Aussie tech unicorn Atlassian is sharing its in-house COVID-19 employee survey with the public, in a bid to help other businesses support their staff during the pandemic.
The tech giant has been using an internal survey tool to keep track of how its employees have been coping with remote work, and to better understand how it can support them at this time.
In a blog post, chief people officer Tami Rosen said the survey started out as a way to figure out whether they had suitable desks and office equipment. It quickly transpired that they did not, she says, so the company offered a $500 stipend for employees to create a decent workspace.
The team continued to send out a shorter survey as a “quick pulse check”, Rosen wrote.
Ten weeks down the line, the survey has evolved to focus more on employees’ wellbeing.
“Just about the time the logistical issues were in hand, our pulse-checks showed that loneliness was starting to take hold,” she said.
Now, the tech giant has shared its remote work survey, in a bid to help other businesses support their own newly-remote teams, “in the hopes that it can help you shape your own response strategy into one that is strong and flexible enough to get you through our current situation and any similar crises in the future”.
The survey includes questions about employees’ motivation since the office closure, about Atlassian’s response, and about their sense of belonging and to their team.
It also asks whether working from home has encouraged employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle, or made them feel more or less stressed.
The main point here, according to Rosen, is continued communication.
She said she “cannot overstate the importance” of reaching out to employees to see how they’re doing.
“If you haven’t yet solicited information from staff, start with a fairly comprehensive survey as we did initially,” Rosen suggests.
“Check in on whether they have an appropriate workspace and reliable internet access at home. Are they also caring for children? Parents? A family member who has fallen ill? These aren’t just logistical issues – they have a psychological impact, too.”
However, as the pandemic drags on, she notes it’s important to enquire specifically about their mental wellbeing, too.
“Employees’ health and well-being come first. Period,” Rosen writes.
“There’s been a lot of hand-wringing over the perceived choice between productivity and wellbeing, which is understandable when your company’s revenue is in free-fall.
“But this is a false dichotomy. If your staff is disengaged, it’s not because they are fundamentally lazy and can’t be trusted to work at home.
“The truth is, engagement is a natural by-product of wellbeing.”
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