If ever there was a year to forget, it was 2020. After a less than bright start, a global pandemic meant that people lost their jobs, were furloughed, or had to work from home permanently. Whichever way you look at it, plenty of workers had reasons to be annoyed with their situation. As a result, you may be worried about the team’s morale in 2021 and beyond.
Understanding the impacts on their mental health is essential because it will help you to put out fires and prevent errors. Usually, this is a surefire way to increase productivity and output or ensure they remain at a high level for a long time. The problem you have is the current restrictions in place.
Normally, a boss can rely on a weekend retreat or a night in a pub to bring people closer together. The tried and tested methods are out, yet that isn’t a bad sign. If anything, it will encourage you to be more creative and innovative regarding your staff. Thinking outside the box is a feature of a top leader.
Still, it’s not straightforward when all you can see is lockdown and self-isolation. So, there’s nothing wrong if you need a little push in the right direction. With that in mind, here are five ways to boost employee morale in 2021.
Cover Relevant Expenses
Picking up the tab for lost wages won’t be possible. Otherwise, you would pay them the same amount without government assistance. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t expenses you can’t pay for that will make your employees’ lives easier. For example, everyone needs to exercise during a lockdown.
Unfortunately, some people go the other way as they combine an unhealthy attitude with a lack of equipment. If they don’t have the gear, they will continue to have no idea. From a business perspective, this isn’t a positive indicator of success since studies show that fit employees are productive and efficient.
The good news is, you can take care of the group in one, fell swoop. All you need to do is pay for a yearly account with a home-based workout company. Many have become popular since March 2021, so there is a host to choose from, including FiiT, Peloton, and Aaptiv. A single username and password shared with the office should be enough to encourage workers to exercise regularly.
As they get fitter and healthier, their moods will change from down and gloomy to happy and positive. Plus, everyone will love the fact that it’s free and doesn’t eat into their salaries!
Bond Over Sports
Elite sport is one of the few pleasures left in an otherwise irregular world. Regardless of where you stand on the moral debate, there’s no denying that watching sports brings pleasure to the masses. And, if most people like it, the odds are high that the majority of the office will feel the same way.
Instead of going to a live event, you can organise a virtual meeting after hours and sit and watch a game of the group’s choosing. Mercifully, professional football, rugby, snooker, and American football are all continuing through the pandemic. However, the best choice is probably boxing, and there are several reasons.
Firstly, most of the bouts are taking place abroad. As a result, there is an atmosphere because the restrictions are not as strict and fans are allowed inside the stadiums. Secondly, great fights are being made by promoters, even if they are behind closed doors. For example, Callum Smith versus Saul Alvarez. Thirdly, the best British boxers are incredible.
These factors add up to what should be an entertaining remote event where coworkers can have fun and forget about life outside for a moment.
Go For Food Truck Lunches
Food’s potential impact on mental health is incredible. Everybody knows how their moods swing when they are hungry. But, many people love the anticipation of eating, too. The thought of biting into a tasty lunch will propel them to the break at great speed! Well, why not go out for lunch?
Not everyone will be in the office, yet for those who are, taking the team out for lunch could be the spark they require to brighten up their day. For one thing, you can do it in groups (bubbles), so there won’t be a social distancing issue. Secondly, takeaways are open by law, which means you’re not doing anything illegal. Thirdly, it’s fun!
To add a sprinkle of novelty to the occasion, you should try a nearby food truck. That way, the staff can eat quality dishes that they never usually pick. After all, food trucks often provide Mexican cuisine, something that isn’t easy to find on the high street. You can also do this with coffee breaks. However, coffee shops are still crowded, so you need to be careful of remaining one to two metres apart.
Plus, don’t forget to tell your remote workers that they have a lunch voucher. Morale will drop if anyone misses out on a freebie.
Don’t Change Too Much
A lot has changed in the past ten months. However, some things will remain the same regardless of the global health crisis. This may seem flawed logic, but it’s the truth when you consider that employees crave routine. And, this is even more apparent in uncertain periods when their job is unpredictable.
With this in mind, it’s smart to concentrate on the features workers enjoy, such as mentoring. Did you know that employee retention is 25% higher when a person has an in-house mentor? Once you get to grips with this stat, it’s a no-brainer to ensure the mentor programme doesn’t disappear.
The same applies to feedback. Constructive criticism may appear one-sided, yet it’s a never-ending loop. By providing solutions to problems, you are pushing your workers to be better, an element of the workplace that employees crave as 70% of the variance in employee engagement is accounted for by managers.
Ineffective bosses aren’t satisfying, and that’s when morale begins to drop. Of course, the opposite is also true.
There’s a fine line between micromanaging and ensuring your employees understand that your door is always open. But, the balance you had before Covid won’t be the same as the one you have now. For starters, you must lead remotely, which is a hell of a lot harder than speaking to workers face-to-face.
As a rule, it’s wiser to check-in one per week to nip issues in the bud. Scheduling a meeting isn’t challenging, not when you can do it at the end of the week. Of course, if you’re worried problems will escalate, you can do it at the beginning of the week, or mid-week.
The key is to remember that you’re not being intrusive. Employees would be around you daily in the office, so the fact that they interact with you once isn’t much to ask. However, you should tweak your approach by the individual. Some people love remote work as they enjoy the seclusion it offers. Therefore, you may want to reconsider organising a chat that will only get in the way of their workload. Plus, it will annoy them. Catching up is a must during a lockdown as you never know what people are thinking?
The Bottom Line
Morale can be high one minute, and tank the next. As a result, you must do two things. Firstly, watch out for and recognise the warning signs so that you can react. Secondly, do your best to maintain a high standard so that mental health in the workplace doesn’t slip.