Rallying your team is already difficult, but to do it remotely during a world-wide pandemic – you’re kidding me, right? No. Now is the time (if you haven’t already) to assess morale.
This isn’t a good situation for anyone, except maybe toilet paper manufacturers and video communication providers, and there’s nothing more I can tell you about the COVID-19 virus that you haven’t heard already. We know it’s here, we don’t know when it will be gone, and millions will be affected in multiple facets of their lives. The difficult times ahead are inevitable, and fostering a sense of togetherness is vital to continue production. From leadership to the junior-level employee, here’s what to know about boosting morale, with a remote twist:
The worst thing you can do is stay silent. Even when you don’t have all the answers, communication is important. Set up more frequent one on ones, and those weekly team meetings . . . keep having them. Recognizing and showing appreciation for the hard work of your teammates/employees is especially important and comforting. It’s hard to stay connected when you can’t drop by someone’s desk for a chat. The water cooler conversation doesn’t exist from your work from home desk under mandated quarantine but what does exist is technology! Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts, or a simple group text will keep you connected. Encourage video chat in your meetings and help each other focus on the tasks at hand.
We all know when someone isn’t telling us something, there’s an inescapable feeling that gnaws at us until we have the answers. So to boost team morale, be transparent. A message of secrecy will only lead to a toxic culture of gossip and rumors. Being transparent about what is to come, what we can do now, and how we will overcome it – even when it’s a difficult conversation is better than staying silent. Although a company wide e-mail can suffice, it’s better when news is delivered face to face. During this virtual work-life, that means large meeting video calls. After delivering or receiving big news, circle back individually to those around you. It will be appreciated.
Address and Manage Change
Approach change with a collaborative plan and with a sympathetic and authentic attitude. Make sure key projects are still being focused on and be clear in redistributing any workloads to reduce feelings of confusion. Leaders and teammates alike should continue communicating through their concerns and questions about any change taking place. It’s likely your team is feeling stressed or uncertain and the key in boosting morale will be assisting them with change wherever you can. Encouraging a team effort and shared sense of accomplishment will carry you through. So, message your teammates, keep communication open and stay online.
In short, talk about it and then do it. Continue working hard, focusing on the certain and keep communications open with those (figuratively) around you.
Check in, stay safe, and be well.