You should be proud.After all, for well over a year, during unprecedented times, your organization, your team, and you pulled through. You hit goals, achieved milestones, and continued to serve the business and your customers.
It was no easy task given the circumstances. Perhaps your team was already 100% virtual or a hybrid mix of on-site and remote employees, so you were prepared to continue with business as usual. Or maybe, like many organizations, you had to pivot to working from home almost overnight and endured a crash course in virtual teamwork or management.
Either way, you all faced uncertainty and encountered obstacles that threatened your productivity and profitability. But you made it, and that is worth celebrating.
Stress has taken a toll on everyone
Stress is always a part of life, and stress in the workplace is nothing new. However, it has run especially high this past year because your employees (and you, remember) experienced so much.
Many people had to learn a whole new way to communicate and collaborate (i.e., via Zoom). Parents juggled virtual school and virtual work. The office social butterflies have been isolated from their work friends. New hires were recruited, interviewed, onboarded and trained without ever meeting you or their teammates in person. Other teammates retired or moved on to other opportunities, without the typical fanfare of a proper send-off. Despite major upheaval, productivity, performance and quality had to remain steady.
Even as vaccination rates have risen and restrictions have eased, concerns still linger and stress is still high. And recent data suggests that many employees are stressed about returning to work because of COVID fears.
For some, the stress has reached a boiling point. For others, it’s getting there. It’s critical for leaders across the organization to take steps to address the stress, so they can turn the page on a challenging year and move forward.
It’s time to switch from “surviving” mode into “thriving” mode
What can you do to reengage and motivate virtual employees? Here are some tips to help you get started:
Assess how employees are feeling. Talk to employees individually. Send out an anonymous survey. Take a poll. Just take time right now to understand where your employees are mentally and emotionally and to find out what’s causing them stress. Offering them an opportunity to open up, vent, and express concerns is an important part of moving forward. Mostly listen and reassure, and when possible clear issues that are causing frustration.
Spread the praise around. If you lead a team, make sure you take time every day to offer specific praise to the people who report to you. We’re not talking about the typical “Good job!” but rather, detailed feedback about how their work contributes to the overall goals of the business. If you work in HR, find ways to celebrate the efforts of teams across your organization, set up peer recognition programs, or highlight individuals who have gone above and beyond.
People may be feeling alienated and invisible right now, and they need to hear how much they are valued and appreciated.
Recalibrate. Mid-summer is the perfect time to think about your goals—on an organizational, team and individual level. Team leaders can plan a Goals Day just for their teams and HR or the executive team could plan one for the entire organization.
The purpose: To celebrate how far you’ve come and evaluate what you need to do to cross the finish line.
Reconnect. This one might be the most important advice of all. Now, more than ever, it’s important to make time for team building. We’re not talking about another virtual meeting. We’re talking about time carved out specifically for fun, where no work discussions take place.
Whether your team will remain virtual or hybrid, or you are planning an eventual move back into an office or workplace, take time now to bring everyone together. Plan a memorable virtual team event to reduce stress and get everyone excited for the next chapter.
Not sure how to plan and execute a virtual team event?
Fun Team Events can help. We offer six action-packed, totally memorable games led by professional hosts. Plus, we take care of all the logistics, so you don’t have to. Even better: We can actually help you choose the perfect game for your organization. To learn more, schedule your FREE fun consultation.