It is often said that one cannot move forward until they look back. As we all begin to emerge out of the Covid-19 cocoon and figure out how to navigate whatever the new normal will be, it is helpful to understand just how the life-changing events of the last year have impacted our mindsets and wellbeing.
Avaya recently shared survey results of over 10,000 people from 11 countries to learn how the pandemic has affected their views, values, and welfare. The survey, conducted in November 2020, is called “Life and Work Beyond 2020: The Change Makers” and provides valuable insight into the changes brought upon by Covid-19. These results can be helpful to understand the perspectives of both employees and consumers and how businesses must reexamine their current models and learn what they must do to adapt to the changing dynamics of the present and future.
It isn’t much of a surprise that on the subject of happiness, many respondents (43%) reported that they are less happy than they were in 2019, while only 24% said they were happier, and 27% claimed they had no change in their emotional state. Those who reported a decrease in their overall happiness cited the stress of the pandemic, decreased interpersonal interaction, and financial concerns as the main reasons.
”If ever there were a litmus test for
how important real-world social
contract is to the human condition,
it was COVID-19. ”
“Zoom fatigue” certainly played a significant factor in emotional wellbeing. Over half of those surveyed said the loneliness of only contacting friends, family, and coworkers by video, phone, and social media had taken a toll on them. Still, even with the situation improving, there is a long way to go before many feel entirely comfortable returning to a pre-pandemic way of life. 51% of respondents claimed they are more risk-averse than ever before, and 58% are hesitant about traveling overseas, preferring to vacation in their own country.
The past year required all of us to look inward and assess the social values that are most important to us. According to those surveyed, honesty came in at number one (30%), followed by respect (28%). Other values many chose included optimism, courage, the ability to innovate, and endurance. While good humor, loyalty, compassion, reliability, a spirit of adventure, commitment, service to others, and open-mindedness emerged as additional values that have become vital in the last year.
Businesses had to quickly transition to a remote worker model once lockdowns went into effect, and it’s apparent the “work from anywhere model” or at least hybrid workforces are here to stay. Because workers can work from anywhere, many brick-and-mortar businesses have been left shuttered.
58% of those surveyed said they had the necessary tools and access to continue performing their jobs effectively while working remotely, and 46% felt that the “work from anywhere” model is viable. In addition, respondents reported an increase in productivity because they were happier with the flexibility remote working has provided, with six in ten claiming they would be eager to carry on as they have this year. 52% said they were apprehensive about returning to an office environment.
“Almost half (46%) of respondents
see the ‘work from anywhere’ model as a viable way
of working well into the future.“
While many embraced the idea of working from anywhere and even hoped to continue post-Covid, others struggled. One-third of respondents said it had created difficulties, mentioning their homes are not suited for working from home and want things to return to the way they used to be. Some (43%) stated that they had privacy concerns and were worried about being monitored by their employers. Additionally, 45% indicated they were anxious about the breakthroughs in AI technology and automation potentially impacting their jobs.
With many businesses adapting their practices around pandemic restrictions, customer experience has become more crucial than ever. A whopping 71% of the 10,000 individuals surveyed said that negative customer experience impacted their wellbeing. Though the statistic that 35% of respondents claimed to notice a positive shift in how brands engaged with them is encouraging, four-in-ten still say they feel no different.
As online shopping replaced in-person purchases, it is interesting to note that 41% of consumers preferred shopping via an app on a mobile device to a PC/Mac.
Customer loyalty is vital in building relationships and consumer retention. Over one-third of respondents said they would choose organizations and brands that demonstrate essential values to them.
2020 was a turning point in which life and work as we knew it changed forever. As devastating as it was, we cannot ignore its impact and need to recognize the lessons learned to pave a positive path forward. In the future, organizations must consider these concerns, shifting viewpoints, and changing expectations of both their consumers and employees.
You can read the entire Life and Work Beyond 2020: The Change Makers report here.