341 people recently completed our Lockdown Productivity Scale (LPS) and the results were overwhelmingly positive.
Trying to make sense of this positive result was difficult – the expectation was for people to admit that they are struggling, that they are feeling demotivated and lonely, and that they are not coping with the distractions brought on by trying to precariously create a balance between home and work responsibilities. The results do not support this premise.
It is clear that most respondents feel able to flourish during this time, getting more done whilst working at home, whilst at the same time keeping their spirits up and finding meaning in their day-to-day life. In all 4 categories, Self, Others, Infrastructure and Work, the results were very positive, with more than 70 % of respondents feeling that they are coping well with the challenges posed by the lockdown.
See my previous article providing a breakdown of the what the categories focus on here.
Dr Ella van Hoof, in an article on the World Economic Forum website (9 April 2020) refers to the fact that the lockdown is the world’s biggest psychological experiment. The article refers to 24 studies done by The Lancet in February 2020 that outlines the psychological impact of quarantine and how it leads to a wide range of symptoms of psychological stress and disorder, including instability in mood, insomnia, anxiety, irritability and emotional exhaustion, amongst others.
Why then, in our survey did the results not confirm the findings of these studies?
Could it be that our respondents belong to a new emerging group, called the digital elite?
Dr Morne Mostert, Director of the Institute of Futures Research at Stellenbosch University, in an article on Fin24 on 5 April 2020 writes:
“With drastic isolation, a new digital elite may emerge which has had unlimited internet access. During this time, the digital elite will have maintained and grown their professional networks, reinvented their supply chains, managed their finances, and educated themselves and their families. All while the data-disadvantaged have languished in intensified exclusion.”
In fact, when looking closely at the results, 92 % of the respondents indicated that they have reliable and fast internet at home. It is possible that this resource, including the way in which organisations can facilitate working from home through various digital platforms, shield people from the true impact of lockdown. It allows them to work, to socialise, even to learn new skills whilst other less fortunate people are worrying about meeting the most basic of needs. Less than 4 % of the respondents seemed to be finding it difficult to maintain their motivation and good spirit, which correlates well with the 3,6 % of
people who indicated that they do not have reliable internet access at home.
This seems to support the idea of a digital elite and how, through having access to digital resources, we can merely continue our lives, this time, just on the web.
Another possibility, balancing this finding is that respondents may have been in the honeymoon phase of responding to a disaster. According to this model, developed by Beverly Raphael in 1986, people experience a honeymoon phase before becoming disillusioned as they learn how to cope with a disaster.
One way to test if this was true is to encourage respondents to complete the survey again and to compare the scores, a couple of weeks apart. If you are interested in comparing your scores, click on the link below to complete the survey again and let us know how your score has changed.
*The term, digital elite, refers to those people with reliable, fast and unlimited internet access.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wea Van Heerden is the co-founder of The Assessment Toolbox. We offer HR consulting services, psychometric assessments and bespoke design competency-based simulation tools. Our approach focuses on a clear understanding of the business context, structure and roles, to deliver the tools that will achieve the best fit for the organisation and its people.