Before the coronavirus pandemic, working from home seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime for in-house employees. After all, who would love the idea of reduced commute time and expenses, the creature comforts of home, and a better work-life balance?
Yet as federal and state regulations forced businesses to transition to a virtual workforce, they quickly realized the unique challenges ahead.
The journey has been anything but easy, from loneliness and social isolation to adapting to new systems and company procedures. The necessary changes to everyday life and the emotional overwhelm of current times only added to the frustration.
As personal responsibilities increased at home, keeping up with work obligations is a chore. It didn’t take long for employee morale and, consequently, productivity to decline.
Happy Employees Equals Positive Results
Business owners and managers quickly realized the decline and the impact it had on operations. Wanting desperately to motivate remote teams during these trying times, they began implementing strategies to show their support. Here are some of the most efficient solutions.
1. Provide Adequate Technology
Imagine trying to do your job without the right technological resources. From technical errors and collaboration issues, there is a lot that could go wrong. When an employee has to struggle to complete tasks (or can’t finish them at all), it’s easy to get frustrated. A disgruntled staff can lead to slowed productivity, poor performance, and even high turnover rates.
Employers can rectify these issues and boost employee morale by ensuring they have adequate technology. From up-to-date computer systems and quality internet service to project management applications and sales forecasting software, invest in modern business solutions to make remote work easier to manage.
2. Host Virtual Events
Working from home in the middle of a pandemic gets lonely. Remote workers start to feel depressed and disconnected from the team. Thanks to modern technology, however, filling the void of loneliness isn’t tricky. With video conferencing applications, employers can host regular virtual events for remote teams.
However, not the same as an in-person interaction, scheduling meetings, virtual lunches, and fun team-building events online can lift everyone’s spirits.
3. Be Flexible With Scheduling
Many employees are parents who also have to take care of their children’s physical, emotional, and educational needs. They spend hours helping their children to complete homework assignments through distance learning platforms. Not to mention the constant interruptions to prepare meals, provide entertainment, and complete household chores.
More than ever, employees need to empathize with their remote workers as they navigate these uncharted territories.
A great way to boost team morale is to offer flexible scheduling. Whether you provide varying shifts, allow employees to accumulate comp time, or simply allow them to work when convenient for them (provided they keep all deadlines), it can ease the pressure and improve productivity.
4. Arrange Individual Check-Ins
While group meetings are useful, going the extra mile with individual check-ins is the icing on the cake. Sometimes, employees are struggling at home or on the job but don’t feel comfortable sharing with others. You can address these concerns and develop a deeper connection with your staff by arranging individual check-ins.
Meeting for about 15-minutes or so allows them to express how they’re feeling. It will enable employers to make necessary adjustments and provide assistance where they can.
5. Public Appreciation
When morale is low, and productivity is down, it can be easy for remote workers to begin to feel useless. Realizing that this is a significant change for anyone, employers should frequently show their team just how valuable they are. Displaying your appreciation publicly can turn their frowns upside down.
Why not highlight employee performance on your company website or social media account for everyone to see?
A simple shout out lets them know that you notice their efforts, despite the challenges. If possible, you might even send them a little token of appreciation like a certificate, plaque, or gift card.
As it turns out, working from home isn’t the dream opportunity everyone thought it was. While it does have some advantages, the unique challenges that remote workers face are physically and emotionally taxing.
Unfortunately, as the coronavirus continues to plague the country, returning to the workplace doesn’t seem likely any time soon. As such, business owners and managers must do what they can to improve employee morale by supporting remote workers.