Many companies now are using a distributed workforce model to handle the complexities of a pandemic (currently Covid-19) that has disrupted lives and businesses everywhere. To be successful however, companies need to embrace the new reality as well virtual workers need to show that they can be productive anywhere, engage with their boss and teams, and enter the workplace strategically. That said, when employees are positive about their work environment and believe that they can meet their most important career and vocational needs, employee morale is positive or high which in turn leads the company towards its success.

There is no question that there are some drawbacks to working virtually and the biggest obstacle to remote working is loneliness, followed by technical/connectivity issues.  Nowadays, a distributed workforce is here to stay.  A distributed workforce is not the same as a remote workforce, although it encompasses both remote or virtual workers and geographically diverse workers. In both scenarios it’s vital to encourage social interaction and recognition within the workplace.

Here are some tips on how to maintain and improve your employee’s morale:

  • Remind employees about the mission or purpose of their function. Allowing your workers to be cognizant of how their work ties into a bigger picture could lead to greater awareness of their personal impact. So, it is important to provide your employees sufficient reason to believe in their company and their role within it, and morale will naturally rise.
  • Take an interest in your employee’s lives. The best employee experience is largely about empathy and always remembering that employees are people going through the same types of daily struggles that leaders themselves go through. They have children or elders to attend to, bills to pay, grocery shopping to do, interests to pursue, and health problems to deal with. Compound this with today’s extremely stressful times and staying positive and focused is a challenge for everyone.

    This is a time for all leaders to be very aware of what their employees are going through and many surveys are suggesting that employers, “should encourage companies to be particularly vigilant at this time, understanding the unique circumstances that employees are working under currently. Businesses should also look to provide an open communication from top management during this new reality, as employees look to leadership for cues on how to react within the company to crises. Creating opportunities to discuss work processes, company priorities, and the continued operation of critical business functions, is vital.”

  • Foster connectivity and recognition within your departments. You can enhance a workplace by recognizing accomplishments, whether through an online platform or a physical/online board of some kind that employees can contribute to. This helps build an environment of encouragement and positive reinforcement, which can never be remiss in a workplace.
  • Consider and incorporate the personal passions of employees when distributing work. This shows that you care about employees beyond their workplace contributions. Even if employees want to pursue something outside of their job description, like automating a process, consider their desires as well as the desires of the company. People want to be heard, and even if it isn’t possible to allow everyone to pursue their own interests, they should still know that their opinions and potential contributions are valuable.
  • Allow for social events. These don’t necessarily have to happen within working hours or come with a cost, but they should be on the workplace radar. Get creative together with employees would allow employees to bond outside of work and create relationships that boost morale. i.e. virtual happy hour, 5-minute music break or top movie/series of the week.