Working from home may be the new normal for many employees, especially white-collar workers, for the foreseeable future. But as beneficial as remote working can be in principle, everyone being forced into it by a pandemic is suboptimal. One study found a 13% boost in productivity from remote working … until it was extended to everyone, at which point the productivity benefits disappeared due to widespread feelings of loneliness, isolation, and loss of morale. Indeed, it has been a real challenge for employers: a survey earlier this year by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that two-thirds of employers are struggling to maintain employee morale during the pandemic.
What can employers do to boost morale and engagement? Here are 7 ideas.
1. Loneliness is a morale killer. According to The Next Web (TNW), it’s the second most common challenge cited by employees working from home. Counter it by hosting virtual get togethers designed specifically to let the team socialize and let off steam.
2. You can also create a virtual “watercooler” that’s open all day for employees to pop in and out of. For example, open a Zoom meeting designated specifically for chatting and leave it up all day, or create dedicated Slack channels for non-business socializing.
3. Know what you’re up against. TNW also found that an inability to unplug, a lack of daily structure, and too many tele-meetings were making things hard on their employees. Figure out what your employees are struggling against so you can take steps specific to your situation.
4. Implement more flex options. If the pressures of balancing family, kids, and work all at once are a problem, give employees more options to work alternative hours or take additional time off. It’s better than risking burnout and losing the employees permanently.
5. Adjust your expectations. If employers don’t adjust productivity and performance requirements in alignment with the realities facing your workforce, you can end up putting employees in impossible situations. That will destroy morale and engagement faster than anything.
6. Don’t rely on Zoom or other teleconferencing platforms for every interaction. Zoom fatigue is a real phenomenon. Many interactions can be handled as a phone call, chat, or email just as easily as with a full meeting.
7. Do something fun! For example, CNBC reports that financial services group Lincoln Financial launched a virtual “Lincoln’s Got Talent” competition on its internal social media app. Giving employees something fun and interesting to do can be a real stress-buster.
CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.