Employee morale— or a lack thereof— can have a huge impact on the overall success of a business. When morale is high, you can expect to see employees who are more productive, motivated, and confident. Key business performance indicators like employee satisfaction and retention are also improved. With life as we know it changing so significantly in recent months, keeping morale high amongst your employees is more important than ever, particularly with many of us now working remotely. In this article, we look at four key ways you can maintain high employee morale when leading a remote team.
Work on developing a strong team bond
A Harvard Business Review study found that remote workers often feel left out at work. Sadly, the saying out of sight; out of mind is probably coming into play here, and that’s a surefire way of breeding low morale. With remote working becoming the new normal, it’s time to take team bonding seriously. Showing better communication, collaboration, conflict resolution, and trust, strong teams have higher morale and are better for business.
When we work in the office, social interactions often happens organically. From chatting over coffee in the kitchen to sharing a joke across desks, it’s easier to feel close to your colleagues when you’re physically near them. When the physical proximity is removed, you need to be more active in developing a strong team bond. You could go all in and plan virtual team building exercises, but there are also simpler ways. Scheduling in virtual team breaks is a great way to make sure you’re connecting on a personal level. These could be quick coffee breaks during the day, or a virtual after-work happy hour. Simply taking the time to ask about your colleagues’ weekends or evenings is also a nice way to build and maintain relationships.
When leading a remote team, don’t miss opportunities to acknowledge your team’s achievements. Make sure that you’re taking the time to offer recognition when tasks are completed well and highlighting individual strengths. This will help your remote workers to feel appreciated and remind them that they’re an integral part of the team.
Provide professional development opportunities
With businesses scrambling to manage the impact of COVID-19, professional development might be low down on many To do lists. But it shouldn’t be. There’s no better boost for morale when leading a remote team than showing employees that you care about their development as individuals. Professional development can take multiple different forms, but the aim is to develop new skills, stay up to date with current trends, and generally advance in your career. Nobody wants to feel like they’re stagnating at work.
At a team level, your daily video meetings offer a great opportunity for sharing knowledge. Is there a new Salesforce feature that would benefit everyone? Get your team expert to give a quick presentation on it. Have you recently watched an informative video that would be beneficial to your team? Set aside 10 minutes on Friday afternoon to watch it together and discuss.
On an individual basis, make sure that you’re giving your employees the challenge and space they need to grow. Would they like to take on additional responsibility in their current role? Are they interested in an online course that would help them to do their job better? Don’t let the fact that they’re not physically in the office stop them from pursuing new challenges.
Promote mental and physical wellbeing
Getting up and moving regularly throughout the day is necessary for a healthy body and mind. And mental breaks are also essential to help keep us in top form. When it comes to overall wellbeing, it’s important that you encourage your employees to take regular breaks. The mid-morning coffee break or an afternoon fika? There’s no reason that these moments of respite shouldn’t happen at home. They help to restore motivation, increase productivity, and relieve stress.
We already know how important a good work-life balance is, and how bad it can be for health and morale when we don’t have it. Yes, these are stressful times for businesses and it’s easier to get sucked into working longer hours when your house is now your office. But nothing is going to crush employee morale quicker than being tired and strained from constant overworking. With this in mind, try to stick as close to your normal working hours as possible and encourage your employees to do the same. After all, happy workers are more productive.
Ask for feedback
This should have been happening long before the global foray into remote working, but it’s even more important now. From making sure employees have the equipment they need to do their jobs, to their opinion on the effectiveness of remote management, you need to seek feedback. Failing to understand what’s working and what isn’t is the difference between home working success and a remote workforce that’s low in morale because their needs aren’t being met.
At Netigate, we’ve made it easy for you to gather feedback from your employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Simply log in to your account— or start your free trial now— and find the survey under Survey templates to get started.