CSIRO’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has received strong support from staff, according to a survey conducted in April.
More than 2,000 staff and affiliates took part in the April Pulse survey, which recorded very positive numbers measuring confidence in a range of questions covering the CSIRO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CSIRO Executive and the Staff Association started meeting midway through March to discuss the organisation’s coronavirus response; with an early focus on providing clear advice on working from home arrangements and COVID-specific leave provisions.
93 per cent of respondents agreed that they had tools and resources needed to work productively from home for an extended period of time.
The connection between colleagues remains strong, with 82 per cent reporting no decline in the ability to stay in touch despite working remotely.
For those respondents continuing to work on site – either full time or occasionally as part of a working from home arrangement – 96 per cent said that all possible measures to ensure a safe work environment were in place.
82 per cent reported feeling well-connected to other team members and nearly three quarters (74 per cent) said they thought most colleagues were able to cope with any the stress related to the coronavirus. 86 per cent of respondents reported the ability to balance both work and personal responsibilities.
However, the results reveal real concern among sections of the CSIRO workforce on the direct and indirect impact of the coronavirus. More than a third (35 per cent) of respondents reported feeling anxious or worried about coronavirus to a medium or large extent; and 28 per cent stated that the pandemic was proving a distraction from work.
These concerns do not translate to the material wellbeing of CSIRO employees; 81 per cent of respondents did not report experiencing new financial concerns due to the coronavirus.
90 per cent of participants are satisfied with the level of support from team colleagues and line managers.
CSIRO communications got a big tick of approval; 95 per cent rated communications aimed at keeping staff informed as excellent.
92 per cent of respondents said they understood what support – including leave provisions – were available during the health crisis.
Satisfaction with the quality of the coronavirus response seems to have translated into a boost in confidence levels for management and senior leaders, with 87 per cent trusting CSIRO leaders to respond effectively to business challenges due to COVID-19.
81 per cent of respondents reported an overall favourable opinion in the quality of the job performed by CSIRO Executive, Business Unit leaders and Enterprise Support Services directors.
94 per cent said that their teams remained focused on set objectives despite coronavirus concerns while the same number reported a sense of pride when viewing CSIRO colleagues’ work on coronavirus in social and other media.
While overwhelmingly positive, variable results in some cohorts did not go unnoticed. Respondents in the age range between 35 to 44 years reported less favourable opinion on wellbeing questions compared to other age groups.
Staff Association representatives discussed the outcome for this demographic with CSIRO management in a meeting following the survey results.
CSIRO has agreed to investigate further by conducting focus groups with relevant staff and considering further actions with the Staff Association.