Michelle Stinson Ross on PR After Hours
In October 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 4.3 million Americans, or 2.9% of the entire workforce, had quit their jobs in August. That’s more than 10 percent of the previous record-breaking annual total in just one month. One reason many have expressed for resigning is a poor working environment. What if there was a scientifically-sound way to gauge employee satisfaction and address toxic workplace behavior?
In early 2021 Mindful Appy rolled out the first iteration of our Net Emotional Index system. Collecting feedback from a group of people by using a modern version of the experience sampling method was so novel that we needed to have people try it for themselves. We also hoped to prove that feedback in the form of emojis is both valid and valuable.
Asking conference session attendees to participate in the science we were presenting them provided a great opportunity to have people try experience sampling for themselves and gather meaningful feedback on the presentations Michelle Stinson Ross was giving to the Digital Summit audiences.
The truth is, we can tell when we’re stressed out. Some of us get irritable. Some of us grind our teeth or clench our back muscles. We eat junk food. We get headaches and have trouble focusing. It might seem like being stressed is counterproductive to taking care of work, and that’s because it is. Stress, and its symptoms, are merely the byproduct of a biological system our bodies created, and we grew out of long ago.
Even the very definition of emotional intelligence is not so easily agreed upon. Tina Shweiger recently discussed some of the more vexing issues of roping in a concept such as Emotional Intelligence.
Empathy is listening. It is actively listening, and reacting and not interrupting them or telling them what they should do. To be empathic, all you have to do is slow down, and take the time to focus on the speaker and engage with what they are saying. When the speaker feels comfortable enough to express how they are truly feeling without shame or judgment, then they truly feel like they are valued at their job.
According to the 2021 Mind the Workplace survey conducted by Mental Health America, 9 in 10 employees report that workplace stress affects their mental health. Unfortunately only 3 in 5 employees also feel like they are getting adequate support from their supervisors to manage workplace stress.
Workplace culture is as complicated and nuanced as each individual business. The realities of how culture is expressed in communication, power dynamics, and interpersonal behavior varies widely from team to team even within the same company. Picking apart the causes of stress and burnout requires much more data than most companies collect from their workforce.
Experience sampling, not surveys, can get to the heart of chronic stress and burnout and provide the feedback to effectively change workplace culture.
Working from home doesn’t have to be a horror movie. Sure the constant bombardment of home and work tasks may feel like the phone booth scene from The Birds, and the sheer isolation may make your house seem like the Overlook Hotel, but if we all just take some time for ourselves, and set some boundaries, we might just make it out of this alive.
The term “vulnerability” has taken on a negative connotation. We tend to think of vulnerability meaning impervious to attack, or easily capable of being hurt. Even as I am sitting down to write this, an ad is playing, attempting to scare/warn me that my computer is dangerously vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Oh no! But being vulnerable can be good.
When we think of intelligence, we tend to picture things like acing a math test or solving a Rubik’s cube – finding solutions to concrete problems. When it comes to identifying emotional intelligence, things can get messy. Emotions are…complicated. If mental intelligence is buttered noodles, emotional intelligence is a Spanish paella: there are dozens of ingredients and flavor combinations that it can easily become overwhelming. Just as we can experience multiple flavors, sometimes we feel multiple emotions at the same time.
Depression doesn’t always show blatant signs. Sometimes someone, even a close loved one, may be struggling right in front of us. They might hide their suffering, or not mention certain issues, because our society has attached a stigma to being open about certain feelings. But discussing mental health is the first step to seeking help; sometimes a conversation can save a life. And it starts by simply saying hello.