Managers may have noticed a drop in employee engagement levels following the COVID-19 pandemic. With staff working from home and socially distant workplaces put in place, keeping your team motivated and engaged — while maintaining staff health — has proven to be difficult. 

It is easy for employees to begin feeling isolated and experiencing a sense of disconnect from their organisation during these times. Such feelings of disconnect and uncertainty can easily lead to low levels of productivity and a lower sense of morale within the workplace. 

To counter this problem, managers need to focus on ways to keep staff morale and motivation up while they are dealing with the stress and uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Lead by example

To ensure staff are staying healthy and engaged, managers have the responsibility of leading by example. This means demonstrating new levels of empathy and understanding and providing consistent support and guidance.

Crises such as the global coronavirus pandemic can lead to division within teams, as some workers find changes easier to adapt to and can jump straight into a ‘new normal’ within the workplace, while others may find they struggle to maintain both their mental health and productivity. 

Leaders should deploy strategies that work best for their culture and employees. Understanding the needs of your staff will help you to come up with solutions that can empower both those who feel ‘closed-off’ by these new changes and challenges, and those who feel empowered to work alone or within a reduced capacity workplace. 

Regardless of which half your staff may fall in, driving a sense of connection is paramount in this time of disconnect. Creating solidarity and a sense of engagement can help protect your team and aid them in maintaining motivation. What does this mean for your company? Happier workers and a stronger, more effective workforce.

Finding new ways to connect

Keeping morale and motivation up among employees while they are dealing with the stress of COVID-19 has been one of the most reported concerns among managers. 

In order to keep employees engaged and connected while they are met with competing for personal and business issues, managers need to figure out ways to be supportive while increasing productivity. By doing this, employees will come back stronger. Plus, not to mention they’ll feel acknowledged, supported, and fulfilled at work. 

Returning to work stronger

It is important to understand that challenges or crises as seen with the global pandemic can in fact drive solidarity within the workforce. 

In order to help employees navigate these waters while maintaining mental health and work focus, managers can improve transparency by providing honest communication with their staff. Employees are looking for support to help them through this crisis, especially support at work. In an environment that breathes uncertainty and instability, feeling secure within their work is something employees crave the most from their workplace.

Just as you successfully set up health and safety protocols to create a COVID-safe work environment, companies can also establish tools and resources to give staff support when they need it. Anticipate needs and make a plan that will accommodate both your in-house and remote workers. 

Flexible work arrangements

This can include introducing more flexible work arrangements for staff who require time off due to mental health or personal reasons. It can involve providing training or professional services to help equip staff with tools to aid in their mental health. It may include monthly newsletters or weekly video conferences just to touch-base and provide any support, feedback, or questions. 

Regardless of how your workplace is looking at the moment, the best way to help staff return to work stronger and more motivated is through maintaining as much normalcy as possible. Keep ‘business as usual’ by encouraging employees to retain their normal day-to-day routines, and where productivity may be lacking or unmet due to changes within the workplace, ensure you’re providing constant communication and gratitude. 

In communications, leaders should demonstrate compassion and exhibit calm and optimism. Investing in staff is critical to building employee engagement, productivity, and well-being.