What Employers Should Know When Returning to Work in NYC Pt. 2 - Zupnick Associates

As cases of COVID-19 continue, feeling of doubt and anxiety among New Yorkers who are returning to work increases. Many employees feel that their normal work routines have been turned upside down due to remote working and mandated quarantine. A survey of HR professionals conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that 65% of employers are struggling with maintaining employee morale during COVID-19. As the pandemic continues to disrupt many work environments, it is vital that business owners and HR managers make it a priority to improve the mental health and morale of their workforce. Why Employee Morale Should be a Priority

Years of research indicates that high employee morale is associated with improved relationships between employees, and employees and management, lower absenteeism, increased teamwork, better attention to detail, higher productivity, and better retention rates. All these factors add up to a more efficient and profitable business. Improving morale is even more important during COVID-19 when many workers feel isolated and lonely due to remote working and social distancing. 


How You Can Improve Morale Now

Here are some ways in which you can boost your employee morale straight away:

  • Stay flexible: Flexibility is important in all aspects of the running or your company at this time. Whether you are designating day-to-day workloads or embarking on employee performance assessments, you need to remain aware of the challenges your team members are facing as they juggle their work lives and personal lives during COVID-19. 
  • Encourage healthy habits: As a leader, you can develop opportunities that can help employees stay strong, physically, mentally, and emotionally. You can do this by encouraging healthy habits, such as taking breaks, eating regularly, and getting enough sleep. These aspects are particularly important for workers who are also caring for their families.
  • Facilitate remote working: Whether you like it or not, remote working is becoming a new norm. Because of this, as a business leader, you need to implement changes that will help to maintain a high level of motivation and productivity among your employees. Consider how you can adapt team structure to make them more amenable to remote workers. The decisions you make now will have a long-term impact on your company’s reputation, so showing empathy to your workers and prioritizing their mental health will make their employee experience more meaningful. 
  • Keep communicating: Don’t let your remote employees feel that they have gone adrift and that you have forgotten about them. Keep communications concise and clear. Send out regular emails to keep employees up to date. It’s also a good idea to plan regular check-in meetings via conference call or video. 
  • Promote work-life balance: Try to understand how some employees may be finding these times more difficult than others because they are not used to remote working. They may find themselves distracted by circumstances around them in the home. Help employees develop a new work routine that will accommodate their current situation. For example, encourage them to take small work breaks throughout the day.
  • Encourage feedback: For many workers, remote working is unprecedented, so it’s a good idea to ask for feedback. You should welcome any suggestions and share feedback amongst employees. As well as providing you with important information, this will help your workers feel that their opinions are valued.

Maintaining Employee Morale

Although New York is introducing a phased return to work, currently, there is no end to COVID-19 in sight. So, it’s down to business leaders and HR managers to keep employee morale as high as possible and empower your team to work efficiently and effectively over the coming months.  To this end, direction and clarity of purpose are just as important as clear communication. Check in with your employees regularly to make sure they are still on track and to find out if they need more direction. Regular updates are important even if little has changed. Furthermore, don’t forget to remind your employees what a great job they are doing even under very difficult circumstances. Recognition of their contributions goes a long way to boosting morale and maintain employee loyalty.  

COVID-19 has changed business for owners, managers, and employees in ways that were not foreseen they have caused companies to make many changes that may stay with us forever. An important thing to remember is that if you had good employee morale before the coronavirus disrupted everyone’s lives, then you already know how to make it happen. The same ground rules still apply. Connect with your employees regularly, listen to what they have to say, make work enjoyable, and focus on what’s important right now. Remember, these are your people, and if you take care of them, they will take care of your company.

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