As the first quarter of 2020 draws to a close, the world finds itself amid a global pandemic. The Coronavirus crisis is affecting every corner of life as we quickly and blindly adjust to the “new normal”. Whether speaking of personal or professional adjustments, both are a little intimidating or even downright scary. In the business world, many businesses did not anticipate the need to have a clearcut crisis management plan. Most are not equipped to deal with the severity of COVID-19.
This pandemic forced companies to alter their perspective on many key workplace topics – working remotely being a significant shift to protect their employees’ health and well-being. It is currently impossible to go a day without viewing a plethora of #WFH posts. Having to make the change so quickly as numerous organizations across the United States have recently done, can make the change a challenge. As our 24/7 news cycle reports rising coronavirus numbers, workers are becoming unmotivated quickly. Many fear for their lives, and most are overwhelmed with the upheaval of their regular daily routine. All things considered, morale amongst employees can easily slip and falter. As many businesses cannot afford to stop operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is of utmost importance to stay ahead of the cycle and keep employees motivated, even as they work from home. Keep company morale steadfast by following these below insights.
1. Check-Ins for Team Wellness
When working remotely, employees don’t mingle with one another they would in the office. Therefore, it can be difficult to tell how a person is doing. Set weekly virtual team meetings to gauge how your team members are handing their new routine – all work aside. These meetings offer a way to show support and concern for one another. Share tips on staying healthy, address frequent concerns and discuss what’s working and what’s not when it comes to your employees’ new daily routine. Showing the company leaders care about their workforce goes a long way to motivate employees positively.
2. Make Your Communications Intentional
If organizational leaders panic, it’s easy for the tone to trickle quickly amongst employees. Your workforce looks up to management. Whether positive or negative, employees consistently and subconsciously evaluate and mimic a leader’s behavior. Thus, it’s essential to remain calm and manage negative emotions. Keep your employees updated on the current situation and encourage them to participate in the discussions. Be intentional. Bear in mind keeping a calm and even-keel demeanor is essential when dealing with low morale.
3. Keep Company Culture Consistent
When employees are uncertain and weary, it is not a good idea to change the company’s culture. Sure, working remotely changes interactions but be cognizant to keep the basic company principles steadfast. The what, how and whys your company excels at being the best in your field does not change due to a pandemic. If anything, it should make your intentions and company passion more clear. Encourage a #WFH culture along the same vein of your workplace experiences. Create an employee contest or encourage charity work. These little bits of normalcy help minimize the feelings of anxiety or isolation while working remotely.
4. Adjust Policies
With schools closing for the foreseeable future, working families are quickly overwhelmed. Without warning, working parents are now expected to be the teacher, lunch lady, and activity director for their children. This alone is a full-time job. It’s essential to be understanding and flexible in these coming weeks as all are navigating their way through unexpected changes. Until alternative solutions are found or schools open back up, allow for a less rigid work schedule. Your employees are champions for your business – trust them to complete their assigned duties on time, even if it’s outside the standard 9 to 5 window. This is no time to micro-manage or keep track of every minute of an employee’s day. Do your best to encourage and promote your employee’s positive track record of work performance and watch as productivity remains steadfast.
5. Be Professional
Your remote work behavior plays an essential role in shaping the mindset of your employees. Although it’s very tempting – don’t join video work conferences in bed while wearing your pajamas. Do your best to remain professional and maintain the status quo in terms of your appearance and behavior. Your employees will quickly follow suit, and you may even find your new normal to be better than your previous work situation.
For many companies working remotely is a new concept. Adjustments and some slight stumbling are to be expected. Being flexible and emphatic during this change guarantees your happy and productive workforce doesn’t shift even though your surroundings do. Be available, listen to feedback, and encourage positive behavior over the coming weeks. Right now is your team’s time to shine, and making sure your employees feel valued ensures company morale remains positive.