CEO and founder Lee Biggins said: “It’s incredibly important for employees to feel happy at work, not only for their personal wellbeing, but also for your business output. Long-term unhappiness simply isn’t sustainable or healthy for the mental health of your employees and it can impact their productivity and efficiency.

“So, if you think you’re doing all you can to keep your staff happy, you may want to think again. You can improve morale across the whole workforce by scheduling in regular check-ups and meetings, offering the right perks and encouraging a healthy work-life balance. You want to create a company culture that everyone, yourself included, wants to be a part of.”

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