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How to Boost Employee Morale in a WFH Environment

The workplace is changing. If you are running a business, you probably know this too well. Today, many organizations are doing away with the traditional office – in favor of a remote environment. In recent years this trend has accelerated, 52% of global employees now work remotely at least once a week.

It’s not hard to see why. Remote workers don’t have to worry about costs of commuting or delays due to travel disruptions. Businesses can save money by renting small office spaces, meaning they can focus funds on growth.

With the right technology and an application of integrations, a remote worker can be just as effective as an in-office counterpart; as long as you pay attention to their morale.

But despite these benefits, remote work isn’t always a walk in the park. Remote workers can feel isolated socially, and if you’re not careful, people can feel out of the loop. It all negatively impacts the morale of employees. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some simple ways to boost the morale of your remote employees.   

Check in On Your Team

It’s easy for workers to feel a disconnect remotely. In a traditional office environment, leaders will get many opportunities to spend time with team members. Employees must trust leaders and vice versa. Regular meetings provide useful opportunities for teams to get to know leaders.

But in the remote environment, ensuring contact is harder. If leaders don’t work hard to ensure communication, there will be a lack of coherence within teams. But what can be done to avoid this problem?

Ensuring regular meetings is a good first step. Try to find a time that fits with the schedule of all members to avoid creating frustration. Ultimately, you want communication to be as natural as possible. That’s why it’s a good idea to prioritize video calling over audio calls, as this offers more common face-to-face communication.  

It’s best to choose work from home tools that have a track record of reliability, especially for communication purposes. You can’t ensure solid dialogue if your phone keeps dropping calls.   

Make Mental Health a Priority 

employees who feel work from home has negative impact on moraleThe topic of mental health in the workplace has been given more and more attention in recent years. Today, people are less reluctant to talk about their problems and more willing to seek help. But despite this, studies have shown that nearly 1 in 4 workers meet the criteria for ‘clinically relevant symptoms’ of anxiety and depression.

 

In the remote work environment, these problems are only exacerbated. What’s more, people are more reluctant to come forward to talk about their problems. So, what’s the solution? Start by leveraging emotional intelligence

Alongside group calls, it’s useful to hold regular one-to-one sessions with members. By doing so, you can offer the chance for workers to express their issues in a confidential, judgment-free environment.

To provide better support in sessions, it’s a good idea to take note of what employees are saying. Otter AI is a good option if you’d rather transcribe notes (although there are some Otter AI app alternatives if you’re looking to save money).

So, if you haven’t already, get in touch with workers and organize some drop-in sessions. 

Take Regular Breaks 

​​A key element of working in a standard work environment is a daily schedule. Loss of routine is one of the reasons that many remote workers struggle. Many remote employees overlook a fundamental element of working: taking a break.  

The idea of employees doing more work might seem appealing to some (cold-hearted) team leaders, but breaks are necessary. Without taking the occasional rest, workers risk being burnt out. Ensure you encourage your team to step away from the screen and take time for themselves.

Additionally, why not set up a virtual break-out room that employees can join on their breaks? Regular chats are a great way for workers to bond and feel part of a team. By encouraging breaks, your workers will feel more rested; you’ll notice a boost in motivation. It’s a win-win! 

Have a Virtual Night Out 

Not everyone likes the idea of spending a night out at work. But there is no denying the importance of social events in terms of teamwork and morale. Sharing drinks with your team can be a great way of recognizing successes and building stronger bonds. But how do you replicate this experience when your team is remote?

There’s no denying that virtual festivities are harder to orchestrate. There’s a good chance that you have workers spread across the globe. This means you will have to work across time zones to find a time that works for everyone. Obviously, standard activities like going for a meal aren’t possible, so you have to think creatively.

But if you keep these factors in mind, you can have a fun virtual night out. Here are a few fun activities that you can try out:

work from home virtual zoom meeting

Share Drinks – This is probably the simplest solution. While you can’t go to a bar, you can all gather in a conference call and share a drink together.

Cook Together – Again, you can’t go out for a meal, so why not share one together? You can even all work on the same recipe and then share the results of your work!

Start a Book Club – Not everyone likes reading. But for those that do, a book club can be a great way to bond over a shared interest. If reading isn’t an interest, why not all agree on a movie to watch together?  

Adapting Is Key

The switch to remote work can be a learning curve. Don’t worry if it takes time to adjust to this different environment. You will need to be flexible with time zones and even schedules.

To keep morale high, you need to put communication at the heart of everything you do. By adapting to new technologies and putting workers’ needs first, you’ll have a happy and productive workforce. With the right approach, your business can out-compete your rivals. So make sure you’re getting the most out of remote working! 

This guest post was authored by Grace Lau.

Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud mutlichannel call center platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Grace Lau also published articles for domains such as Tapfiliate and Easy Affiliate. 

4 Summer Perks Your Employees Want

Temperatures are going up, the sun is coming out, and we can officially say that summer is on its way in! As the season changes, you might be thinking about how you can implement a few summer perks that employees can enjoy during these extra hot months of the year. Here are 4 suggestions for ways you can bring the sunshine into your office this summer!

Flexible Hours

We know summer is a popular time for family vacations and long weekends. So, offering a perk like flexible hours is sure to be a hit among employees. Fortunately, there are several varying levels of flexibility you can try out to see which fits your company culture best. Start by offering more work from home options. That way, employees can still get their work done, but they have the option to do so in the comfort of their own home, or maybe at a sunny cafe if the weather allows it! Another popular method of implementing more flexibility is Summer Fridays. Companies can offer half or full days off each Friday. This keeps employees productive and engaged, while still creating a more flexible schedule if they choose.

Summer Outings

While we firmly believe in fun company outings all year round, summer is an especially good time to get your employees together for some out-of-the-office bonding! Whether you’re rooting on your favorite hometown baseball team, cheers-ing to a great week at a fun bar or restaurant, or hosting a company-wide picnic, outings like these are a great way to reward your employees for their hard work.

Wellness Challenges

Healthier habits tend to ramp up more in the warmer months. Encourage your employees to develop a healthier lifestyle with wellness initiatives that reward them for regular exercise. For example, we just wrapped up a May gym challenge here at PerkSpot that encouraged employees to workout twice a week for at least twenty minutes, doing any exercise they felt comfortable with! As a reward, each employee who completed the challenge got $100 to put toward new or improved gym equipment. We’ll follow that with a bike-to-work challenge in June, complete with prizes donated by local bicycle shop, Kozy Cyclery. Challenges like these give employees a great incentive to get active, plus create a sense of friendly competition and camaraderie among coworkers.

Casual Dress

As the temperatures climb, it feels more difficult to put on the stifling blazer and slacks your company might require. Try adopting a more lax dress policy that makes it easier for your employees to dress for the weather. Create and enforce specific guidelines that you’ve decided on ahead of time. This can include things like no bare shoulders, appropriate length shorts and dresses, or no open-toed shoes. Consider your company as you create this summer dress policy to ensure that it fits with your culture, while still benefiting your employees.

Conquer the Sunday Night Blues

sunday night blues

An awesome article in Fistful of Talent recently discussed the “Sunday Night Blues”. Well-written and well-researched, the author describes the misery many people experience before returning to work on Monday morning. He dives into why this might be true of the 76% of Americans who say their Sunday Night Blues are so bad they want to look for a new job.

While you can read the article for a more in-depth view of the “Sunday Night Blues” and their sweep across America, let’s discuss a few ways we can conquer the blues by providing employees with a better place to work in the first place.

Give Them Something to Look Forward To

Think about your team and the weekly activity they enjoy doing the most. Maybe it’s a meal you share together or a fun team building activity. Whatever it is, try moving it to Monday to engage your staff right from the get-go. Start incorporating a daily stand-up as part of your Monday routine to encourage your team by celebrating wins and highlighting star performers. Just make sure to save any constructive criticism for later in the week when morale is higher.

Take Advantage of Fridays

When the end of the week rolls around most of us check out for the weekend. But often that can make Monday even more painful. Ending your Fridays well and setting you and your team up for success is essential for a productive and pleasant start to your week. The Muse provides a helpful worksheet for ending your week by celebrating accomplishments and assigning tasks for the week ahead. Using this sheet can help you feel more successful and less overwhelmed on Monday morning.

Let Them Flex Their Schedule

One of the greatest benefits at PerkSpot is the ability to flex our schedules. This could mean working from home when it’s storming out or working later hours to catch up on some Zzzzs. Providing flexible schedule opportunities for employees can help improve productivity and has even made a difference in closing the gender pay gap. Telecommuting is becoming all the more popular, so it will not only satisfy your current employees but also help you stay competitive when recruiting new hires.

Lead by Example

Nothing is worse than walking into the office on Monday morning to hear your supervisor or coworker moan and complain. On the other hand, Gallup reports that “Positive leaders deliberately increase the flow of positive emotions within their organization,” and can lead to greater engagement and improved performance. If the leadership is not staying positive, it’s highly unlikely their employees will maintain a positive attitude.

Combat the “Sunday Night Blues” by providing a better workplace for our employees, starting with our own attitudes.

Employee Appreciation Day!

Today is Employee Appreciation Day!

To commemorate this special day, we’re giving you a few ideas on how to appreciate your employees and introducing you to a few of the PerkSpotters who make the office a better place to work.

Celebrate Birthdays

celebrate birthday employee appreciation day

Not only is today employee appreciation day, but it’s also this guy’s birthday! Dan currently holds the record for most years at PerkSpot (and most push-ups). He is the ultimate idea man, always cooking up a new way to make us better and keep the office exciting. So today, with breakfast sandwiches and candles, we’ll celebrate Dan and let him know that we’re glad he was born 21 years ago (don’t worry, DB, the real number is our little secret). If you’re thinking about celebrating birthdays at work, we say GO FOR IT! Here are a few things from our friends at SHRM that you’ll need to know before you roll out a birthday program.

Share Their Story

share stories employee appreciation day

Hands-down one of the hardest working PerkSpotters is our Client Service Lead, Karla. From bestowing exotic treats on us to filling the office with her laughs to completing more customer service calls than we thought humanly possible… Karla is basically superwoman. Actually, she’s so awesome, we thought everyone should know. So when the Chicago Tribune approached us to highlight an employee, we immediately thought of her. Being able to celebrate her life in a major outlet was such a thrill for us and a great way for Karla to see how much we value her contribution to our team. She’s kind of a big deal, and we thought the world should know.

Embrace Life Changes

embrace life changes employee appreciation day

So much is changing around the PerkSpot office, including introducing our first PS baby into the world. We were so excited to congratulate Anthony on the birth of his daughter. He recently rejoined our team after three weeks of paternity leave and we were anxious to hear how he filled his time with his family. Anthony is a major force behind the PerkSpot wheel, bringing in new and exciting clients, so it was an easy choice to give him the well-deserved break from office life to embrace this new change. Plus, Fast Company studied California organizations implementing paternity leave and saw that 89% reported increased productivity and employee morale and a decrease in turnover. So while being out the office was not only great for Anthony’s well-being, we’re also excited to see what he brings to the table with his refreshed energy. Welcome Back, Anthony!

 Allow for Flex Schedules

work from home policies employee appreciation dayOne of the biggest perks at PerkSpot is the ability to flex our schedules and work from home. Our masterful designer, Evan, graciously takes on so many projects for us and we all know Wednesdays are Evan’s day to work from home. We are so appreciative of the attention to detail and creativity that goes into each of his designs. Thursday he comes back with incredible work to show for his time spent away from the office distractions. In fact, we think he might have magic pajamas. Magic pajamas or not, a Stanford University study reported a 13 percent performance increase in workers who had the ability to work from home one day a week versus not at all. This could be the easiest employee appreciation tactic for your company to boost morale and get ahead.

Treat Them to a Night Out

work perks employee appreciation day

Our master appreciator, Leia, is constantly spending her efforts at PerkSpot recognizing others. After planning our anniversary party last fall, Leia definitely deserved some R&R. Boss’s orders were to take a week off and enjoy a nice dinner on the company. Just a small way of saying we see all the many, many things she does to make our office a better place to work. Whether it’s a gift card to their favorite restaurant,or just a day of rest, small tokens of appreciation mean more than you might think.

What makes your employees worth celebrating? Consider ways to recognize them today!

The Hidden Challenges of Working Remotely

working remotely perkspot culture

A trend emerging in our 21st century workplace: the ability to “WFH”, or Work from Home. There’s nothing better than rolling out of bed, plopping yourself on the couch with your laptop, and getting to work.

Or so…. That’s what we used to think until we heard from employees who actually had the luxury to work remotely. Here’s what we found out.

Remote workers are often lonely.

There is something to be said about going into an office and seeing the same faces everyday. Working from home is often very isolating. There are few people to run your ideas by or even chat about that funny email you just got. In fact, Forbes reports that laughter in the workplace makes employees more productive.

Remote workers have a hard time getting things done.

While not only isolating, contrary to popular belief, it’s also hard to be productive when working remotely. When you collaborate on a project or try to solve an issue quickly, remote work presents new challenges. What is usually solved by turning around in your chair, might take over a day without that luxury. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. For technical writers, developers and the like, working alone is necessary to get into an intense focus mode this type of work often requires.

Remote workers are not necessarily more engaged.

For many businesses, offering flex time is a luxury provided in hopes of increasing employee engagement and retaining excellent employees. However, what often happens is that these employees, especially those who are full-time remote workers, fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy. For many, they feel forgotten by their employer who previously may have been a great mentor and resource to them. They miss out on these resources by simply not physically being around.

While there are clear benefits to offering flex time for employees, it’s also evident there are new challenges arising with this popular perk.

Does your business offer a work from home policy? What challenges or benefits have you seen with this implementation?