While January is the month of setting new goals and resolutions, it can also be quite a difficult time for many people. Whether they’re dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), post-holiday blues, or burn out, it’s important for employers to do their part and create a healthy work environment.
Companies with a strong positive morale will typically have positive and productive employees. It’s important to note that employee morale is a direct reflection of how healthy the company culture is. With some employees being in the office, hybrid, or fully remote, it’s essential for all employees to feel a sense of connection to their team and managers.
Prioritizing employee satisfaction will not only benefit the company’s overall bottom line, but it also helps to retain staff. Here are four effective ways for boosting staff morale:
1. After-work happy hour
Plan a fun event with your team. With work from home becoming a norm, you could hold a virtual happy hour after work and use this hour to catch up with the team or book team building activities, such as escape rooms. Use the happy hour as an opportunity for the team to catch up and find out how everyone has planned out for the New Year.
2. Organize a mental health talk
With everything going on in the world now mental health is so important. You can host a talk by a mental health expert on how to maintain mental wellbeing during challenging times. This would be a good way to acknowledge the hardship everyone is going through and emphasize the importance of self-care, eating healthy, and exercising daily to ward off stress and depression.
3. Connect employees to mental health resources
Remind your team the resources your business has to assist them with mental health. If your business does not have an employee assistance program, share external resources with employees.
4. Recognize good work
Acknowledging the hard work of employees makes them feel valued and appreciated. Organizing work socials and holding contests around holidays with rewards, such as gift cards, is another way to keep employees motivated at work. Even a small gesture, such as a shoutout over team chats is a nice way to recognize good work.
What steps can you take to improve mental health in the workplace?
Have a mental health policy for your workplace
Your mental health policy should set down the protocol to follow when an employee makes a mental health disclosure and requests accommodation. It’ll help provide clarity to both employees and supervisors on what to do in such a situation. You may also want to provide training to your supervisors to be able to handle such requests and discussions sensitively. Include your mental health policy in your employee handbook and share it with your staff.
Check in with remote staff
If all or some of your employees are working from home, make sure to check in with them virtually. It is easy to blur the line between home and office when working from a home office. If you notice an employee struggling to set boundaries (is online after work hours or on the weekends), reach out to them and review whether you need to re-assess their workload. Encourage your employees to strive for a work-life balance and not overwork themselves.
If you notice any signs of poor mental health, such as visible stress and exhaustion, decline in productivity, changes in behaviour, or increased absenteeism, schedule a one-on-one chat with your employee to find out what issue they may be struggling with.
Encourage staff to take regular breaks
This applies irrespective of whether your staff is office-based or remote. Advise your staff to take short breaks through the day and step out during lunch to get some sunlight. Make sure your employees take their designated days off.