There is little else that can either make or break a workplace like overall employee morale. Work environments are constructed by how the employees in said environment view their colleagues and their work. A healthy, robust workplace will include a team morale that is enthusiastic and exuberant; this type of morale transforms a workplace into an environment that employees want to be in. Likewise, a poor work environment and employee morale can cause the workplace to be a potentially toxic habitat that is not conducive to employee health and wellness. It is the responsibility of owners and managers to create a healthy work environment for the benefit of their workers. However, how is it possible to create exciting and positive workplace conditions from home? With most employees and managers alike stuck on their couches in the comfort (and safety!) of their homes, how are they able to keep their morale up and running, especially in such unprecedented times? Just like with everything else involving 2020, there is no easy answer. However, it is possible to keep employee morale boosted amidst the pandemic! Keep reading for a guide on how to do so.
1. Fancy Fridays
A differing perspective on the increasingly popular casual Fridays, so-called “Fancy Fridays” can be a small, yet fun, way to boost employee morale. While most of us have been lounging around in a rotating wardrobe of sweatpants and pullover sweatshirts since the lockdown was implemented this past March, allowing your employees to spruce up their wardrobe a bit can have a powerful effect on employees’ psyche, which in turn can increase job and work performance. If business casual clothes are still too serious, have a competition to see who can wear the most ridiculous outfit to make everyone’s life!
Once an obscure Internet phenomenon, memes have now dominated most of everyday life. An unspoken rule of Internet culture is that if it exists, there is a meme about it. There is always a meme that can make even the most fastidious employee crack a smile, so why not utilize these free Internet gemstones? With everything to choose from toilet paper memes to the undeniable cuteness of Baby Yoda, pick one meme a week (or even a day!) to send out to your team to keep them laughing!
3. Care packages
It can be hard for people to adjust to working from home. Many people have a strict boundary line between work life and home life; a line which has become nonexistent in the past nine months. To help your employees remain positive throughout a tough life adjustment, try sending them a care package. One company tailored each package based on individual employee needs, but some popular items to include are books, board games, puzzles, crafts, teas, chocolates, and fuzzy socks. Sending out these thoughtful items can help your workers feel seen and appreciated.
4. Mental health days
The importance of mental health days cannot be stressed enough in normal times, let alone the year of 2020. With constant stressors coming in (and more developing almost every day), it is important to allow your employees time for themselves. An hour a day can be quite sufficient; the time can be used to have a nice lunch, take a walk, perform meditation, or simply just lay down and relax. Even a short amount of time can allow for rejuvenation of the mind and heighten work performance and morale when they return.
5. Be flexible
Now more than ever, people need flexibility. Rigid employers are never anyone’s favorite, but in this year they risk being seen as downright evil. With an uptick in COVID-19 cases hitting the United States, many employees find themselves juggling conflicting life responsibilities. Many K-12 schools are once again going back to solely virtual learning, and employees may find themselves playing both parent and teacher once again. Allowing for flexibility lets your employees handle their other life duties without guilt, which will make them appreciate you all the more when life settles down again.
6. Discounted services
If you are in charge of a restaurant, airline, or hotel chain, offering your employees discounted perks and benefits can be a huge way to boost morale. Although travel and dining may not be possible everywhere right now, being flexible with the timeframe on which these benefits can be utilized can make your employees feel seen and appreciated.
7. Authenticity is key
It is important to remember to be your authentic self when leading a group of employees. If you are not open and honest about who you are, how can you expect the people who you employ to trust you? By being yourself in front of your employees, you encourage your workers to do the same, which in turn creates a great sense of a team environment and employee closeness.
8. Happy hour!
There are few things people love more than a good happy hour. While achieving a true sense of a happy hour is difficult now, with the closure of bars and emphasis on social distancing, it is still possible to tap into that energy! Arrange an after-work happy hour with your employees showing off their favorite cocktail recipes. If sobriety is more your company’s speed, replace the alcoholic beverages with a cooking contest, and see whose recipe is the most well-received. A break in the tediousness of day-to-day life and from work pressures lets your employees relax and forget about their struggles for a while.
The so-called “new normal” has been a tough adjustment for most people. With pressures coming in from all aspects of life, using these techniques to increase employee morale will have a huge payoff in the long term!