Within a week, most professionals found themselves working from home.

That’s the story of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our work lives. Decisions made by our companies, governments, and medical professionals pushed us all into pseudo-social isolation—with communications technology and digital tools available as a single saving grace.

With so much of the world under lockdown, what digital tools are we relying on to stay in touch—and sane?

Communication networks show massive growth

Data from communications networks show stunning growth in the number of calls made during this time and the amount of bandwidth consumed, making up for the distance between us. As more of us are put under lockdown orders, the use of communication tools has grown in tandem.

Verizon saw a 20% increase in web traffic in a week as U.S. users started staying home in March, with April’s usage still trending 27% higher than usual; VPN usage is up 49%, video is up by 36%, and online gaming by 115%.

Trends in social media usage

If we’re talking about exponential increases in internet usage, it should go without saying that these growths are reflected in social media usage as well. Research conducted by the New York Times shows stark increases not only in Facebook usage but also in less traditional social media outlets, like Zoom and Houseparty.

The research shows that Americans who are closed in their homes use Netflix and YouTube for entertainment, but use social media to connect with their friends and family. Our social media usage has moved from mobile devices to computers, with bigger screens and better bandwidth.

How HiBob customers are using in-platform social-style posting

HiBob’s platform, used by tens of thousands of employees working from home and hundreds of companies around the world, is showing outstanding engagement of social media-style posts to keep employees engaged and the company culture alive.

The three most popular forms of posting among employees of companies using Bob, our people platform, are:

  • Shoutouts for announcements, news, fun, and welcomes
  • Kudos posts, that are the most engaging way to acknowledge work done and say thank you and 
  • Poll posts created by HR or teammates to see how people are doing or what they think needs to be done about various issues that come up.  

We have seen tremendous growth in the number of posts showing how important a tool they are to keep in touch and foster company culture. In addition, as social media etiquette has developed, not only are the posts themselves important, responses to them (reactions and comments) show that team members are interacting with the posts, and engaged with the content shared.

The following table demonstrates the unprecedented growth in the use of the social media-style workplace postings and the reactions to them on our platform.  

We compared the growth between Q4-2019 over Q3-2019 and then Q1-2020 over Q3-2019. Q1-2020 clearly reflects the massive WFH effect on the use of the posts.

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(data from HiBob’s HR Tech platform)

Q1-2020 has shown growth in the number of Shoutouts of 72% (over Q3-2019), 237% growth in Kudos posts, and 147% growth in Polls. Combining all three social media-style posts, we see an overall growth of 79%. On top of this, the reactions to those posts in the way of comments and emojis to them has increased by 133% for Shoutouts, 263% for Kudos posts, and 119% for Polls, with reactions growing overall at 141%.  

For much more information

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Scary times demand aggressive measures. Taking advantage of existing tech tools to facilitate communication and relationship-building can be the difference between loneliness and collaborative cohesion.

While government protocols (and common sense) may demand physical isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, employees can still feel connected to each other using HiBob’s HR technology. We’ve seen a marked, quantifiable increase in engagement and cohesion throughout these uncertain times, specifically in interactions between employees.

HR leaders, you can utilize the same tools and communication platforms as you worked within the office, you can stay in touch with everyone in the organization, top to bottom, exactly as before. Keeping your workflow as similar as possible to what came before in a time of crisis will have a ripple effect down to people managers and employees who are relying on you to share the news, keep in touch, and stay calm.

Zoe Haimovitch

From Zoe Haimovitch

Zoe is a passionate manager and leader. Together with her team, she builds our brand story. She loves to connect with people who are passionate about what they do, speak candidly, and are authentic and willing to work together.