COVID-19 has imposed a new culture of remote working and with this comes the risk of declining productivity, morale and overall team performance. Here are some top tips to boost employee morale and wellbeing during this difficult time:
1. Keep employees informed
Regular contact with staff is essential throughout this period of uncertainty. Email communications should be clear and concise focusing on important pieces of information that will keep employees up to date. Regular team check-in meetings via zoom, or similar, should be implemented. Encourage team WhatsApp groups to be set-up to allow employees quickly keep in touch.
2. Promote work-life balance
It is important to acknowledge that employees may find it difficult to adjust to remote working and that they may find themselves more distracted than normal with additional home responsibilities.
Encourage employees to establish a new working routine, which should incorporate regular small breaks during the working day. If employees are used to a daily commute suggest that they use this time to get some exercise before starting their working day. Ensure that employees know that they are not expected to work additional hours and that they should switch-off once their working day is over.
3. Ask for feedback
While employees may not be physically present in the office, they may still have opinions over how the business is operating and how it could be improved. Asking for feedback also helps employees know that their thoughts are valued and when any issues are addressed as a result of feedback.
4. Introduce employee recognition and rewards
Employers should ensure that they recognise and reward individuals or teams who are making significant contributions, show extra effort or deliver beyond expectations. This can boost employee morale and reassure employees that their work is valued. Employers may consider introducing a weekly email, which can be circulated to employees highlighting these achievements.
5. Be flexible and empathetic
Where possible, employers should consider allowing employees to vary their working hours to suit their new arrangements. For some employees being able to work before their children are awake or after they have been put to bed will be enormously beneficial. Employees’ productivity levels when they are free from distraction will also benefit employers. Employers could also consider introducing set core hours that all employees must be available at but allow employees to work their additional hours at other times convenient for them.
6. Team wellness check-ins
Set a weekly virtual team meeting to discuss not only work-related topics but also do a check-in to see how team members are doing. This is an excellent way for team leaders and team members to show their support for one another and to offer up tips that they find helpful in staying healthy. This is a good time to share fact-based videos and news from authority sites for discussion. Sorting through myths and keeping heads calm is important when dealing with low morale during this time.
7. Virtual coffee or perks
Schedule a virtual coffee get-together on a regular basis. Set up a zoom meeting, ask your team to grab their favourite drink and come prepared to share something funny or exciting – non-work related.
These aren’t the only ways to boost your virtual team’s morale during COVID-19 and beyond. The key is first recognising that your teams are likely to suffer decreased morale and then making the decision to do something about it. Trying to ensure they remain connected and productive is key for all parties.
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