A year and a half ago, many of us were accustomed to a certain way of “office” life. Wake up, commute to work, get your morning coffee, and then chat with coworkers before heading to your desk to check emails and get the workday going. We were surrounded by people, could have productive meetings in person, and if you ever needed help – your supervisor was just a few steps away. With the current climate of the world, things have definitely changed. Our typical 9-5 has been replaced by a new dress code (business on the top, PJ pants on the bottom), flexible breaks (to do things like taking the dog out or getting your kid to the bus stop), and meetings that now take place over a screen. As everyone maneuvers their way through this new routine, it is important to know that morale is still as important as ever. Since your employees are no longer surrounded by their teammates or the buzz of the office to get them through the day – it may be a good time to refocus on how to build them up so they feel motivated. We have put together some ways to boost morale in your remote workplace.
- Set up Regular Check-Ins
A great way to stay connected to your staff while working remotely is to get together virtually. Employees need to know that their supervisors and senior leaders care about their work and their well-being. Let your staff know that if an email will not suffice for an issue they have, then they are free to video chat with you at any time. Sometimes seeing the person can really help, and beats just hearing their voice on a phone call or reading their words in an email. Setting up regular video chat check-ins with your staff collectively as well as individual employees is as close as it gets to being back in the office and feeling “normal” again with the team. It helps to show interest in their lives outside of work, and can really deepen your trust and relationships with your staff.
- Use recognition
Nothing builds an employee’s self-esteem like recognizing them for their hard work. This can be done privately – or in front of their team. Since you are not seeing this employee in person to give them a simple “thank you” – this recognition can really go a long way and shows you have gone the extra mile to acknowledge them. A simple shout out to this employee during a video chat staff meeting can do the trick, or shoot them an email letting them know their work has not gone unnoticed. We promise this will make an impact on the employee.
- Remind them that breaks are encouraged
At the office, we are used to having break rooms, lounges or even outdoor picnic areas where we can socialize on our lunch break or when we need a break from looking at the computer screen. This typically boosts morale for employees because they can take the time to decompress and chat with their coworkers. When working from home, it is easy to forget that one should step away from the computer now and then. This, in turn, can cause stress and even fatigue. Remind your employees to take breaks and step away from their work. Encourage them to go walk the dog, water their plants, play with their kids, eat lunch outside – whatever it is that can help them refocus so when they come back to work they see things freshly.
- Set them up for success
The way people do work this year is certainly different from before. We have learned to be resilient, and that many things we have done in the past when things were “normal” are no longer effective. Provide the tools your employees need to stay motivated. This could mean virtual courses, podcasts, online training videos, or other educational assistance. We have had to adapt to this remote way of life – since you can’t meet in person to make sure your employees are working to the best of their capabilities – be creative. Video chat sessions are not always the most effective way to get information across to your staff. Use one of the several innovative platforms that has been created in the past year to help your employees be successful.
- Keep the discussions going
It is important to always ask for your employees’ feedback so they feel heard. It may be easy for an employee to feel unappreciated or overworked – especially because you don’t see them every day to make them feel otherwise. What used to be a quick walk to their desk to check-in, is now a much more in-depth task. During these staff meetings, ask them how they feel. Send out surveys and reviews. Let them know that you are always willing to listen. If they know that they can trust you with how they are doing, it can go a long way in the morale department. Employees should feel they are important, appreciated, and included. By keeping everything a two-way discussion while soliciting communication and feedback, this task can be completed.
We hope this helps you build morale in the workplace for your employees, even while working in the comfort of our own homes. A happy employee means a productive employee. And productive employees mean great work done for your business!