How 2020 will be remem­bered is large­ly going to be shaped by the pan­dem­ic, both for larg­er soci­ety and the work­place. There is no indus­try that hasn’t been impact­ed by COVID-19 and thus, no seg­ment of the work­force that hasn’t felt its impact.

We can see this play­ing out in the data we col­lect. Per­haps more than any oth­er cri­sis before it, data is telling its own sto­ry around COVID-19. A fair amount of this data comes straight to our inbox and we reg­u­lar­ly review it.

Shar­ing is car­ing as they say, so with that in mind, here are some of the lat­est work­force sur­veys that have caught our atten­tion and sta­tis­tics that may help you under­stand and address the issues with­in your own organization.

Less Screen Time = Better Health

The folks over at Aet­na Inter­na­tion­al recent­ly sur­veyed 4,000 employ­ees at mid-to-large size busi­ness­es in the U.K., U.S., UAE and Sin­ga­pore about their rela­tion­ship with work­place tech­nol­o­gy and what effect it had on them. While the major­i­ty of respon­dents say that tech­nol­o­gy makes them more effec­tive at their jobs and at man­ag­ing time, par­tic­u­lar­ly at a time where remote work is so com­mon, there was a cost asso­ci­at­ed with their health.

Employ­ees feel that sit­ting at their com­put­er for long dura­tions have hin­dered their phys­i­cal health with 70% of those sur­veyed agree­ing that they would exer­cise more if they spent less time at their computer.

Addi­tion­al­ly, 76% of employ­ees feel that reduced or restrict­ed out of hours tech­nol­o­gy use would help them man­age their phys­i­cal health bet­ter if pro­vid­ed by their employ­er. Many find them­selves check­ing their emails and Slack or Teams accounts when they nor­mal­ly wouldn’t.

The impact goes beyond the phys­i­cal, how­ev­er. The major­i­ty of employ­ees from around the world agreed that the overuse of tech­nol­o­gy in the work­place has had neg­a­tive effects on their men­tal health, with 75% agree­ing that restrict­ing the use of screen time dur­ing the work­day would help them to bet­ter man­age their men­tal health. More than half, 56%, said that the overuse of com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­forms and inter­nal emails increas­es their stress levels.


Recent sur­veys from JDP asked 2,000 U.S. employ­ees a range of ques­tions about work­ing from home dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. Among the most unan­i­mous respons­es was cen­tered on trust, with 92% of respon­dents say­ing they believe their boss­es trust­ed them. Addi­tion­al­ly, 86% say they feel they have tak­en advan­tage of the increased free­dom work from home provides.

More than three quar­ters of respon­dents say they are work­ing dif­fer­ent hours and two-thirds say they are more like­ly to work on the week­end now. Dif­fer­ent hours didn’t trans­late to more hours, how­ev­er, with only 33% of respon­dents say­ing they were work­ing more.

Whose Been Hit Hardest?

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics has shown the top careers to be most affect­ed by COVID-19 and it’s a list that won’t sur­prise you. Retail, hos­pi­tal­i­ty, the per­form­ing arts, den­tal office staff and film and TV pro­duc­tion crews have tak­en the biggest hit. Air trans­porta­tion and real estate offices also had notable losses.

The news isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly a death sen­tence for the career of peo­ple work­ing in those indus­tries though. The fact is, many of them have soft skills that are becom­ing more impor­tant in a work­force that is tak­ing on a human focus. The folks over at online resume builder Zety per­formed an analy­sis of more than 130 thou­sand resumes cre­at­ed between 2017 and 2019 to find which alter­na­tive career paths were most pop­u­lar amongst peo­ple who held jobs in indus­tries that are now struggling.

By com­par­ing the soft skills many in those indus­tries list­ed on their resumes to the soft skills need­ed in oth­er posi­tions, they came up with a list of alter­na­tives that might just help some peo­ple get back on their feet. You can see the full list on the Zety blog.

The Visibility of Productivity

Every­one wants their employ­er to know that they’re using this time at home to get work done and broad­ly speak­ing, it has shown as data sug­gests peo­ple have been more pro­duc­tive in remote work set­tings. But, accord­ing to recent sur­veys from Pro­doscore, employ­ees are even more open to the idea of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty mon­i­tor­ing than you might expect.

The com­pa­ny com­mis­sioned the research to put fresh num­bers to trends they had been notic­ing for a few years as work from home arrange­ments gained trac­tion and that were recent­ly ampli­fied in the wake of COVID-19. Pri­or to the pan­dem­ic, around 61% of the sur­vey par­tic­i­pants worked from home at least part time. Now that num­ber has increased to 77%.

A byprod­uct of this is an increase in the desire to show and see pro­duc­tiv­i­ty by both employ­ees and employ­ers. For employ­ees, the moti­va­tion was clear. They want the mon­i­tor­ing so they can struc­ture their day in ways that have proven to be effec­tive, show­case their effi­cien­cy and have their efforts rec­og­nized. In all, only 10% of respon­dents said they didn’t like the idea.

The sur­vey was con­duct­ed in July 2020 in part­ner­ship with Pro­peller Insights. It polled 1,000 U.S.-based work­ers across diverse indus­tries and includ­ed a mix of micro, SMB and enter­prise busi­ness­es. Most respon­dents were white-col­lar work­ers (79%).

The Need for People Data and Performance Communication

At a time where we talk a great deal about employ­ee engage­ment and expe­ri­ence, ask­ing the ques­tion what employ­ees want can trig­ger a wide vari­ety of respons­es. A recent sur­vey from Reflek­tive sought to answer that ques­tion and arrived at some con­clu­sions that you prob­a­bly already suspect.

The sur­vey was com­plet­ed by 445 HR pro­fes­sion­als and busi­ness lead­ers and 622 employ­ees. Inter­est­ing­ly, employ­ees indi­cat­ed that they need more coach­ing and want more recog­ni­tion from their managers.

From HR and busi­ness lead­ers, there’s a great deal of inter­est in employ­ee pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. HR lead­ers indi­cat­ed that they are invest­ed in mea­sur­ing the health of their per­for­mance man­age­ment prac­tices, which will be music to employ­ees ears as it could lead to more of that coach­ing they seek.

Peo­ple data is a big area of inter­est as 60% of lead­ers agree that peo­ple ana­lyt­ics efforts are more impor­tant to them now than a year ago. Near­ly three quar­ters of those respon­dents believe that they have a firm grasp of why peo­ple leave, but only 50% of them are using ana­lyt­ics to pre­dict employ­ee per­for­mance and turnover.

Employ­ees also expressed frus­tra­tion with how to acquire feed­back. One-in-four say they don’t know how to request feed­back and 30% say they don’t feel empow­ered to ini­ti­ate those conversations.

“When tools aren’t used reg­u­lar­ly, employ­ees may for­get what’s at their fin­ger­tips,” Rachel Ernst, CHRO at Reflek­tive said. “On a quar­ter­ly basis, com­mu­ni­cate the process for request­ing feed­back. Addi­tion­al­ly, when man­agers reg­u­lar­ly ask for feed­back, employ­ees will start mir­ror­ing this behav­ior as well.”

Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on HR Exchange Network