Keeping morale in the workplace high can be difficult at the best of times, but when there’s a global pandemic and world-wide recession, morale is sure to have suffered this year more than any other. With more and more of us working from home, you may have found that morale and therefore productivity may have fallen. If this is the case, we have some things for you to consider to ensure you can start the new year as you mean to go on.
What can cause low workplace morale?
Many businesses face an uncertain future as a result of the pandemic, with over 21,000 businesses closing their doors for the final time. This can cause many employees to fear for their job which can affect morale. While the furlough scheme was welcomed by many employers, for employees it was a double-edged sword. For those that were furloughed there was uncertainty surrounding the future of their job as well as their place within the team, and for those members who weren’t furloughed there was growing resentment that their colleagues were off for extended periods whilst still being paid.
Workplace bullying and harassment can also be the cause of declining morale. Whether working from home or back in the office, it can have a detrimental impact not only on the people involved but on the team as a whole. This is often further compounded if it’s the management who are responsible for the bullying or they are ineffectual at dealing with it.
In addition, a lack of recognition for the work done can affect some individual’s performance. While not every employee responds to the same type of recognition, most of them would be happy to have their efforts recognised in some way. It doesn’t have to be some grand gesture, even an email with a sincere thanks can be enough to transform their motivation.
How to resolve low morale?
Firstly, recognising there is a morale issue will help you uncover where to start. Gaining feedback from employees will give you more of an idea of where things to need to change and how. If feedback is anonymous, you are more likely to receive responses.
Bringing in external interim management can also shed new light on old issues and provide solutions to problems. Sometimes having a fresh pair of eyes, and someone who is unaware of the workplace politics can help re-instil positive company values within the team.
While many of us may not be working together like we have in the past, encouraging team members to socialise – even if via Zoom or Teams will foster those relationships that are needed for morale. But this shouldn’t be forced or mandatory or it could further decrease morale.