Since new lockdown measures were imposed a few weeks ago, a great number of people have been working remotely again. Whilst some may relish the opportunity to work from home, some employees may feel isolated, insecure and demotivated.
Hence, we have listed 4 tried and tested methods for boosting staff morale during these difficult times to help employers retain the business culture they have carefully built and nurtured over the years.
1. You’re not alone
As human beings, it’s no secret that we are social butterflies. Remote employees are often working from a home office, a kitchen table, or even a couch. Unlike at the office, there’s no canteen area for staff to socialise or water cooler for employees to catch up and chat around; this makes it very difficult to form and preserve that sense of camaraderie.
Make sure your staff communicate regularly and not just about work. Encourage catch-ups via Zoom and Skype meetings, not only does this keep your team efficient, it boosts morale and helps keep things ‘normal’ to some extent.
You could even schedule online team activities, whether that’s lunchtime Yoga or even just a simple 30-minute informal chat towards the end of the day – it gives staff something to look forward to and helps break up the day.
We seem to be faced with more bad news each day at the moment. All around us, people are losing their jobs due to the pandemic, struggling to pay bills and provide for their families, and mental health issues are at an all-time high.
Check-in with your staff individually, ask how they are feeling, and reassure them. If your workforce is feeling unhappy or undervalued, their performance may subsequently suffer due to lack of motivation.
Of course, this pandemic is challenging for most businesses, but try to be as open and transparent with your staff with regard to any changes you plan to make. This will empower and reassure your workforce to feel valued and more secure.
3. Little tokens of appreciation
Staying home means some people can find it hard to separate work from home life, when compounded with not being able to see friends and family, this can become very stressful and people begin to feel like they ‘live to work’ and start to feel under-appreciated.
Show your employees that you appreciate them and are thinking of them with little tokens of appreciation. Whether it’s a simple email sent to each staff member; or a postcard to let your employees know you are there and thinking of them. This will make your employees feel appreciated, which also helps on that security aspect.
4. Be considerate
When things begin to open up again, it would be helpful to speak on an individual basis. Naturally, this pandemic has left people feeling anxious about leaving the house. When lockdown is over, and you plan to reopen the office, do so in a considerate manner.
Some of your employees might be raring and ready to go; others may be anxious or worried, particularly if they live with somebody vulnerable.
Talk to your staff, give them the option to work from home for a certain amount of time, or perhaps you introduce a phased return to help your employees get back into the rhythm.
Remember change is always hard and we are all in this together. Not everyone’s struggles are the same. Do what you can to keep your business culture alive during these difficult times and do everything within your power to keep your staff safe.