Lockdown hustle: How to keep morale up with remote teams during the pandemic

By Sandiip Kapur

A committed workforce is one of the essential building blocks for all successful businesses. No company that has disgruntled workers can survive the corporate universe for long. It is up to the top level brass at any enterprise to keep its personnel cheerful and satisfied. Keeping one’s employees positive and dedicated goes a long way in cementing a company’s legacy in today’s dynamic business order. But this year has been different. The unprecedented emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed massive changes in the overall corporate landscape.

Businesses around the world have been forced into submission by the crippling effect of the novel coronavirus. Unprepared and unwary, a majority of companies have witnessed a severe financial backlash on account of the various lockdowns and pandemic-induced restrictions. India Inc also has witnessed its fair share of the tumultuous breakdown. Numerous organizations have incurred significant losses, budget cuts, lay-offs, and salary slashes. Worse still, there have been instances of companies closing shop and going defunct in the wake of the viral crisis. This has created immense pressure on the national economy due to the plummeting GDP and the increased unemployment rate.

Many others that managed to survive the initial ordeal had to make several changes in their operational structure to cope with the transformed business environment. Businesses had no option but to suddenly shift towards digital remote working. This has been challenging to say the least. It is unfortunate that those who could not embrace digital transition in event of the pandemic simply perished. Under such testing and turbulent times, the onus is on the employers to preserve the morale of their employees to keep their business up and running.

Here are a few effective strategies that business leaders can utilize to ensure optimum remote working and employee satisfaction in a post-COVID corporate vista:

  • Acknowledge the fact that this is the first time that employees are working remotely for a sustained period. Allow them to gain familiarity with such a transformed setting. The pressure of isolation and social distancing is very real. Therefore it is important for employers to constantly motivate their employees and boost their confidence. The cases of mental health deterioration have significantly spiked since the onset of the pandemic. Employers and managers should celebrate every achievement and gains of their employees. A word of encouragement goes a long way in bolstering the morale of employees.
  • Under such a changed setting where employees are forced to work from the confines o their home, increases stressed levels are quite expected. It is the responsibility of their superiors to keep in constant touch via various online pathways. It is equally essential to carve an environment of jovial bonhomie in this otherwise depressing period. Employees are more than just company assets, they are the very life-blood. Period!
  • To thrive in a challenging phase such as remote working, it is essential on the employer’s part to deploy the various software tools, provisions, and resources to their employees. The WFH setting mandates that every employee is equipped with a laptop, a VPN, a headset, etc as per requirement. It is also important for an employee to engage in constant communication through video calls and virtual conferencing interfaces such as Zoom, Google Meet, etc. It would also prove rewarding for employees to monitor the mental health levels of their employees and provide them virtual stress-busting routines, fun activities, engagements, etc.
  • Employers should also note that employees don’t over-exert themselves during remote-working. Adequate sleep, exercising, and balanced eating are all the more pertinent during these times. The employers should ascertain that the work-life harmony of their employees does not get affected in any way.
  • It is also essential for managers to enable an environment in which their subordinates are driven to raise their performance and productivity levels on their own accord. By implementing strategic incentives and work benefits like healthcare insurance, vacation days, performance bonus, paid sick leaves, etc, the management can ensure that their employees stay job-focused and devoted.
  • By constantly looking out for each other, the employer-employee relationship is sure to exceed all expectations. This is the very stuff that super-successful organizations are made of. The management should take notice of the various health implications that may occur during the pandemic and must ensure optimum fitness levels of their employees.
  • Business leaders must exude proper confidence and high-spiritedness before their peers and juniors. The mood of the management has a major impact on its workforce. It is only natural that the employees share and replicate the sentiments of their superiors. Therefore employers must lead by example and stay lively and motivated. Only then can they expect the workforce to stay exuberant and committed.

These are uncertain times, yet the worst may have already passed. Leaders must ensure that their employees stay dedicated through continuous engagements and words of encouragement. Only through cooperation and solidarity can the corporate world aspire to overcome these tough circumstances.

(The author is Founder & President of Promodome Group. Views expressed are personal.)

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