People are fantastic. Why we shouldn’t be surprised that people are doing better than we think. They’re human after all.

Humans, homo sapiens, probably emerged around two to three hundred thousand years ago. Yet here we are, in 2020, and we still have an infinite capacity to surprise ourselves.

Our latest review of employee feedback (collected on a continual and anonymous basis through OfficeVibe) contains some encouraging, even surprising, findings.

Especially compared to two months ago, 25th February, the day after four British nationals were repatriated from a cruise ship moored off the coast of Japan after testing positive for Covid-19, increased cases in the UK to 13.

Since then, Recognition is up and Relationships with managers have improved. Lockdown has meant that managers have revisited their catch-up arrangements and redoubled their efforts to ensure that physical distance doesn’t mean losing touch with the people who make up their teams.

Peer relationships have been maintained at the same level – despite the shift to everybody working from home that began for us on Wednesday 17th March. Conscious effort has gone into this, with members of the team visiting virtual pubs, men and women arranging quizzes and challenges and setting up a channel to share good news and funny stories. And when one of our team-mates was ill, fellow employees baked bread and dropped off care packages on their doorstep.

The same is true of Personal growth – people have continued to learn and develop – so it’s about managers still coaching, sticking to their one to ones, and working together on development plans and individual progress.

Alignment and Ambassadorship are steady too – the shared values that define the agency have also defined how this crisis has played out for the team, how we have all responded to it and how that has been communicated. Anecdotally, some people have said they are pleased with the way the crisis has been handled internally, and that we’re communicating well with them (so far).

Most strikingly however, Satisfaction and Happiness have both increased. How did that happen? Satisfaction is up? Happiness is up? Really? Who would have guessed that people could be more satisfied during lockdown, happier even? That’s not to say though that scores for these metrics won’t plummet soon, as lockdown drags on.

And yet. Despite five weeks at home, the scramble to hurriedly create an office in the attic, to master access to the server, learn how to use Zoom and Teams and establish intense and interdependent yet remote working relationships with colleagues.

Despite the need to juggle bored children and barking dogs, parents bringing endless cups of tea, and partners who pay no heed to the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door. Despite all that and despite everything else, some people not only endure, they thrive.

The wonderful, wonderful humans of On Agency.


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