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Managing Employee Morale During Social Distancing

Published: Thursday 21st May 2020

Covid-19 has changed everyday life to say the least. Regular office norms have taken a hard turn in a direction that employees may be struggling to adjust or even navigate. From social distancing to entire companies working from home due to quarantine restrictions, one aspect that is being pushed aside, is company culture. Consequently, the mental health strain that employees may start to struggle with as they socially distance themselves should not be ignored. Therefore, managing employee morale during social distancing is crucial to your company’s success.

Employee Morale Affects Your Company’s Success

Keeping your staff happy and motivated can be an especially tough thing to do during the current Covid-19 crisis and the financial challenges. The transformation to working fully from home can be quite a leap from the ´normal´ working week at the office, let alone feeling the consequences of being confined to your home.

attractive woman in a chair at the table with cup and laptop, book, pencils, notebook on it. Lotus pose, concept photo

Yet a lack of employee morale can affect your company in more ways than you might expect. Overtly stressed and anxious employees result in decreased productivity, poorer quality of work, as well as disengagement. At times, it can even lead to a higher turnover rate. More importantly, this can be detrimental to your organisation, especially when confidence in making hiring and investment decisions has fallen by more than 20% on a global scale.

So, here are a few morale boosters that are sure to help maintain the best company culture and manage employee morale during social distancing.

Actively Listen To Your Staff Concerns 

You can only provide the proper solution to any problems when you know what your employees’ concerns actually are. As part of the human resources team, it is your duty to talk to individual staff members to learn about what’s worrying them. When employees feel like they’re listened to, it brings in several benefits. For example, there’s a quicker work turnover rate, as clearing your employee’s concerns, improves their clarity and focus on concentrating and completing the tasks on hand. Furthermore, it illustrates a caring attitude by showing them you care about their health and safety.

Ask For Feedback By Developing A Feedback Culture

Feedback concept with hand pressing a button on blurred abstract background

A feedback culture can help improve corporate communication with employees. When a company focuses on being open and honest with itself, it’s easier to communicate corporate objectives, goals, and areas of focus or improvement. While for some employees the introduction of working from home may be unprecedented, they should feel free to throw in suggestions. While employees may not be physically present in the office, they may still have opinions over how the business is operating and how things can improve.

Inspire And Encourage Your Staff Members 

One way to inspire your staff members is by showing them that management trusts them. One way of doing so is by activating the “work-from-home” scheme. With the Covid-19 pandemic defined as the largest global work from home experiment, your organisation should take the opportunity to get on board. In doing so, you will be able to check whether your business has all the necessary equipment for a digital takeover. In fact, the work from home scheme is the way to succeed in achieving two things in a single action. It will show your employees that you trust them, it will allow both HR and management to see if they can work from home, as well as give you an option to test your Business Continuity Plan.

business people handshake with company team in background

Another way to inspire and encourage your staff to boost employee morale is through transparency.  Sometimes, the best thing you can do is prepare for the worst and encourage the downward spiral. One way to keep morale up is by divulging the company’s “worst-case scenario” to your employees (e.g. pay cuts, unpaid leave of absences etc).

Promote Work-Life Balance

It is important to acknowledge that it may not be ease for employees to adjust to remote working and that they may find themselves more distracted than normal with additional home responsibilities. One way to tackle this barrier is by encouraging them to establish a new working routine with regular small breaks during the working day. If employees used to commute daily, suggest that they use this time to get some exercise before starting their working day. More importantly, ensure that employees know, they are not expected to work additional hours and that they should switch-off once their working day is over.

Introduce Employee Recognition And Rewards Scheme

Employers should ensure they have a scheme in place to ensure, they recognise and reward individuals or teams who are making significant contributions. By recognising and rewarding staff that show extra effort or deliver beyond expectations, your workforce feels valued and appreciated every time they go the extra mile. As a result, it boosts employee morale directly. Employers may consider introducing a weekly email, highlighting these achievements.

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