Atlassian has been using an internal survey to find out how its employees have been handling working from home during the pandemic.
Chief People Officer Tami Rosen explained the importance of using surveys to find out what workers need and how business leaders can support them.
Atlassian has released its survey, including what questions it used and how they responded, to the public.
Software giant Atlassian has been using an internal survey tool to help determine how employees have been feeling as they work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. The survey has helped the company see what its workers need and what it can do to support them.
Atlassian's employees have been working from home since March as a result of the pandemic. Chief People Officer Tami Rosen told Business Insider Australia its survey initially looked at how employees were ready set up working from home.
"In the beginning, it was really more about understanding how people are set up," she said. "Can they work from home? Are they set up to do that with the equipment, with their desks – anything that would make them physically able to be successful at home? And we learned quickly that they weren't."
As a result, Atlassian elected to assist workers with a stipend it provided so that they could set up their work from home spaces.
Now the survey has evolved to learn the trends of how people are feeling about working from home.
"We're starting to see something more recently around people having concerns about loneliness and connectivity and how they're feeling personally and that's gotten us thinking a lot about what we can do to support our employees," she said. "A lot of things that we're thinking about right now -[are about] making sure that we can support them."
That support could be through connectivity or making sure managers are doing one to one meetings and seeing how individual employees are feeling. Atlassian is also going to be launching Resiliency Week in May which is focussed on issues including mental health, mindfulness and social support.
Atlassian will open its survey and responses for other companies to use
Rosen said the company will be sharing its survey, including some of the questions it asked and the initiatives the company used to respond to workers, for other companies to use.
"Like anything else we do at Atlassian we spend a lot of time making sure we can share our journey with others," she said.
One of those actions Atlassian took in response to a survey was creating a 'Walk This Way' challenge which encouraged employees to take a break from their desks now that they work from home.
"We quickly learned in our survey that now people were set up at home, they weren't leaving their desks," she said. "In a normal office, you'd walk around, you go to a kitchen, you go down and you have lunch with somebody or you take a walk. And we were noticing people were feeling very stuck."
The challenge involved teams of four from around the world challenged to get between 10-15,000 steps a day. "We had a competition and we had over 400 teams compete over a four week period of time," Rosen added.
Communication is the most important thing
During a crisis, Rosen said the most important thing a company can do is communicate to its workers.
"One of the things I've learned in my career – and I've worked through 9/11, I've worked through the Great Recession at Goldman Sachs among other companies – is that communication is the most important thing in a crisis," she said. "Employees need to know what you know when you know it," she said. "And taking their best interest at heart is first and foremost."
This, she encouraged business leaders to use surveys to find out what their employees need.
"Use surveys, find different places to ask your employees what they need and be quick to share that feedback," she said.
"And then also give employees lots of different opportunities for them to share their concerns, whether it is a survey or a Q&A ... so that you're hearing their needs and you can respond to them. That to me is the most important, keeping that two-way dialogue because it builds trust and it gives them confidence that they can do the work they need to do and that you're supporting them."
As the pandemic rolls on, Atlassian is giving workers the option of returning to an office that is safe and open if they want to in January.
"We want people that feel they have that option to make the choices they need to make if we open an office," she said. "So we aren't rushing back. We're taking the opportunity to provide the flexibility and ensure people have the tools they need to continue to work where they need to work."
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