Fresh Look on Impact
COVID-19 hit us hard. We all felt it. For some, it uprooted lives, for others, it resulted in more budgeting, and for some others, it just made life feel different. There’s no question that everyone has their own unique COVID story, but I want to break down the data. One may think that COVID’s impact didn’t differ from generation to generation, but it turns out that isn’t the case. The data shows that not all generations have suffered in the same way from COVID.
Millennials took the hardest hit from COVID according to the data. In fact, 39% of young millennials (ages 24-29), are planning to or already have moved back in with their parents. Millennials make up about 35% of the global workforce, so, when data comes out like, 57% of millennials feel that COVID derailed their plans for financial independence, or that 47% of millennials have been scaling back their spending in light of the pandemic, this has incremental impacts. While not as directly impacted with the economy, Gen X and Boomer generations have still suffered with financial insecurity during COVID, just at a lesser rate than millennials. 56% of Gen X and 37% of Boomers experienced financial insecurity during COVID, and 29% of all Americans plan on retiring later than expected by an average of 3.3 years. This inherently changes our workforce, the behaviors of our workforce, and overall morale – even more than ‘normal’.
In addition to financial instability as a result of COVID, millennials and the succeeding generation, Gen Zs, have been facing overall mental health changes due to the pandemic. In a study done with Age Wave and Edward Jones, 37% of Gen Z and 27% of millennials feel that COVID has negatively impacted their mental health. A recent CDC survey found that 41% of respondents are struggling with mental health problems stemming from the pandemic. Depression, loneliness, feeling disconnected, increased change/unknown…all affect our mental health and how we show up. With mental distress increasing across America and in, how does one balance these issues with their day-to-day work life?
Our Brain Needs Connection
Human beings are by designed social creatures. Even the most introverted of us! This means that we have hardwiring that looks for and wants to build connection – connection to ourselves, others, communication, and society. When these connections are missing or diminished, our brain translates this as a threat. A threat to our brain means “I’m putting you on alert…something needs attention or action”.
A threatened state does 3 things: 1) consumes more energy in use and 2) reduces ‘better’ thinking (problem solving, creativity, innovation) and 3) increases more negative emotions. In other words, it makes us tired, stuck, and feeling unhappy. Who wants that??
New Focus and Actions
These issues can lead to a decrease in productivity and job performance, disconnection from co-workers, and can negatively impact a person’s physical capabilities and daily functioning. With 69% of our workforce (35% Millennials and 29% Gen Z) experiencing these issues, we can’t afford to ignore it.
We can do something about this, and it can start with some really simple first steps. During this time especially, it’s important to open up conversations in new ways. Help build or rejuvenate connections. Try asking yourself these 3 questions:
1. How are you currently connecting with others?
2. Who might need a connection with you?
3. What is one simple action you can take today to improve connection with
yourself or someone else?
Take the action from the last question and put it into place within a few days. Then Repeat! – ask yourself these questions and then put 1 small action into place within a few days. It doesn’t take long or consume a lot of energy. Rather you will find that in short order you will develop a new habit that is forward moving and energy generating.
This isn’t meant to be a silver bullet to all that is going on. Rather just a starting point to help get things moving again in the right direction in terms of reconnecting and helping with the majority of our workforce.
If you would like additional help with employee morale or connection opportunities in the workforce, please don’t hesitate to contact us at www.thedisruptiveelement.com
Stay connected and healthy!