No one can say for certain what the new normal will look like, especially in the workplace and as many people are looking to move permanently to a remote working environment it’s important to maintain employee morale.
Adjusting to remote working can be difficult as you are likely used to be doing surrounded by your team mates and have the buzz of the office around you, contrastingly during lockdown many will have found themselves alone or alternatively with great distraction. Long days in this environment can lead to feelings of isolation and a sense of feeling disconnected, likely to lead to a sharp drop in morale.
A big driver for productivity and engagement is no doubt morale; when company morale is high, employees will be reaching full potential, however when your team are working remotely this will be something employers will have to pay attention to and nurture. It will be important to get creative with ideas to keep company culture alive, we have some tips to help you maintain morale in a remote working environment.
- Stay connected
Without face to face interaction employees need to know their manager and senior leaders are there for them if they have any issues or need help. Spend time with your employees, though it may be virtually it’s still important. If you regularly hold one to ones try to host them more regularly during remote working. Whilst it may seem obvious, video is always better than a voice call as seeing facial expressions and body language will help employees feel more comfortable and connected.
Another thing to note is to not just focus on work conversations, show an interest outside of work, this will help build up your relationships and show you care about your employees as humans. Understandable as a manager you are likely facing your own obstacles, but just making an effort for a short amount of time will have a big impact.
- Recognise when appropriate
A great boost for morale is when someone notices and appreciates the hard work you are doing. This will be even more powerful when you’re working remotely as not being in there in person for the recognition it can feel as though you have gone unnoticed.
Recognition and appreciation will always help keep morale, home or away, but whilst remote it can give a much-needed boost.
- Keep the vision and message clear
It’s easy to feel detached from a company when you aren’t in an office, to maintain morale keep reminding employees how their work feeds into the bigger picture. It’s especially important to keep employees in the loop of what is going on whilst not in the office. If everyone feels a sense of transparency it will keep people happier rather than shielding them from bad news.
- Keep it fun
Whilst in the office, there may be places to socialise and destress, this will help morale. But, when working remotely, it can be easy to forget the ‘fun’ element of work. Make sure you encourage social activities, many things can be done virtually now and also allows employees to catch up.
- Keep development as key
A feeling of treading water whilst working remotely is likely to arise as employees may feel they are lacking progression or opportunities. Get a handle on this by offering opportunities for employees to be constantly learning and developing. E-learning is an easy way to do this and fits around their personal schedules. Learning new skills can help boost morale but also demonstrates that as an employer you are invested in them.
- Show you care
In an office environment you can celebrate a birthday and make a big fuss even if the employee sits their with a red face through a rendition of ‘Happy birthday’. Show your employees you still care remotely, host a virtual birthday celebration or make an occasion celebrated through your internal communication channels.
- Listen to feedback
When you aren’t seeing your employees it doesn’t mean they won’t have any feelings on the business, make sure to ask for feedback. Keeping an open dialogue of communication ensures your employees’ voices continue to be heard.
- Encourage downtime
Whilst working remotely it’s hard to tell if employees are taking regular breaks away from their computer. Taking regular breaks is important for productivity and if you disturb them during a break it can have a negative effect.
Maintaining company morale is very important, especially as many workplaces move to remote working. Consider how you can best stay connected with employees and how your employee wellbeing can reflect that.