Small businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. We're sharing a survey tracking small business sentiment during the pandemic, a study on worker well-being, and some helpful advice for companies looking to keep up productivity while working from home.
A new series of surveys by McKinsey will monitor small business owners' thoughts and concerns around COVID-19. Initial data collected between March 26 and April 2 shows that optimism is declining as the pandemic continues, with just 30% feeling positively about the economy compared to 60% before the start of COVID-19.
Businesses with the most extreme concerns about sustainability include information and cultural services, accommodation and food services, retail trade, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and real estate, rental, and leasing. Of small and medium-size businesses, 50% reported they had already laid off employees, a percentage that has no doubt increased in the weeks since the survey took place.
The study shows many employed during the coronavirus pandemic have experienced worsening well-being. Findings include:
- 51% of employees reported worse mental well-being
- 54% reported worse social well-being
- 40% percent feel less productive at work
- 27% report declining physical health
- 57% of female respondents were more likely to report a negative impact on their mental health compared to 44% of males
When it comes to keeping up morale and productivity, one of the worst expectations leadership can have is that working from home means employees are available 24/7. Studies show that the longer people work throughout the day, the more mistakes they make and the more their judgement becomes impaired. Prolonged overwork leads to burnout, which may take months or even years to overcome. The stress of overworking can also lead to health issues including poor sleep, depression, diabetes, and more.
To set appropriate boundaries and help employees be as productive as they can be during this time, managers are encouraged to consider the following ideas:
- Set an example of appropriate behavior by only responding to or sending emails during working hours.
- Establish clear expectations about everyone's schedules. Clear separation of working vs. personal time can help employees focus on work during that time and avoid distractions.