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Short, clear soundbites best for allaying rising levels of anxiety and stress

Fears over job security due to corona virus are causing heightened levels of anxiety, stress and distraction for 61% of UK workers, according employee engagement survey experts Inpulse.

In engagement surveys for clients, Inpulse asks employees to choose their two most dominant feelings at work from committed, stressed, focused, valued, curious, anxious, distracted, indifferent and enthusiastic.

In previous surveys, ‘committed’ represented 21% of all emotions chosen. However, in a survey conducted in March, after corona virus had caused event cancellations and a reduction in face to face meetings, but before the lockdown and social distancing, this had fallen to 14%. Just 7% selected ‘focused’ as a top emotion.

At the same time, negative feelings have become more dominant, with ‘anxious’ up to 28% (from 5%), ‘distracted’ up to 22% (from less than 1%) and ‘stressed’ up to 11% (from 5%).

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. People are consumed by the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic – and it’s massively impacting their work.”

Inpulse says it is important for leaders and managers to stay in regular communication with staff at this time. Senior leaders should provide clear communications about the short-term future of the business, while line managers should provide short, focused objectives for staff and set clear expectations to help teams stay focused and avoid being distracted.

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