In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the world of work has forever been changed with flexible hours being introduced and concerns raised over the mental health of workers, leading many managers, business owners and employers looking at ways to keep their staff happy and working most productively.
So, with this in mind, we thought we can plan a few quick tips to help you get the best out of your workforce and put your coworkers minds at ease when they return to the office post-pandemic. Let’s get started!
- Keep In Touch
After workers have been used to spending a lot more time on their own it’s now more important than ever to keep in touch and collaborate with them on a regular basis, otherwise, they may start to feel more isolated and less motivated to complete their work. Similarly, they may feel less of a connection to their job and their role, since they will be missing out on a lot of the team meetings due to social distancing. So, it’s important to address that before it’s too late to undo.
- Prioritise The Work/Life Balance
Everyone’s situations are different, so it’s important to bear that in mind when trying to encourage your staff. Certain coworkers, for example, will have children, and after so long homeschooling them they may struggle to fit back into the office’s traditional 9 AM – 5 PM working day anymore. So, to show your staff that you’re on their side, why not make the work-life balance a priority?
Demonstrate to them that you appreciate the situation they’re in and trust them to get the work required of them completed around their other commitments – you may just find they work more productively for you as a result. Likewise, as they may feel uncomfortable about coming into the workplace at the moment, try to put their mind at ease by offering them an appropriate, non-invasive COVID-19 antigen test and ensuring you have a number of COVID-secure measures in place.
- Offer Incentives
During the pandemic, there has been a lot of negative press going around, as well as an unnerving air of uncertainty. So, instead of leaving your staff to swill in this atmosphere, why not incentivise them to work harder and smarter for you instead? Whether it be through more money, an extra day’s holiday or a change to their working timetable, there are a whole host of effective ways to motivate your staff to enjoy and feel much happier in their work.
Say, for instance, you have a staff member who has recently been struggling to balance work with home-schooling their children. By giving them a temporarily reduced workload or the ability to work more flexibly, this could help reduce their stress level significantly, allowing them to complete their work when they’re more focused and able to.
- Hire Happy People
While it may sound fairly obvious, if you employ people who give off more of a happy persona, your business is likely to benefit as a result – both working more productively and injecting a bit of fun and laughter into the workforce.
The last thing anyone wants, after all, is to have a working atmosphere that’s flat, stressful or demotivating. Therefore, you need to work towards creating a happier workplace, where people don’t dread the thought of having to work or can’t wait to clock off – and this all comes from the staff you employ.
Hiring the right staff could not only improve the level of engagement an employee feels with their work, but it could also help develop a contagious feeling of optimism that spreads across the entire business.
- Praise Your Staff
Everyone loves getting positive feedback on a job well done. Not only does it help remotivate employees, but also it demonstrates the level of trust you, as a manager, have in them, which can only be a good thing. In fact, statistics have shown that feeling underappreciated at work is the number one reason why people leave their job, beating out things like a low salary, limited holiday or not enough flexibility.
Therefore, by offering praise and recognising your employee’s achievements on a regular basis, you could see a big difference in team morale.
Even if it’s just a quick mention during a huddle or a brief mention in an email, a little can go a long way, so make sure you take the time to thank and appreciate your staff for the effort they’re putting in – especially over this trying period.
- Encourage Health/Wellness Programs
It’s no secret that exercising regularly can have a huge impact on both the physical and mental health of your employees. So, if you’ve noticed any staff members working more unproductively than usual lately, why not help steer them in the right direction? Health and wellness programs come in all shapes and sizes, after all. Whether it be through a team yoga session, a gym membership initiative or inviting a specialist masseuse in, there are a number of great ways to help your staff become healthier and less stressed.
In doing so, you could see a big difference in terms of both their overall productivity and happiness, which can only be a good thing.
- Don’t Micro-Manage
Put simply, you need to trust your employees. So, the more you check over every single detail of the work they do, the more stressed out and under-confident they will feel in their role as a result.
As such, it’s important to avoid micromanaging them where you can. No employee likes feeling their performance is always on their boss’s radar, or as if their work is constantly being scrutinised. Over time, these feelings will only lead to poorer performance and, ultimately, a bitter resentment towards their job.
So, while you may have a responsibility to ensure the work gets done on time, try to loosen the reins a little and demonstrate to your employees how much faith you have in them.
Likewise, remember why you hired them in the first place and trust in their decisions. That way, you’ll keep their confidence high which should only lead to your business operating more successfully.
- Make The Work Fulfilling
No employee likes working for the sake of it. Many will want to get something out of it – a sense that their work has made a significant difference either to themselves or the company they work for.
So, in order for your team members to feel good about the work they’re doing, you have to remind them of what the company’s ultimate purpose is and clarify how important a role they have to play in achieving that. In essence, the more connected an employee can feel to their work, the better they will feel.
This is because we all, as humans, like to understand how and why our work is contributing to the greater good. So, the easiest way to show this to your employees is by giving them a firm understanding of all the inner workings, angles and perspectives of your business. Similarly, it’s important to ensure the work you allocate is appropriate and fulfilling. If a staff member feels as if their skillset is being under-utilised or they aren’t getting anything from the work they’re being asked to do, for example, they may be more tempted to look elsewhere for work.
The coronavirus pandemic has put much more of an onus on employers to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their staff, creating a workplace that is not only happier but highly efficient as well. And, while achieving that in the current climate may be difficult on the surface, by following the hints and tips listed above, you should notice a significant difference in the overall atmosphere of your workforce. The key thing to remember is to ask and listen to your staff. You’re all in this together, after all, so only by working as a team will you be able to implement any effective changes that last long after the pandemic has been and gone.
Photo credits: coworkinglondon.com