On September 3rd 2020, Asha Bangar, the COO of Feelenials was invited to give a talk at the 3rd National Meeting of Specialized Continuous Training. The following text is adjusted for the blog.

Let’s rewind shortly to February, we are still in our offices or traveling for work. It’s business as usual and we can more or less predict our near future. The Christmas feels are only just wearing off and we’re envisioning 2020 with hopes and dreams. Enter March and we start entering a stage of global compounding crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic…. And now all of a sudden we’re halfway through 2020. The future is unknown.  Even the greatest leaders and the highest calibre of scientists cannot predict what may happen in the upcoming months- so where does that leave us? (IN THE PRESENTATION: PUT THE IMAGE OF MEME ¨working during a pandemic¨). 


I’m going to present you a quote which you may have come across before: PLANS ARE USELESS BUT PLANNING IS INDISPENSABLE. We know this, we have been raised with this and we try to implement it in our daily lives as much as possible. However, one thing we don’t consider when planning are our emotions- which is very interesting considering all the research that shows how emotions play a large role in our decision making. The neurological evidence indicates emotions are not a luxury; they are essential for rational human performance. Years of studies on patients with frontal-lobe disorders indicate that impaired ability to feel yields impaired ability to make decisions; in other words I dare to say, there is no such thing as “pure reason”. Now, this can be a very inconvenient truth for many of us who like to think we are logical and rational. 


This uncertainty leads to fear, anxiety, stress, depression and a whole bunch of  other uncomfortable emotions that, if prolonged, can lead to mental health issues despite age, gender, race, income status, etc. Now imagine a whole group of people feeling this way and the detrimental effects it will have on their actions? Research has shown that It has been shown that human beings are infected with the emotions of the people around us, thus enhancing the emotion that is shared. Have you ever noticed that when you’re walking with someone, your rhythm and footsteps tend to align? There is sufficient evidence that we do this synchronization with our emotional behaviours as well. Everyday phenomenons can be witnessed in the mirroring of facial expressions, vocalizations, postures and movements with those we surround ourselves with. Social interactions, whether in a personal or professional setting, commonly involve displays of emotions. This tends to happen in a less obvious, yet still impactful way with our feelings as well. For example, have you ever talked to someone on the phone, sensed they’re smiling and started smiling too? Or perhaps that one colleague that  had a bad day and unintentionally infected other colleagues taking them to a totally unproductive emotional state. On the other hand, on many occasions we’ve  seen how the enthusiasm and drive of a single person can lead a team to levels of creativity and synergies in which you could almost see an aura of colors around them. When these things happen, it is almost magical … if teams took better advantage of collective emotions and exploited them in their favor, we would really be talking about what resonates so much in companies, high performance teams. It is true that little by little, work with emotions occupies a place of greater weight in the business world, since no one has yet invented a machine that allows you to leave your emotions in a closet when entering your workplace, and hopefully nobody will, because emotions give us the spark of life, almost like Coca-Cola. Emotional contagion is a process where the moods and emotions of an individual are transferred to nearby individuals. There is also some evidence that negative moods are more easily transferred than positive moods. Emotional contagion, unless we get a hold on it, is going to greatly amplify the damage caused by COVID-19. This is where adopting a growth mindset is critical to not just surviving but thriving this pandemic. (INSERT VIKTOR FRANKL QUOTE) Measure-Analyze-Change and keep repeating this again and again. Our emotions at work play a critical role in this process.


Why we need to measure emotions in the workplace

  1. We have to start with the science of emotions and why they play such a critical role in the workplace. Research continuously demonstrates that employee happiness is one of the driving forces that lead to desirable positive outcomes at work, for instance:
    1. Business success: employee happiness improves productivity, and thus contributes to business success.
    2. Satisfaction: not only do employees start achieving more but also achieve some sense of pleasure from their work- they do what they like and like what they do.
    3. Improvement of health and well being: happier individuals tend to lead healthier lifestyles.
    4. Positive outlook: whilst knowing that there are always setbacks, the employee will see opportunities instead of threats in those obstacles
    5. Trust and efficiency: when the atmosphere at work is positive, so are the people. They feel secure in their positions and know that others appreciate their work. And when they feel appreciated, they are more willing to do their tasks.
    6. Better team-work: a happy workplace contributes to a better communication in the company as employees interact better with each other as well as with customers.
    7. Energy and optimism: employees feel motivated to do their tasks. And even if there’s a crisis, everybody has a high morale and they don’t give up
    8. People are more creative: they want to make a difference in the company and contribute to the success of the business by implementing innovative ideas into their tasks and projects.
    9. Sense of community: the team feels like they are part of something and fixes the problems instead of complaining about them.


  1. For many of us, COVID has dramatically changed our workplace and that change has created a totally new work-life imbalance with emotions playing a critical role. It´s not just emotions related to work but financial security, job security, fear of infection, complications of working and staying at home with family, partners, concerns about kids and education, concerns about potential societal unrest.. Factor than in with the inability to meet our loved ones the same way we use to has created huge emotional issues as well as it made workers and managers uneasy in this new work environment resulting in all kinds of new emotions and feelings. 
  2. Success in this new world can only be achieved by a good means to measure and manage emotions.  


State of the art 

  1. Yearly reviews/Questionnaires/Suggestion boxes: these are used by many companies to understand how the employees feel about their workplace, however there are various issues surrounding this approach. First of all, employees fear they might be found out and could risk losing their job so naturally, they might not be completely sincere in their responses. So the feedback we receive from this is often flawed and/or incomplete. Secondly, the feedback is a point in time and does not capture the constantly changing workplace dynamic and its impact on emotions and the effect on happiness, productivity , performance. The response to such feedback is seldom measured and is not correlated to people’s feelings. So people do not see the value of collecting this information further degrading the quality of the feedback.
  2. Personality Analysis: these are used to understand and orient the employees. They are designed to help employers gain more insight into each candidate’s work style and preferences. However, this is also static as human beings are dynamic beings whose thoughts, attitudes and habits are constantly changing. 


Therefore, Accurate and timely assessment of collective emotions in the workplace is a critical managerial task. However, perceptual, normative, and methodological challenges make it very difficult even for the most experienced organizational leaders.


What we do at feelenials

Our platform is designed to provide a high degree of anonymity so that people feel absolutely comfortable to speak their mind and express themselves. Our platform collects emotions in real time allowing the company to correlate them to ongoing events within the company or even outside the company to bring about effective change.


Our platform is designed to help management get into a Growth Mindset – constantly learn and improve from feedback. Our platform is designed to showcase to employees the critical value that their emotional feedback plays in the direction and growth of the company. As this is completely online, it works great for an in-house work environment or a distributed remote work environment (the next point is a shout out to partners so that we do not want to alienate people that are already doing this their own way) 


Enhancing and supporting existing systems

With COVID-19 disrupting the ability for people to congregate and have face-to-face meetings, the ability to collect information (surveys, one-on-one meetings) has changed. Our platform helps people/organizations that were using traditional ways to collect data to be able to do it in a remote manner as well as provide their customers with relevant real time analysis and reports. In the case of Colombia, there are certain regulations that require the companies to address mental health in the workplace. For example: 


  • Resolution 2404 de 2019: antes que todo la resolución 2646 de 2008 está aun vigente (por la cual se establecen disposiciones y se definen responsabilidades para la identificación, evaluación, prevención, intervención y monitoreo permanente de la exposición a factores de riesgo psicosocial en el trabajo y para la determinación del origen de las patologías causadas por el estrés ocupacional). Los antecedentes de la Resolución 2404 de 2019, nos dice que justamente por todas las quejas que recibe el Ministerio de Trabajo de no saber cómo es que se hace la evaluación y que la mayoria de empresas no se avanzan desde la etapa de diagnostico y no avanzan a la parte de intervención- entonces desde ahi surge está resolucion 2404 de 2019. Está resolucion establece los referentes tecnicos minimos obligatorios para evaluacion e intervencion riesgo psicosocial. El principal objetivo de está resolucion es basicamente legislar los documentos hecho por el Ministerio de Trabajo y Ministerio de de Salud y Proteccion Social y hacerlos obligatorios. Entonces cuáles son esos tres documentos? 1. El documento de la bateria de la evaluacion del riesgo psicosocial (elaborado por la universidad Javeriana en 2010); 2. Guia técnica de intervencion (esto lo sacaron en el ano 2015) y 3. Protocolos de prevención y actuación. 
  • Ley 1616 de 2013: El artículo 9 de la ley establece la promoción de la salud mental y prevención del trastorno mental en el ámbito laboral y en ese sentido indica que las Administradoras de Riesgos Laborales  (ARL) dentro de las actividades de promoción y prevención en salud “deberán generar estrategias, programas, acciones o servicios de promoción de la salud mental y prevención del trastorno mental, y deberán garantizar que sus empresas afiliadas incluyan dentro de su sistema de gestión de seguridad y salud en el trabajo, el monitoreo permanente de la exposición a factores de riesgo psicosocial en el trabajo para proteger, mejorar y recuperar la salud mental de los trabajadores”.


Teniendo en cuenta estas y otras legislaciones relevantes, nosotros lo que hacemos en Feelenials en el caso de Colombia es integrar esos referentes técnicos mínimos obligatorio en la plataforma de Feelenials para las empresas para ayudar las empresas cumplir con esa ley.




The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t just a physical health issue—it’s also a mental health issue and requires special attention from all of us. We are clearly in unprecedented times; with 24-hour media messaging; various—often divergent—views on social media; working in isolation; managing work alongside caring responsibilities; a fast-moving environment; and an overwhelming sense of uncertainty. In situations like this it is common to experience heightened stress and anxiety. The sudden move to remote work brings its own challenges from a mental health perspective, including feelings of isolation and loneliness through a lack of face-to-face collaboration, as well as unclear boundaries between work and personal time. Many people are needing to juggle priorities in a new way—caring for themselves while also caring for children who are home from school and potentially caring for others. There is also a sense of productivity guilt where people are scared of disconnecting (from their phones and computers) so as to avoid repercussions. As leaders it is your role, and your obligation now more than ever, to demonstrate compassion and make time for your people when they need it. This will strengthen your teams now and long into the future. 


In the meantime, here are a few ways you can care for others and strengthen sense of community within your teams:


  • Keep in touch


Remember that some colleagues may be feeling isolated and anxious; now, more than ever, is the time to keep in touch—Both to check in and to ensure they understand that there is help available.A quick note or call will help someone reconnect. Also, make plans for a regular catch up—either one-on-one or as a team


  • Ask ‘Are you OK?’


These three words can make all the difference to someone who isn’t feeling OK


  • Collaborate to find working arrangements that work


Stress and anxiety from the situation we are facing can be made worse by concern over work activities and deadlines—Encourage team members to talk about the challenges they face when working from home and collaborate to find a solution. Find out what will work best for them when it comes to the way and hours that they work. Remember the importance of judging on output, not being present or “online”


  • Take a step back


Fear can narrow our field of vision, making it harder to see the bigger picture or available options including the positive possibilities in front of us—Acknowledge the anxieties your colleagues may be feeling and take time to explore options and a positive outcome of the current situation


If you would like to apply the Feelenials solution in your companies, please feel free to drop me a message. I’d also like to take the opportunity to ask any company, individual, psychologist, academic, workplace wellness professional or anyone interested in collaborating with us to reach out.