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happiness in the year of COVID-19

Happiness in the year of COVID-19

This week, Snyk was recognized by Comparably’s employer awards in 2 categories: ‘Happiest Employees’ and ‘Best Compensation’. 

The compensation piece is easy to understand. We consciously benchmark to market and pay competitively. In addition, given Snyk’s tremendous growth, the last couple of years have allowed many employees to earn significant wealth from their share options. 

The one that preoccupies my thoughts is the recognition of the ‘happiest employees’. It doesn’t surprise me, exactly. As a company that’s consistently seen engagement scores of ~90%, we know our employees are passionate, committed, and enjoy their Snyk experience. But happiness? In this year of turmoil, that has been so devastating for so many people and communities across the world, how were Snykers finding happiness? 

So, I started asking our employees: what’s something in this horrible year of 2020 that you’re really feeling positive about, a silver lining in your year? The answers I received were simply heartwarming—having the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones, relationships becoming stronger and more meaningful, discovering new things about themselves. This re-inspired my belief on how we have the control to build our own happiness within our own realities.    

Here’s my summary of learnings on the key to happiness in 2020. 

  1. Renewing the intimacy of existing relationships. The current context has raised topics around mental wellness to the forefront which were often brushed under the rug. It has ‘normalized’ our ability to be more vulnerable with each other, which can significantly increase the intimacy and strength of relationship bonds.
  2. Re-exploring ‘local’. In light of our inability to travel, a lot of us are re-discovering the little joys of our local surroundings—cuisines, cafes, neighbors, parks, and reconnecting with the beauty of the life immediately around us, rather than the need to ‘escape’ that life on vacation. 
  3. The gift of time and place. For many, in forcing a change of circumstance, COVID-19 provided the opportunity to re-think our assumptions of what we wanted to do with our time or where we wanted to be. I heard a few stories that followed the refrain of “my partner lost their job, which is hard, but also it’s given us the opportunity to really change up our lifestyles”. 
  4. Focusing on the longer term. Many snykers keep their eyes and minds on the optimism of 2 or 3 years down the road. It helps the mind recognize that the current situation is temporary and that there is an inevitable light at the end of the tunnel. 

Mostly, what I heard in speaking with snykers across the board, was gratitude. An acknowledgment that no matter how difficult a year this has been, we are privileged and incredibly lucky to still have as much as we have. And this, right here, I believe is the root of our happiness.