Tips To Help Improve Employee Morale Remotely

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Since 2020 many companies have made the shift to remote working. It was considered the healthiest choice during the COVID-19 outbreak and quickly became recognized as the cheapest option for big businesses.

Working from home meant reducing building payments and boosting employee productivity. But years have passed now, and the excitement has worn off. With no one to speak to and no direct collaboration between work and success, many employees are losing morale.

We want to help you and your team boost their happiness and re-discover their love for their job. We have 15 detailed tips to improve everyone’s morale and give your company the energy it needs.

Also read: What Tools Can You Use to Streamline Your Business Operations?

Table Of Contents
 

 

Why Is Remote Employee’s Motivation Important?

You might be thinking that employees often dislike their work; it’s not the employer’s job to boost anyone’s morale. Well, thinking like that will lead to staff walkouts, resignations or an unnecessarily difficult environment.

We no longer live in a society where people have one job and stay there their entire life. People are happy to leave their current workplace to find something that suits their home life needs, their goals, and their happiness.

person sitting on chair

 

Loneliness

Back in the office, we would have casual conversations around the watercooler or a 15 minute coffee break. These brief chats were enough to fulfill our socialization needs. Even though our employers often discouraged these conversations, they were a hidden perk of working in a group.

Without something to casually talk to, a real sense of loneliness can sink in. 

From a work point of view, a lonely person is a depressed person who will act in one of two ways. They will constantly chat on your instant messaging platforms, disrupting everyone's work, or they will have no energy to work at all.

From a human connection point of view, a lonely person can develop depression which can quickly escalate to suicidal thoughts

It’s shocking how much we needed those nonsensical chats around the watercooler.

 

Camaraderie

One way to stop your team from feeling lonely is to reinforce the idea of camaraderie

Everyone in your workplace should be seen as a trusted person and a friend. This bond is what makes staff work harder during a time of crisis and push through the hardest parts of the year.

Normally we build this sense of connection through celebrating reaching a new goal, congratulating people on their hard work, and hanging out after the day is done. Usually, a quick physical meeting would be enough to build this level of community, but without a real-world get-together, it can be easy to forget these congratulations.

Without a sense of camaraderie, your employees will feel unappreciated, and you can expect a growing employee turnover rate.

 

Team Cohesion

Team cohesion is when people bond together through social links. Normally a work team will bond due to their close proximity to each other. They will talk every day in a casual manner and discuss their lives. 

Without this close physical proximity, team cohesion in a remote workplace doesn’t always form. This means workers won’t talk to each other when they need help, adding to their sense of loneliness and dipping morale.

 

Mental Health And Personal Development

We have already touched on depression due to a lack of morale in a remote working space, but it cannot be overstated. We are more aware of mental health than ever before, and knowing when to change your life if you're not happy has become an automatic thought process.

Staying in your home day after day, moving from bed to kitchen table to sofa to bed, can make you feel like you are stagnant in life. Even if the lack of social interaction didn’t bother you, the lack of change might.

As humans, we always strive for new goals and personal development. If we don’t feel as though we are progressing through life, our morale for work will dip. 

After a while, people will slow down their work as the depression sets in, or they will leave hoping to find a job that offers change.

 

Creating Work From Home Policy

All of these issues can be avoided as long as you know they exist. Reinforcing your employee’s sense of development, creating team connections, and developing a sense of camaraderie can still be achieved when you work from home.

The difference is how you achieve these goals. With a specifically developed Working From Home policy, you can keep up your workforce’s morale while remembering that an employee at home is not an employee alone.

Use our 15 tips below to create your Work From Home policy.

 

Difficulties Involved With Work From Home

Although we have already discussed issues around working from home, they will be problems that often remain hidden. Normally you can see how your employees are feeling just by looking at their face or their body language. However, behind a screen, your workforce can easily pretend like nothing is wrong, leaving you unaware of their fading morale.

The issues we are about to discuss are more obvious. These issues come from the physicality of working from home. That’s right; we want to talk about technical issues and communication barriers. These are the two most obvious issues that home workers face.

 

Technology Issues

The more workers you have at home, the more likely that some of them will have a technological problem. Without an IT specialist around the corner, you may need to wait days before the problem is fixed.

If you add this to your Working From Home policy, then when the inevitable happens, you will have time to get that worker back on track.

Other technical issues will come to light, too, not just breakages and non-functioning tech. For example, when someone is working from home, you won’t notice when they are at their desk. This means creating impromptu meetings will become very difficult.

To combat this, you will need to plan all of your meetings in advance and create a reachable calendar that all workers can see and interact with. This way, everyone can see when their next meeting is and will be alerted when a new one has been placed.

If you really need to create an impromptu meeting, you will have to be realistic with people’s availability. If only some can attend, you will simply have to call another meeting when the others are back at their desks.

 

Communication Barriers

70 to 93 percent of our communication is through body language. With this fact alone, it is obvious why talking via instant messaging and emailing can result in miscommunication.

An easy way to ruin morale is by misunderstanding someone’s communication cues. What was intended as a simple question could come across as an insult. A helpful way to show off your missing body language is by using emojis; however, they are not always appropriate.

For example, when talking to a client, adding an emoji to the email will make you look unprofessional. However, an emoji can replace your facial expressions and hand gestures when talking to your work friends. 

Ideally, a video call will help eliminate this problem. If there is tension building in a team, ask for a video call to help smooth things out. It could be beneficial to have a weekly video call, too, so everyone can see each other’s faces and remember how someone speaks in relation to their messages.

It can be easy to forget that there is a thinking, feeling person behind the screen. Reaffirming our non-verbal communication with moments of visual communication (like video calls) can help us remember that we are all doing our best.

 

15 Ways To Improve Motivation

These 15 motivation tools can be a lifesaver to your remote working force. We suggest bookmarking this page and scrolling through the list every month. There are some ideas you should be using every week, but others can be applied to boost morale on the odd occasion.

With the activity-based suggestions, randomly pick a motivation strategy to keep everything feeling fresh.

Also read: Employee Motivation Strategies

people on screens

 

  1. Online Pep Rallies And Shake-Up Sessions

Pep rallies are a fun way to build friendships and boost the atmosphere in your remote workplace. These rallies are designed to be social, let people chat until their heart's content, and show pride in their work or the team at large.

No actual work should occur in these meetings, instead set aside 30 minutes to an hour for people to chat nonsense in a team gathering.

Ideally, you should have these meetings once a week and dish them out to small groups. That way, everyone has a chance to speak, and it will feel as though friends are gathering.

You can have the meeting first thing on a Monday morning to start the week off with high-energy conversations. Or a Wednesday afternoon to help those in the midweek slump. Perhaps choose a Friday as a last hoorah to end the week feeling happy.

 

  1. Consistent 1-to-1’s

To help the workforce feel like a team instead of a one-person job, it can be helpful to attach a name to a face.

Depending on the size of your company, your workforce should have a 1-to-1 meeting with their supervisor every month. They should also have a 1-to-1 meeting with the CEO every 6 months. 

This suggested time scale is designed to give the supervisor and CEO time to get work done between each meeting while making a true connection to the individuals they manage.

The 1-to-1 meetings could bring to light issues an employee didn’t have the courage to talk about in front of others, or it could be a simple method to force connections and bonds between a worker and their team.

It can be easy for a supervisor to give genuine praise to their team member when there are just the two of them speaking. This will make your workforce feel heard, valued, and respected as people instead of cogs in a machine. 

 

  1. Follow Global Trends

Typically your workplace will build jokes and trends just by being around each other, but without this face-to-face interaction, your workers will be looking at the online world for social interaction instead.

To bring this online world into your workplace and allow it to strengthen your social connections, you should bring tending memes and global interests into conversations. Ask everyone for their thoughts on the latest Marvel movie, or perhaps you can recommend a great book to a known reader.

Starting off these conversations will pique your workforce’s interests, giving them space to talk about these trends in a social setting. This will build bonds between everyone in the conversion and allow your staff to feel connected to their co-workers - boosting morale.

 

  1. Showing Faith And Trust To Employees

Before this global shift of working from home, the concept of taking a company laptop away from the building was only given to top-ranking members of the company. No one else was allowed to use this privilege.

Giving workers laptops and allowing them to work from home forced big businesses to loosen their grip on their staff and trust them to still work.

By itself, this was a massive boost to employees at the time, as it gave them freedom and the ability to prove themselves. But now, this is a normal part of working from home, and the trust element has faded as everyone is in the same boat.

To make your employees feel as though they are trusted and respected members of the team, you should give them opportunities to work on projects alone or help other people out. When an employee feels trusted, they are more likely to perform better and feel camaraderie for their job. 

 

  1. Set Targets For Reward

Positive reinforcement in any area of life is a proven method to promote motivation as well as success. The same is true in the workplace.

Setting goals for your employees and offering harmless rewards for them will create a sense of empowerment to those hitting their targets and encouragement to those on their way.

The rewards could be as simplistic as digital badges, which automatically come up when the goal has been achieved. Or perhaps you want to offer your employees special privileges like a half-day off.

The most effective motivator is often money, so you can offer a bonus to those who exceed their target every month.

 

  1. Communication Is Key

Your workers are the heart of your business. Without them, the company will not succeed. To help your employees feel motivated and happy to stay in your team, you need to listen to their ideas, needs, and suggestions.

Make sure that your workplace is still an open space to communicate even though there is no way to “casually drop in.” Instead, encourage your employees to speak up, ask questions, and suggest improvements. And when these ideas come forth, be sure to listen to them, evaluate them, and give a thoughtful response.

Even if you don’t use these ideas that were brought forward, your employees will feel valued and listened to 

 

  1. Be Free To Experiment

We no longer work in a cubicle, and we no longer work in an office block. This is a pinnacle time to figure out a new way of working. Experiment with your employees and ask for their suggestions. It could be that flexible working hours will help them reach better results, or maybe group zoom meetings can help people stay motivated as they work.

Experiment and figure it out together! If it’s clear something doesn’t work, then at least you can cross it off the list of “what if’s.”

 

  1. Encourage Feedback And Constructive Criticism

Encourage your employees to give feedback about their work, their experience, and anything else they want to share. 

Hearing about their constructive criticism can give you a direct reflection of their opinions. If everything is negative and lots of people are offering the same feedback, then you’ll have a clear message to follow.

Giving this space for constructive criticism shows the workforce that they matter. Their opinions matter. This “give and take” of understanding is what brings loyalty, trust, and bonds to your working environment.

However, the flip side of this is when the feedback is rejected. Sometimes employees suggest something that simply cannot be done. In these situations, it’s important to explain why and how the current situation is needed. 

Adding additional information to the background of this problem will show your employees that they are not just being batted away. They were listened to, but for reasons they were unaware of, the fix wasn’t so simple.

 

  1. Organize Virtual Team Building Activities

To make your workplace feel like less of a chore, it’s important to build friendships. The best way to build friendships is normally by putting a bunch of random people together and allowing them to chat about nonsense throughout the day. However, in the “work from home” era, that isn’t possible.

Instead, we suggest playing virtual team-building games. These games could be as simple as a quiz or as daring as Taskmaster.

Taskmaster is a wonderful game where one person creates obscured tasks for the others to complete. The task could be, “find the most pointy object in your home,” “Draw a picture of me using items from your kitchen cupboard,” “Take 10 pictures of yourself holding progressively smaller objects,” or more. After everyone has completed the task, they share their findings with the group for a hilarious result.

 

  1. Providing The Best Equipment And Tools For The Role

If you were working in an office, you would expect the health and safety standard to be in accordance with the law. The same should still hold true for home working.

To stop your workers from getting a bad back or a stiff neck, they need to have a suitable desk with a firm chair. Of course, this answer assumes your workers use a computer.

Whatever your workers will be doing, they should receive the same standard of tools as if they were working in the office.

If any of the tools break, then the business needs to replace them.

If you instead offer your employees the bare minimum and expect them to make up the slack, they will not feel appreciated or looked after. 

 

  1. Offer Health Benefits

If your workers feel secure in their health, then they are more likely to appreciate their work. Offering your employees health benefits will allow them to breathe easy, knowing that if the worst happens, they will be financially secure.

Ideally, in this time of crisis, if your health benefits include the dreaded CoronaVirus, too, then this sense of security will be even bigger. Corona is the biggest worry on most people’s minds, so knowing that this issue is covered will breathe a sigh of relief to your employees.

And if your businesses can stretch this far, offering health benefits to your employee’s family would add a big smile to anyone's face. This shows that you care about your employees well being, and also their loved ones.

If their family members are not well, then, of course, your employee won’t be able to focus on their work. Keeping them safe means keeping your business safe too.

 

  1. Innovate Incentives

To help boost your employee’s morale and help them reach one step further in their goals, you may need to implement an incentive.

While at home, your workers are going to have a lot of online entertainment. Even if they prefer the great outdoors, they will likely be buying items and food from online stores.

To help them reach their online goals, make your incentives online-based too. Perhaps offer Amazon vouchers when they go over their target.

These incentives will be seen as super useful in our world of online entertainment and shopping, which is why your employees will stretch that much further for this bonus.

Also read: 10 Employee Incentive Programs That Will Massively Engage Your Team

 

  1. Offer Online Learning For Upskilling

Many people only feel happy in their job when they are learning or being challenged. To ensure these personality types are having their needs met, offer online learning classes.

To benefit everyone involved, it would be best to have classes on topics connected to your business. This way, your workers can grow in your company and bring more expert knowledge to the table. 

However, you can apply for websites with classes in all manner of topics.

This could help your employees develop skills utterly unrelated to their job, bringing insight that would otherwise be unrealized. Not only will this bring more rounded knowledge platelets to the business, but it will also boost their bonds to the company, knowing that they are helping with this hobby. 

 

  1. Give The Option For Flexible Hours

If your business isn’t customer-facing, then you probably don’t need a strict 9-5 working pace. In fact, depending on your job type, you might not even need Monday to Friday working pace.

Knowing how your customers, clients, and workload interact should help determine when your workers need to be at their desks. If time is irrelevant, it might be more prudent to monitor work compilation rates instead of hours. 

This will give your employees the ability to work at a time that suits them. That would mean leaving their desk to pick up their children, go to the dentist, or even see friends. 

The flexibility could then allow them to catch up on their work when it’s more convenient for them. This could mean working on the weekends when no one is around, starting much earlier than your brick and mortar building would normally allow, or separating their week into more manageable chunks of time.

This type of flexibility allows your workers to feel in control of their life, and grateful for the unusual opportunities it gives.

Unfortunately, not everyone does well with this level of freedom. Some people need a strict 9-5 work schedule, otherwise, they end up doing no work at all. This is why we suggest offering this flexibility but not enforcing it. 

If someone’s productivity dips, don’t punish the whole team. Ask the person if they would prefer a structured work environment to help them concentrate.

 

  1. Giving Your Employees Space

When you are working remotely, it can be tempting to watch your employees like a hawk. Spending all of your time looking at productivity and monitoring how often their instant messaging goes offline.

This type of surveillance isn’t helpful to anyone. It will create an atmosphere of tension and mistrust in your workforce, and you will start picking up on little details that do not help anyone.

Instead, give your employees the space to breathe and work at their own pace. With no one breathing down their neck, they might take longer to complete a project, but they will likely finish the work at a better quality than before.

Also read: How to Create an Employee Compensation Plan that is Effective

 

Tips To Consider

Working in an office and working at home offers completely different social dynamics for us all to re-learn. To ensure you and your employees don’t fall into easily avoidable upsets, we have some tips that you can share with your workforce.

people on the sofa

 

Online Etiquette

To make sure everyone starts off on the right foot, we want to share a couple of online etiquette tips. These will help everyone create a functional and respectable meeting experience.

The first thing you should be aware of is time zones. If people are working in different time zones, you shouldn’t ask for meetings during their non-working times. 

Secondly, you should put yourself on mute whenever you are in a video meeting and don’t need to talk. No one needs to hear your washing machine going off or your children talking in the background. 

Thirdly, don’t forget to be professional when it comes to backgrounds. Many video conferencing applications allow you to put some background on your camera, but these can be distracting, confusing to remove, and simply unprofessional. 

Lastly, be respectful of people’s work hours. This doesn’t mean understanding when 9-5 would be in a different time zone but recognizing that people might be working flexible hours. Trust that your colleagues will get back to you when they are working. Don’t try to get them to their desk outside of their working schedule. 

Also read: Branding Your Business For 2022

 

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is all about being empathetic, inclusive, and respectable to people. These are traits that all good managers have, and all working from home workforces need.

If you talk to an employee, you should look for signs of struggle. Empathize with their issues and genuinely try to help them through problems. 

Because we cannot see people’s faces or read their body language, we need to be more proactive than normal to understand how our employees feel.

If a struggling employee is left to their own devices, they will slip into depression. To stop this before it happens, create 1-to-1 meetings and encourage open talking.

 

An Open Door Approach For Employees

The classic open door policy is when managers say that you can always come and knock on their door for a chat. As a manager, their job is to help their employees, so they don’t want the team to feel as if the door is ever closed.

Doing this online is just as important as in the office. Your team needs to know that you are ready to chat whenever you can. One way to make sure that your team knows they can message you whenever, is to tell them when you are not free.

Drop a message saying, “Sorry, team, I’m busy from 10 to 2 today, but if anyone messages me, I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.” Simple communication like this reminds your team that they can chat with you.

 

Summary

Understanding how your employees feel when they are isolated at home can help you connect to their needs. Your workforce is the heart of your business, and you need them to be happy to create true success.
Allowing casual conversations, social online gatherings, and flexible working hours are just a few ways to keep your employee’s morale high. A high morale means more quality work and happy long-term employees. Ensuring that employees receive their pay stubs correctly and efficiently can greatly increase their morale. Our online pay stub maker can do exactly that.

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Tips To Help Improve Employee Morale Remotely
James Wilson

After graduating from McCombs School of Business in Texas, James joined ThePayStubs as a CPA to make sure the numbers we provide our clients are corre... Read More

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