Keeping Employee Morale Up

By Kaitlin Hurtado on May 15, 2020

While you may have thought getting your employee morale up to overcome the midweek slump was difficult months ago, you probably never imagined how hard keeping employee morale up during a pandemic could be. Whether your company qualifies as an essential or nonessential business, your work is being affected in some way, and your employees are also being affected as they face their new normal. It’s not hard to imagine why or how employee morale may be going down in this uncertain time. Even if they feel like their jobs are the more secure part of their jobs, their personal lives and the world around them can still have a great impact on the morale in the workplace. As an employer, you may be wondering just how you can keep employee morale up, even if you aren’t exactly able to see them face-to-face. We’ve compiled a list of tricks to help you in keeping employee morale up.

Photo: Pexels

Shift focus on essential projects and deadlines

The sudden change to complete remote work can be plenty for anyone to handle, especially for those that don’t have much experience in working from home. There are also external factors to consider — kids at home and needing homeschooling and surveillance, personal stressors, and so on.

A typical workday in the office is much harder to replicate in a virtual setting. Learning how to shift priorities as they come and dropping nonessential tasks can be key in keeping employee morale up and avoiding overwhelming your employees. This can be something as simple as opting for a quick email/chat exchange rather than a staff-wide conference call. While small, it can be taking time away from employees that don’t necessarily need to be on the meeting and need to be on other, more essential tasks.

Likewise, some projects will hold lesser value if conducted virtually or remotely. If you notice these aren’t essential or need to be reworked to be done more efficiently virtually, put them on the backburner for more essential, prioritized tasks. Ask your employees how they think a project can be reworked so that it can be completed more efficiently through remote work or collaboration.

 Maintain a work-life balance 

Establishing a clearer line to achieve a work-life balance was a lot easier when people had to physically commute to and from the office. Now that people are working from their homes, that physical distance is cut off and their work-life is being thrust into their living quarters. Thus, your employees may be feeling like they are expected to always be “on” — essentially waiting on standby out of typical work hours. As an employer, it’s important to keep this in mind as you dole out duties. If you’re assigning something toward the end of the workday, keep in mind that your employee may take it as “This task is essential and has to be done by end-of-day.”

When assigning tasks and projects out, associating them with existing deadlines and priorities can help your employees prioritize and organize their workload. Assigning projects with clear deadlines and priority can also help employees navigate their daily schedules as they are faced with distractions at home, such as keeping up with their children or even taking some time to give themselves a much-needed break.

Avoiding overwhelming your employees with tasks and workloads day after day can help you in keeping up employee morale.

Ask for feedback and listen to it 

While you think you may be doing a great job leading your employees as you transition into working remotely as your new normal, your employees can be experiencing the transition differently. It’s not just their work life that’s facing changes, but other aspects. Especially if they are back home taking care of kids or family, they are going to have their day-to-day schedules directly impacted. What may be your morning meeting is getting their children set up for morning classes, or getting them food.

Make an effort to ask your employees for feedback on home working from home is. From if meeting times are working for their schedules and if they need it to be more flexible to the amount of work they are receiving day to day. Even more important than asking for feedback is implementing what you learn from your employee’s feedback. Don’t just ask for it and then sit on it — your employees are more likely to feel unheard and unmotivated if their feedback is ignored. Instead, incorporate feedback where it’s applicable. Communicate any changes to your team, relaying what kind of feedback inspired some changes, and then ask for feedback again to see if the changes have helped in any way.

As we settle into our new normal, keeping employee morale up can be key to maintaining efficiency within your team. With these tips in mind, the transition can be a little easier.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
UC Irvine
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a fourth year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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