COVID-19 has changed the way we live, communicate and work, as well as altering our feelings. The higher education sector, alongside other sectors, has been severely affected by the pandemic and its serious repercussions. Academic and teaching staff have had to work from home and convert to online teaching, a change which has been met with both negative and positive feelings. The need for new competencies and upskilling, among other challenges, has been encountered. Therefore, the objectives of this study are aligned with exploring the impact of three constructs—self-efficacy, positive feelings and negative feelings—on the performance of academic and teaching staff at public and private universities in Bahrain during the COVID-19 lockdown. Additionally, the impact of self-efficacy on these feelings was explored. A cross-sectional quantitative survey instrument was developed, validated and distributed using 83 valid responses. A two-way approach was followed to evaluate the model using the partial least squares (PLS-SEM) and multi-layer perceptron-artificial neural network (MLP-ANN) techniques. Tests support the validity, reliability and consistency of the measurement scale, as well as the validity of the postulated model. The results revealed a statistically significant relationship between the three constructs and performance. Interestingly, attention is drawn to the impact of self-efficacy on increasing positive feelings and task performance. The impact of self-efficacy on reducing negative feelings is also evident. Analyses of PLS-SEM augmented by MLP-ANN enhanced our understanding of the relationships and gave more support to the use of dual approach analyses in future research. This research adds to COVID-19 global research and the findings increase the knowledge within the literature. The implications of the study’s outcomes should be given attention from higher education authorities and management to raise staff morale and offer training to help sustain performance and mental wellbeing. Lasty, limitations and future directions are discussed.
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