In crisis, companies need to take care of their employees

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4 min read

During the pandemic, many companies and organizations needed to switch gears to keep their business going. However, a company in "panic mode" can easily overwhelm employees which hurts the overall well-being and decreases producitivity. 

Tl; dr: Too much freedom during a crisis can hurt your employee's moral and well-being, especially in companies that usually work with strong hierarchies. Additionally, main goals and priorities need to be clear, to not get overwhelmed by too many small tasks. 


1. The pandemic affects everyone differently

2. 5 tips to create a better work culture during a crisis

As part of Covid-19, Gartner surveyed more than 20,000 employees worldwide to analyze the impact of the pandemic on mental and physical health. As a result, best practices were identified to support employees in times of change.

The original article can be read here.

The pandemic affects everyone differently

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As a result, the pandemic negatively impacted more than half of all employees surveyed. However, Gartner points out that averages can be deceptive, as there were also employees who would have developed positively as a result of the change in working conditions (e.g. home office).

It was not necessarily always those employees who had already experienced health problems before the pandemic who were negatively affected. Average statements sugarcoat the picture, Gartner says, and prevent companies from identifying exactly who was negatively impacted, why and how, as well as who was positively impacted by the changes.

Overall, 85 % of all respondents have perceived higher levels of burnout and 40 % have perceived a worsening of their work-life balance. This may be due in part to the fact that many leisure activities were restricted by lockdown and other rules.

5 tips to create a better work culture during a crisis

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As part of the study, Gartner identified key measures that make or break a healthy work culture during a crisis. 

Individual purpose is more important than corporate vision

Gartner found that a focus on corporate culture and overall purpose has less positive impact on employee (mental) health than assumed. Rather, the individual impact on the company's success should be emphasized. If employees see how their work has a direct positive impact on the company and society, this increases the probability of general health at work by 26 %.

Incidentally, this is also important outside of crisis situations to motivate employees in the long term.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Especially the cooperation in small teams should be protected and supported even in crisis situations. During the pandemic, 51 % of all work teams were disrupted in one way or another. Teams that were able to continue working closely together were more likely to be "healthy" than teams that lost contact with each other as a result of the pandemic. Accordingly, it is imperative to focus on strengthening the work of closely collaborating teams through alternative processes and technologies, even when the external conditions of collaboration change.

More autonomy can hurt

Gartner found that the increase in autonomy for individual employees was not positive in all cases. Especially in companies where little autonomy was decided before the pandemic, a sudden shift to more self-determination could also increase stress. For example, it was often unclear what had to be decided autonomously and what still had to be approved by superiors.

Implement frameworks for more autonomy

If you want to promote more self-determination among employees, you should not introduce this overnight, but gradually and with clear guidelines to avoid uncertainty. This may sound contradictory at first, but it makes sense theoretically and psychologically.

If employees are aware of what the goal of their work is, for example, they are more likely to make decisions that are conducive to this goal. At the same time, it must be clear when superiors need to be involved in decisions. A set of rules helps to make decisions and prevents uncertainties that end up unnecessarily delaying processes and tying up resources.

Minimize low-priority tasks

Especially in stressful situations, a high workload is negative for the health of employees as well as productivity in the company. Supervisors must be able to empathically respond to the needs of their employees and minimize low-priority tasks. This puts the focus on the important tasks, the fulfillment of which is additionally more valuable for the company as well as the employees.

At DIGITALL, we strive for a healthy company and work culture for our employees. Learn more about our values and see what else shapes our mission and vision. 

Our DIGITALL culture

by Juliane Waack

Juliane Waack is Editor in Chief at DIGITALL and writes about the digital transformation, megatrends and why a healthy culture is essential for a successful business.

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