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As the Corona-year Ends, Finns’ Emotions Toward Work Reflect No Crisis

Empathy study shows, that in the midst of corona crisis the Finns express mostly positive emotions toward their work. The most common feeling is contentment, which does not, however, motivate people to participate or to take action.

”Finland through the eyes of empathy” is a series of studies, where today’s published topic reveals citizens’ emotions in relation to their own work. The sample represents the Finnish population of 18-years or older. The study has been conducted in collaboration between the empathy analytics company NayaDaya Inc., YouGov and Statista. S-group has supported the empathy study.

Over 60 percent of the Finns express positive emotions toward their own work. The most common positive emotions among the working population are contentment (18 %) and interest (11 %). The most common negative emotion is disappointment (10 %).

”Contentment is a sign of met expectations as well as familiar and safe circumstances which require little effort from our part. There the most common effect on our behavior is a ”do nothing” attitude. Interest, on the other hand, engages and motivates us toward action – the emotion is connected to possibilites we feel are within our own reach. Broken promises and undelivered hopes, however, lead to disappointment. They are experiences, which shred our self-confidence and cripple us” describes Timo Salomäki, Head of Global Growth at NayaDaya Inc.

Based on the study, slightly over one third of the workforce can be described as loyal and participating in relation to their work. The higher income levels tend to correlate with higher positive engagement in the work. In a group where the average annual income per household is under 27 000 euros, 27 percent is positively engaged in their work. If the annual income is between 27 000 and 67 500 euros, the respective percentage is 38. Among those whose annual income level per household is 67 500 euros or more, 42 percent can be described as loyals and participating – the positively engaged.

Work related negative experiences are most often expressed as disappointment among both the blue and white collar employees. Entrepreneurs, however, typically experience fear, but they also experience more often pride and shame. The emotions experienced by the entrepreneurs reflect the risks and uncertainty as well as the personal relationship to success and failure that are linked to entrepreneurship. The respondents rarely experience shame (2 %) in relation to their work. Students are ashamed of their work (7 %) more often than the others.

Among those who are included in the working population, 14 percent express no emotions toward their own work. In practice, lack of emotions means insignificance. This is the case with up to one forth of those in the lowest income group. Overall, the aggregated sum of emotions causing crippling and avoidance effects along with insignificance is almost 60 percent. “This result means that within our workforce, six people out of ten feel no engaging emotions toward their work – not even anger or hate which would at least generate some resistance”, states Salomäki.

”Even though the pandemic is hitting the society with devastating force, most of the Finns find calmness in their work. It looks like most of the respondents do not have any work related worries. Based on the study results we are soon going to publish, a similar relation seems to exist in relation to respondents’ own finances and health as well. Naturally, this is not the case with everyone and there are professional fields, such as nurses, whose anguish we already have identified in our previous studies”, says Timo Järvinen, CEO at NayaDaya inc.

While the results are mainly positive, they still invite us to deliberate a bit deeper. “Contentment brings stagnation, not active change. We all need the rest and recovery, but contentment by itself does not revive innovation or solve the challenges Finland and the rest of the world are facing. Where can we find ‘sisu’ – the Finnish endless perseverance and ‘die-hard’ attitude – and the passion and engagement with which we can build the wellbeing for the future?” asks Järvinen.

Facts about the study

  • Emotion data was collected 25.-27.11.2020 through the YouGov online-panel

  • The quota sampling was implemented on the basis of age, gender, and location to represent the Finnish population of 18-years or older

  • Other variables are age, gender, location, family life stage, urbanization, income level, professional field, education, social media usage, supervisory position, and political party preference

  • For the overall result (N=1002) the average margin of error is approximately ±2,8 percentage

  • The data was analyzed with the NayaDaya® Empathy Analytics, based on scientific theory, University of Geneva research, and algorithm which predicts behavior and engagement

Further information

Timo Järvinen, CEO, NayaDaya Inc.,, tel. +358 40 505 7745

Timo Salomäki, Head of Global Growth, NayaDaya Inc.,, tel. +358 40 709 2399

NayaDaya Inc. is an empathy analytics company that reveals the way emotions and behavior interact with phenomena and brands. Through data, insight, empathy, and impact, we empower organizations, authorities, brands, and leaders to strive for a sustainable change. If you respect science, empathy, and data, we would love to discuss with you. News and further information:


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