What are positive aspects

Positive pandemic effects: Corona strengthens cohesion in medium-sized companies

(16.09.20) The corona virus posed major challenges for most companies. But in addition to the expected negative effects such as lower sales, hygiene requirements or uncertainty, the companies also see positive pandemic effects. This is shown by a nationwide survey by the "Produkt + Markt" institute among 500 medium-sized companies (ten to 250 employees), which was carried out on behalf of the AOK Federal Association in July / August.

Overall, 65 percent of the companies state that they have had positive experiences. With a clear margin, the respondents named better cohesion and greater solidarity in the company as good aspects during the Corona crisis. 37 percent of the 325 employers with positive experiences mentioned these aspects of their own accord. When asked specifically, 51 percent confirmed that the increased cohesion among the employees was experienced positively. 45 percent said that trust between management and the workforce has increased.

Other positive experiences that were described by the employer are a high level of understanding and a high degree of gratitude on the part of customers (19 percent) towards the company. In addition, the motivation of the employees was higher despite the challenges of the Corona crisis (18 percent).

At the same time - this is also shown by the AOK survey - 66 percent of employers struggled with negative experiences. Of these, around every seventh employer reports lower sales, orders or bookings. These employers also see a lack of understanding on the part of customers and the complex implementation of hygiene measures as problematic. In addition, there is the insecurity caused by the corona.

Parallel Forsa survey: employees have an even more positive attitude

Furthermore, in a Forsa survey on behalf of the AOK, more than 1,000 employees were asked about the pandemic-related developments in their working worlds and the resulting expectations. Among employees, 77 percent point to positive developments in working life. They most often name flexible work in the home office. Almost half of the employees surveyed have worked from home in the past few weeks. These employees can gain positive aspects from the Corona crisis much more frequently than employees who do not have the option of working from home. The only shortcoming of working in your own four walls: Around one in four (23 percent) had difficulties separating work and leisure time in the home office.

Employers who have relied on home office are also convinced: 14 percent of these employers are of the opinion that work in the home office is more productive than work in the office and 20 percent of employers who have increasingly used home office plan to do so in the future to do.

In some of the respondents, the pandemic also triggered a rethinking of lifestyle issues: 35 percent of employees now want to incorporate sport and exercise more intensively into their everyday lives, one in four (27 percent) wants to eat healthier and more consciously. But the pandemic is not only causing a change in attitudes among employees when it comes to health issues. More than half of the medium-sized companies surveyed (54 percent) also stated that the health of their employees has moved more into focus. And almost every third company (31 percent) wants to give corporate health promotion a higher priority in the future.

"I am impressed by how openly and flexibly both companies and employees deal with the pandemic and its challenges. There are lasting aha experiences and the will to learn from the crisis," explains Martin Litsch, Chairman of the AOK Association. From the point of view of the health insurance company, it is particularly important that the subject of health moves up on the company's priority list. "I see a huge opportunity to expand and deepen corporate health management," said Litsch.

In fact, the companies are likely to break open doors with the employees with the plan to expand their own commitment to health. According to the Forsa survey, 85 percent of employees would like their employer to promote health in the company even more. AOK board member Litsch: "Small and medium-sized companies in particular will probably not always be able to do this from scratch. That is why we are launching a wide range of measures to attract employers and employees as part of our new online campaign 'Working together - by far the best' To continue to be a reliable partner even in times of pandemics. "

The focus of the AOK initiative "Working together - by far the best" are new offers in the field of workplace health promotion in the form of online seminars, podcasts and best practice examples.

(Press release of the AOK Federal Association from September 16, 2020)