There is a lot of uncertainty for any business to deal with today as the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold. However, one thing that we do know is that those businesses that work to ensure employee morale remains high are likely to fare better than those where spirits are low. No matter what happens over the next couple of months, if your staff are committed and positive then your business has a good chance of surviving – and thriving.
How to maintain strong employee morale during COVID-19
- View increased flexibility as a positive investment in employees. These are unprecedented times and that requires an unprecedented approach. Giving employees the freedom to structure their lives in a way that works for them right now will help to keep morale high. That may mean, for example, not forcing them to stick to a 9 to 5 working day but focusing on productivity targets and goals instead. As long as the work still gets done, allowing staff to also make time in their lives for rest, caring responsibilities and prioritising mental health will help to keep spirits high.
- Streamline workflows don’t overload them. It’s important to make sure that everyone has enough time in their schedules to stop and pause. Otherwise, you may find that staff feel under too much pressure and morale drops through the floor. If you can, take one item off everyone’s ‘to do’ list – start identifying non-essential projects and processes and put these to the side for now.
- Focus on connecting with your employees. Often, this starts with something as simple as listening. Your employees may have questions and fears and providing a space in which these can be expressed may make them feel connected and heard. You might think about a survey, for example, that covers topics such as whether they are happy with the business’ response to COVID-19 or even speaking to each member of staff individually.
- Don’t forget the social element. Pre-coronavirus most businesses set aside time for the important connections that are made when staff socialise together. This doesn’t have to end in current conditions. Virtual happy hours, lunches or team bonding quizzes, for example, can all be carried out remotely and still provide an opportunity for staff to feel part of a team and get to know each other better.
- Find a way for everyone in the business to feel like they are making a contribution. Recent research has established that almost 90% of workers believe volunteer programmes within the business create a better working environment and a strong sense of purpose. There are many ways to do this, from matching employee donations to charities to giving staff time off to volunteer to support those locally who are vulnerable, such as the elderly.
Employee morale will be fundamental to carrying businesses through these difficult times and these are some of the simplest ways to ensure that it remains high.