Work is the silver lining to the pandemic for employees

pandemicThe COVID-19 pandemic has brought anxiety to many, but people are positive about their work, claims a new survey from The Myers-Briggs Company, which looks at how people’s personality type influences their feelings about the pandemic.

The Myers-Briggs Company surveyed participants about their attitudes and concerns regarding the COVID-19 crisis, and also about their working lives, polling 546 people between May and September 2020. The survey claims that while people’s feelings about the pandemic were negative, when asked specific questions about their working lives, most participants gave more positive answers.

Respondents were worried about the bigger picture and about how COVID was affecting others, and though somewhat more stressed than usual, were generally positive about their jobs. This suggests that for many of those in work, their wider expectations about the pandemic may be more negative than their day-to-day lived experience.
Notably, remote workers tended to see their situation more positively than non-remote workers, who expressed more worries about their friends and family and their co-workers. Those who were unemployed or furloughed saw their situation more negatively still.

In a separate research project, The Myers-Briggs Company investigated the factors that promote wellbeing in the workplace. These vary to an extent depending on an individual’s personality type, but in general the activities that people can do at work to increase their wellbeing at include:

• Focusing on work tasks that interest them and which make them feel positive
• Undertaking work where they learn something new, or which adds to their skills and knowledge
• Taking breaks at work when needed

For those who enjoyed their job, working was in itself a major contributor to wellbeing.

John Hackston, Head of Thought Leadership at The Myers-Briggs Company, comments: “Combining the findings from both studies, the results of our research suggest that for many people, work can be the best medicine, with most individuals, even Extraverts, finding many aspects of home working enjoyable despite their wider concerns about the pandemic.

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“If individuals have at least some degree of autonomy to craft their jobs so that they can undertake work that fit their interests, and allow them to engage in learning, and if they can take breaks when you need to, then this can really help wellbeing.

“But here’s the catch; at the moment, these possibilities are much more likely to be open to middle-class professional workers than to others. Our society is already fractured into the haves and the have-nots. If that divide is not to grow larger still, then we need to find ways in which workers of all types can find meaning in their roles and craft their jobs to fulfil their needs. It will not be an easy task, but it may be essential for our future.”

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