Managing employee morale remotely
Working remotely - the multiplier effect
While the majority of employers would agree that happy and healthy employees are deeply integral to long term success, for many organisations, employee morale, satisfaction and retention are areas of weakness. Even without the added pressures of a global pandemic, all too often, businesses will ask the question; how do we best manage employee morale?
Remote working solutions and home office pressures (unfortunately) can further compound pre-existing notions of dissatisfaction by adding feelings of disconnect and isolation.
Business is far from 'usual'
While we’re definitely not in a typical position, in business or economic cycles, the fundamentals of human behavior still apply when we seek to improve morale in this extremely tough time. Retention, long term preservation of staff and productivity are all things we must actively manage.
According to Power2Motivate, two thirds of employees would consider resigning from a role if they felt unappreciated (which, while not something that we must deal with now,but when the skies start to clear). This, of course, will have a significant flow-on effect of slowing organisational recovery and rebuild time frames.
"Two thirds of employees would consider resigning from a role if they felt unappreciated."
Bridging the social distance
Here are some simple tips for managing employee morale remotely in the workplace:
- If possible, consider providing displaced workers with additional flexibility in the hours or days they work, or report to.
- Zoom/Slack/Discord meetings don’t have to be stiff and boring. Consider bringing (the less disruptive) pets into video meetings, host dance off’s, or Fancy dress/dress-up themes.
- Honesty, where possible, about the performance of the organisation and the management decisions that may be considered – having frank conversations about what may happen in the near future that may affect staff.
- Get everyone involved. Now is not the time to manage from an ivory tower. Bringing in senior staff, managers and directors who may have a more hands-off role within the organisation will contribute to a feeling of unity.
- Hack-a-thons, sprints & other workshop concepts completed remotely give the more introverted members of your team the opportunity to contribute in a less intimidating way , so this may represent an opportunity for engagement with those members of your team.
While the current global climate is scary, new and particularly difficult to navigate, we must understand “work-life balance” is more than a few words on a wall, or a company value. It is critical to the success of the company, and the morale of the displaced staff member.
Check in with yourself - and your team
The University of Melbourne has provided a comprehensive tip sheet for individuals looking to gauge their reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic.
· Feeling stressed or overwhelmed
· Anxiety, worry, or fear
· Racing thoughts
· Sadness, tearfulness, loss of interest in usual
· Physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate,stomach upset, fatigue, or other uncomfortable sensations
· Frustration, irritability, or anger
· Restlessness or agitation
· Feeling helpless
· Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
· Feeling disconnected from others
· Apprehension about going to public spaces
· Trouble relaxing
If you or your team is having difficulties with morale and engagement throughout this difficult time, there are resources available to help individuals manage these stresses.