2020 has put the workforce through quite the ringer. Many companies have faced many changes that no one could have predicted. Although some changes have been positive, the new normal of working from home or working in an office/home hybrid role has made it more difficult for employers to spot the signs of low employee morale.
Here are three ways to note low morale and how to combat it:
The largest part of a business’s success is ensuring its team members are on the same page. Workers need to have consistent access to job-related information and feedback; it is important to deliver this information promptly. When the flow of consistent and timely communication begins to break down, it is common for employees to feel fatigued, and this lack of energy can lead to even more confusion, creating a vicious cycle of low worker morale that amplifies upon itself.
Look for signs that employees are having trouble tackling their day-to-day activities and look for changes in their productivity levels. Confusion related morale issues are commonly seen during times of change: when bringing in new employees into the team, changes in management, department restructure, etc.
Maintaining your office morale is necessary to ensure everyone knows their roles, and your managers feel empowered to make decisions. Small problems can snowball into confusion. It never hurts to do several check-ins throughout the workweek.
If productivity has dropped, spend some time with your workers to find out where the bottleneck is and remember to keep an approachable work environment where questions are welcomed and not met with annoyance. This helps your team’s communication and strengthens their connections with each other.
It is common for employees to feel frustrated on occasion, even more so with the uncertainties of the current corporate landscape. However, studies have consistently shown, in the workplace, that pessimism spreads faster than optimism does. It only takes a single employee with poor stress management skills to spread frustration and negativity throughout your workplace. Of course, these negative feelings can quickly lead to an emotionally drained workplace.
Make sure your team’s internal communication provides various ways for employees to give feedback to management, and ensure your company takes this feedback seriously. If the negativity is caused by poor processes, make sure to address these issues with employees and find out if you are doing enough to solve the problem.
There are always going to be some ebbs and flows in employee production throughout the year; however, you want your workers to be in a relatively consistent (and healthy) range.
Processes that remain unchanged tend to see fatigue wear down on their effectiveness over time. Not only this, but too much work can cause workers unneeded stress on the job, which can lower productivity and increase mistakes. Even worse, being overworked can affect workers’ personal lives, which can lead to poor sleep, health issues, and distractions while on the job.
Work-related stress can also lead to high turnover, resulting in a less experienced workforce and can cause a work environment to be unstable.
The key to preventing overworking on the job is encouraging employees to take breaks. Small breaks can be helpful as well; a five-minute breather after completing certain tasks, for example, can help your employees stay refreshed throughout their shifts. If your employees work alone, finding ways to help them take breaks together can help them remain focused.
Another way to help keep workload overload at bay is for leaders to constantly be searching for ways to refresh their operational processes while being mindful of mental fatigue. Not only can these changes create efficiencies, but the updates to a team’s workflow also sends the message that leadership values what they do (and as a consequence, them) enough to want to reinvest in the department.
Putting It All Together
Whether it happens suddenly or slowly over time, employee burnout will occur if leaders do not actively take actions to combat it. Make sure your business regularly measures and collects feedback from its employees and includes them on the changes their input inspired.
Encourage employees to be honest; workers are sometimes reluctant to report problems, so assure them you are interested in their feedback and there are no negative consequences for providing constructive criticism.
Managing your employee’s morale is part of running a successful business. When your workforce is productive, you will be more stable and prosperous.