Even if your organization had high morale in the pre-pandemic era, a lot can change during five or more months spent working from home. Not only are your employees faced with fewer recreational options, they are also struggling with family demands and sub-par working conditions. They may fear losing their jobs and are anxious about the uncertain economic future. They might have health concerns for themselves, loved ones and colleagues. Add this to the workload and your staff could be showing signs of fatigue and burnout.
You can overcome pandemic burnout in the workplace by using some pre-pandemic strategies that acknowledge our current global situation.
Seek Ideas from the Ground Up
As a supervisor or manager, you have probably noticed changes in work performance. Perhaps some employees are less productive while others have shown greater productivity. The number of daily meetings could be reduced or could have substantially increased. Whatever these changes are, identify the helpful changes and the less-than-helpful ones. Get feedback from employees about what works for them and what doesn’t work for them. Then, seek ideas and ground-up solutions. With so much out of our daily control, the chance to take some control over the work environment can improve morale.
Address Barriers that Cause Demoralizing Stress
Demoralizing stress is defined as the type of stress that is caused by inadequate materials, equipment or time needed to successfully complete a task or project. An employee using an internet connection that can’t support Zoom meetings because their child is learning remotely on the same bandwidth is an example of pandemic-induced demoralizing stress. As a manager, you can act on this employee’s feedback and begin to schedule fewer virtual meetings. The impact on the employee’s morale will serve you better than an employee who can’t participate effectively in the group.
Recognize Skill and Triumphs
The triumph bar is a bit lower than it was in pre-pandemic times. Sometimes the smallest tasks seem like a big accomplishment. Rewarding employees on a daily basis by recognizing their ability to overcome obstacles and complete tasks can improve individual morale. Rewards can range from gift cards to meal delivery to simple one-on-one dialogue.
Communication with each member of your team is vital during these times of increased distance. Learn about each staff member’s needs. Respect their need to prioritize their health. Seek opportunities to show kindness. These simple acts will serve you well during the pandemic and after.