The covid-19 pandemic has forced almost everyone to work from home. With no more commutes to work (especially from the lockdowns), virtual meetings have become the norm, with most employees having to spend long hours in front of their computer screens for months. However, the thought of having to continue working from home for the next few months or years is disheartening and demoralizing.
A survey conducted by the UK Office for National Statistics shows a 5% and 3% rise in depression levels in men and women, respectively. The sharp rise in depression has been attributed to the frequent lockdowns due to the global pandemic. It is thus your responsibility, as the employer, to keep employees engaged and motivated for improved productivity. Here are a few tips and ideas on how to keep your employees motivated during these challenging times.
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1. Be Kind
How you treat your employees has a direct impact on their performance and motivation. As cliché as it may sound, a kind word to your employees can brighten their day. This is especially important with everyone working remotely without the support of fellow team members. Be sure to use polite words if one makes a mistake, and show them how it should be done, if possible. Using harsh words on your employees, even when they seem to deserve it, will only demoralize them, and especially if/when they invested so much time on the project/assignment.
Learn to show gratitude for even the simplest achievements and milestones your staff members make. While you don’t necessarily have to announce his/her performance to everyone, a simple ‘thank you’ for completing a task successfully goes a long way in putting a smile on their face. Such words of gratitude and concern aren’t always on most employer/managers’ lips, a reason your employees will feel appreciated and valued when you do.
Don’t just be kind to the employees, but yourself too. Learn to appreciate the little achievements and milestones you make as a team. It’s only when you are kind to yourself that it will be possible to show others the same.
2. Be Creative
Allowing and encouraging team members to explore their creative talent can help boost their morale as well. Allowing them to use their creativity when working on projects and away from the same provides a healthy distraction and is therapeutic. Although you might know this already, creativity unlocks a person’s thinking potential, making it easier to handle complicated tasks with ease. A creative person engages the right sphere of the brain, enabling him/her to excel in visuals, dreams, arts, and other creative ideas. Encouraging creativity also helps inhibit the production of cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress and depression.
3. Offer Rewards
Offering a reward for particular accomplishments can help keep your employees motivated too. While providing a prize to the highest performance might help, a collective reward is considerably much better. This means rewarding everyone for their collaborative effort of pushing the company forward and realizing certain milestones. These rewards don’t necessarily have to be monetary – allowing them to work half-day, then spend the rest of the day with their family and friends would be welcome, even in the post-covid era. Some employers have even taken to giving an extra ‘bank’ holiday to their employees for their performance during the lockdown.
4. Connect with Others
Don’t let the lockdown force you into confining your life within your house. Connecting with your workmates, family, and even friends (online) can help fight stress and anxiety. You, too, as an employer, can take a proactive approach to connect with your employees as well. Take a moment of your time to reach out to one or so, to see how they are coping with the pandemic, will go a long way in building rapport with them.
Creating a platform where employees, managers, and even employers can share their experiences and challenges during tough times would be a welcome move too. Simply sharing your experiences, and especially the irritation and frustration of working from home (as shared by a Fintech leader), will help others to open up and even know they aren’t alone in this. Sharing such experiences motivates everyone in the platform, hence good for productivity and personal wellbeing as well.