With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, many workplaces have pivoted to a remote system. As a result, most traditional methods of team building and management are no longer viable. To counter this, below are some tips to both maintain and boost team morale in remote environments.
In a world where the majority of our time is spent in front of some type of screen, it can be hard to step away from work. Over the last 8 months, employees have been logging more hours, reporting higher levels of stress and seeing an increase in responsibilities given. This is why it is important to set boundaries about the breadth, length and nature of work. Some methods to accomplish this would be to set firm hours of availability, setting automated out-of-office email responses for any communication outside of office hours, and stepping away from your work device after a set time. It is hard to shake off the ingrained obligation to reply to messages almost instantly, but setting boundaries is an important step in professional self-care.
Establishing Informal Channels of Communication
Saying that these are strange times would be a wild understatement. It is important to remember that at the end of the day, employees are also human, and they have problems, commitments and lives outside of work. It is also important to check in on colleagues and make sure that they’re doing okay. Not only will this increase team morale and show employees that their management cares about them, but it will also go towards making them more productive and increasing their efficiency.
With everything going on in the world right now, compassion fatigue is at an all-time high. It can be hard to care about things that may seem inconsequential, like answering an email or finishing a minor task. Burnout is a slow process, but one that needs to be eliminated all the same.
This aspect is especially hard for remote-first teams that have not had the chance to meet in person, as well as new teams who are working together for the first time. To mimic team bonding otherwise done in office spaces or at company retreats, it is imperative that companies introduce virtual team building activities, mainly informal in nature. This can include virtual team lunches, game nights, watching movies together on Netflix or hosting a virtual party!
Working from home is going to be the reality for many businesses and employees, at least for the near future. Thus, it is up to HR management to make sure teams are as comfortable as possible, so that everyone can thrive productively and safely.