It’s dark outside. It’s cold. You’re now in your third lockdown from the time the pandemic began, and days are moving fast, where you spend most of your time with colleagues making long Teams calls, having not met in person for months. The end of a difficult and challenging time seems to be approaching but it seems like your morale is decreasing each day.
The post-Christmas low was a phenomenon that was known even before people heard of the phrases ‘social distancing’, ‘global pandemic’, and ‘Covid-19’. According to the UK Office for National Statistics, there was a 3% increase in depression in women, and on the other hand, a 5% rise of the same in men in January – and that happened before the global pandemic and a lockdown in the new year. Management training courses emphasise the importance of small actions like those mentioned below.
During tough times, kind words from those in authority can be the difference between a good and a bad day. Never estimate your power to impact the workplace mood of your team as a leader, even when you are very far away. Similarly, a snippy email since there was a rush, or a response that’s not well thought out on some work someone thought they had heavily invested in can affect morale.
Pause a few times every day and think of something you feel thankful for either about your business, your team or your friends. Then, share that gratitude. It’s significantly helpful and it does not have to be inauthentic or saccharine. Saying a simple thank you to someone who has done something outside their role may boost them a great deal.
At the same time, treat yourself the same way and be kind to yourself in a similar way. It’s easy to think of ourselves as not good enough when we are at a low ebb, and this kind of thinking can be dangerous.
Giving members of the team a chance to work on something that needs them to use their creative talents can be some form of therapy, and may help boost their performance.
When employees are given a chance to use the ‘right side of the brain’ (the part responsible for dealing with art and dream) they’re able to unlock the thinking potential. This works because when one is creative, it reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which may massively block focus as well as performance.
Having something to look forward too is a huge morale booster, and this is mostly the case when something is given as a reward for working together. A lot of organizations are looking at ways to reward their teams later this year, and maybe even after the pandemic is gone.
It doesn’t have to be a monetary reward. There’s a European bank that has given their workers an additional ‘bank holiday’ whereby they can pass time relaxing with their families away from the struggles of the days at work.
Connect with the Rest
The little things are the ones that make the difference when we are feeling down. Asking to know about the situation at home and showing interest in the personal lives of our employees helps build rapport, and it shows a human face to leaders.
Similarly, when you share your concerns, challenges as well as experiences it can benefit you during difficult times. A leader working at a multi-national fintech firm spoke with his team on the way he was facing problems in switching off and the way he was finding having his family at home while working irritating and frustrating. Naturally, he wasn’t the only one experiencing this, and after sharing his story, his team found out they were facing something in common and could relate to their boss in a way they’d not been able to previously.