How to Motivate Your Team After Lockdown
While we are not totally out of the woods with the coronavirus pandemic, return to workplaces is becoming common in many locations of the world. Businesses are gradually picking up with the ease of lockdown restrictions and the introduction of strict safety guidelines. Yes, safety. One of the most crucial issues for employers is keeping their team safe. That's not all; staff's mental well-being is also a top priority.
The truth is not everyone is keen on returning to work, where chances of infection are higher than isolating alone at home. So what's the way forward since businesses have to survive. As an employer, you have a big role to play if you want to keep your doors open and the profits rolling in. That said, here are a few tips on how to motivate employees after lockdown.
1. Show you understand the covid-19 safety regulations, their fears, and needs.
One of the first steps to motivating your team is displaying proper understanding and willingness to be up to date with all government safety guidelines. It will make a huge difference in boosting the confidence of your employees in returning to work. Let's face it; not everyone feels safe to return to their desk job.
For those that would like to return to their jobs, safety comes first. However, if they don't feel confident about the environment they'll be working in, it's likely they'll prefer to stay away. Let them know you understand and would listen to their fears, anxiety, and suggestions in keeping them and the business safe. That said, prioritize transparency and open communication so that employees will feel that any of their concerns will receive quick attention.
2. Adjust workplace and working settings.
Social distancing arrangement is crucial if any business is to open during these uncertain times, so it's best to rearrange your workplace settings to ensure employees are not sitting too close to each other. This move will also reassure your team that their safety is your priority.
If you don't have the space to accommodate a large team at once, you might want to introduce remote working for employees that can render their service remotely. If you still require more adjustment to ensure safe working conditions and don't want to let go of your team members, you can also introduce a rota system. This way, you'll be running a shift-like operation, limiting the number of employees that would be in offices at every time of a working day.
Altogether, if you are among the business owners that covid-19 has completely ushered into a new era of remote business operation, you might want to consider leaving it that way. Many companies have since realized the conventional office space operation is a complete waste of resources, and their business can stay profitable with all team members working from home.
3. Introduce online activities.
If you are adopting 100% remote work operations, bear in mind that isolation fatigue may take its toll on your employees' physical and mental well-being. In the conventional work mode during the pre-coronavirus era, it's not uncommon to have fun/work-related activities that keep employees staff engaged with one another. Furthermore, physical efforts, such as walking or riding bicycles to work, offer a kind of exercise routine to most people.
With remote working, all of these may naturally be absent. Therefore, hosting online activities to foster team togetherness is crucial. These online activities may be in the form of an online quiz, home selfie challenge, etc. These team-building activities will not only foster team unity but can also translate to higher productivity.
4. Prize and reward.
Whether you are running a remote setup or your employees are returning to the conventional office space, you can introduce periodic contests, which will jack-up people's adrenaline and promote positive, competitive energy. Winners will, of course, get a reward or prize. You can make the contest about following covid-19 safety guidelines designed for employees. This way, you not only build up a healthy competitive spirit, but you'll also be promoting adherence to safety guidelines in your workplace. Over time, employees won't have to be reminded about keeping safe protocols in the office.
5. Introduce virtual tours and travel.
Keeping safe during these trying times may naturally take vacations to fun areas off the table. Since boredom is a common human feeling, you can motivate your staff by organizing a virtual tour of places they may not have the chance to visit due to the pandemic. These tours can be about newly discovered cultures, places, traditions, food, etc. it could also be a virtual museum or wildlife tour.
While it's not the real thing, your employees will appreciate the gesture, and the augmented reality videos will undoubtedly help counter boredom. One of the great things about this tip is that you can adopt it for both remote-working employees and those resuming physically in the office. Altogether, your team will know you are taking both their mental and physical well-being seriously.
6. Skill development and learning programs.
Another way to motivate employees post lockdown is to invest in their development. There's almost nothing that screams "I care about your career" louder than improving your employees' skills and knowledge. Beyond your tools, company brand, and products, your employees are part of your greatest assets. Enhancing their skill and knowledge would not only help them, but it would also make them function better in your business.
Okay, so they can leave you with all that knowledge. So what? While they are with your, you want the best version of them. The learning session should be online since that will capture a large audience, especially when you have different offices. What's more, employees can jump in on the online training anytime, which means you'll avoid crowding-in-one place type of training.
7. Organize virtual parties.
Does a virtual party sound a bit absurd or unrealistic? Trust me, it's not weird at all if you are genuinely looking for ideas on how to motivate employees post lockdown. That's some of the creativity many people are coming up with in these trying times just to keep safe. Besides, many companies are adopting it, especially small teams. Just as staff members gather in the cafeteria to share food and unwind a bit, employees can do the same remotely once in a while after a long day at work. With small teams, you can order food like pizza and have them delivered to their respective homes. Apps that allow people in different locations to listen to the same song can be adopted to add a little excitement. You can make it a tradition for team members' birthday, making the day memorable for both the celebrant and the entire team.
8. Avoid undue pressure on your team.
Like I mentioned earlier, it's not everyone that feeling great about returning to the physical office. If your mode of operation isn't remotely possible, avoid pressurizing your employees. Trust me, everyone is anxious and perhaps scared. Some may have even lost their loved ones to the virus, so you don't want anyone to "snap" because you are too hard. Regardless of how many persons you now have, perhaps you have made adjustments to maintain social distancing, keep it cool. Encourage regular short breaks and promote one-on-one employer-employee communication.
9. Bring in therapy.
While you encourage communication so that no one feels isolated or depressed, you might want to consider that some employees may need professional help. As mentioned earlier, some may have lost their family or friends to the vital pandemic. Returning to work may be a form of coping mechanism.
Therefore, it won't be a bad idea if you engage the services of professionals to help any of your team members maintain their mental health. In this regard, BetterHelp.com offers professional therapy services for different clients' needs, including phobias, separation anxieties, and generalized anxiety disorders. They provide both remote and in-person services, making it easy to access their service from any location.
10. Empower your staff to take ownership of the new safety rules.
One of the ways to motivate your staff is to make them more responsible for their safety. For example, if you run a business that interacts with customers daily, you can equip your team with the power to refuse service to customers who are not deliberately complying with covid-19 safety guidelines.
It's not uncommon for customers to ask for supervisors and managers of establishments when they feel they are not being treated the way they want. When such scenarios happen, ensure you are on the same page with your team so that they do not feel sidelined about decisions that concern their safety.
11. Trust your team.
Motivating your employees might also require establishing new post-lockdown approaches to driving productivity. Adopt a more flexible approach that involves trusting your staff more to do their bits. Try to eliminate the hawk-eye mode of supervision, where managers are not cutting team members any slack.
Circumvent the old style of always watching everyone's every move. Remember, covid is already giving everyone a hard time, so you don't want to add to it. As long as productivity is high up to the roof, allow your employees to work on their terms.
12. Adopt Inspirational quote.
Thinking of how to motivate employees post lockdown? One of the most direct approaches is via daily inspirational words /quotes. Just as advertising work on consumers, the practice of making the eyes and mind see a product to compel purchase decisions can also work with motivational quotes.
You can position different inspiring quotes that relate to these trying times in strategic locations in the office, such as entrance, hallway, or on their workstation computers. This way, your employees may receive daily boosters that'll make them approach each day with positive energy.
13. Encourage technology use.
Whether you are taking the remote working approach or your teams will be resuming in a physical office, you'll do well to adopt and encourage technology use. The goal is to reduce research so of exposure as much as possible. Communicate with phones, using text or WhatsApp messages instead of transiting from one place to another in the same office building. What's more, you can adopt platforms like Weekdone, Trello, infinity, Clockify, etc., to communicate any new work-related information or tasks.
14. Be aware of your employee's lapses.
You may find some employees displaying a lack of regard for safety rules from time to time. Call it carelessness or a baseless belief of being untouchable. Whatever the reason may be, being able to spot such employees and correct them is crucial. Not only will it ensure safety, doing so will also put confidence in other team members that may be feeling skeptical about resuming in the first place.
15. Go the extra mile.
Yes, it’s no longer news the coronavirus pandemic did a number on most businesses. For those that are still afloat, profits have not been the same. While revenues may have taken a nose-dive, it won't be a bad idea if you motivate your employees with an additional allowance. It doesn't have to be a huge amount, but it should be significant to make someone feel appreciated for returning to work in these uncertain times.
Look at it this way, jobs that expose employees to life-threatening conditions or environments attract extra pay in the form of hazards or risk allowance. While your office may not be the facility of the center for disease control, your employees are technically exposed to the risk of being infected by the deadly virus daily. Therefore, adopting this move will undoubtedly go along way in encouraging your employees, especially when your business involves interaction with the the general public.