Morale is one of those things that isn’t quite tangible, but it makes all the difference when it comes to an office environment.
It’s also something that’s challenging to improve once it has taken a sharp turn in the wrong direction.
If you’re unsure whether your team is suffering from low morale, check out these 5 warning signs. Then, follow these tips for improving and combating low morale in the office.
How to Improve Morale at the Office
Whether you’re trying to combat low morale or you’re hoping to continue an existing trend of positivity in the workplace, there are steps you can take to keep employees feeling motivated, encouraged, and generally happy.
Here are a handful of ways to improve morale:
1. Recognize Achievements & Milestones
It’s easy for work to start feeling monotonous when you come in and do the same type of thing every day… for years. Small celebrations along the way can give people something to look forward to and are a great way to help employees feel appreciated and recognized.
From small victories, like receiving a positive review from a client, to big wins, like closing a major sale or reaching 10 years with the company, acknowledging achievements can go a long way. Company lunches, happy hours, congratulations cards, email kudos, personal thank yous during 1:1 conversations – there are so many ways – large and small – to highlight individuals and their victories in the workplace.
These recognitions are important, and they are easy to do if you make it a habit. Don’t let them get lost in the shuffle.
Pro tip: Make sure that recognitions are evenly distributed. Avoid playing favorites, as doing so can have a fast and significant negative impact on company morale.
2. Foster Healthy Communication
Communication is key when it comes to fostering healthy workplace morale. Employees need to feel like their voices are heard. Concerns and shared ideas need to be acknowledged and rectified or implemented, as appropriate.
As a manager, consider trying an open door policy, where employees are encouraged to bring their questions, ideas, and concerns to you. Make sure employees have the opportunity to voice concerns or address personal issues with an appropriate level of privacy.
Transparency is another important aspect of a healthy communication culture at work. Share information with your team efficiently and honestly. Holding back details can result in rumors and speculation, which can chip away at trust and undermine a team’s morale. Do what you can to be upfront and transparent whenever possible.
3. Promote From Within (When Possible)
Some positions are simply better suited for an outside hire, but when possible it’s a good idea to promote from within. Doing so shows employees that upward mobility is possible within the company, and that hard work pays off.
When posting jobs or starting the job search, be open with your current employees about the opportunity and what the new position entails. If a certain member of your team stands out as an outstanding potential candidate, encourage them to apply. Consider inside applicants carefully.
Knowing there is potential for promotion within a company can give employees something to strive towards and can incentivize them to stay motivated.
4. Adjust Roles to Suit
If you want to hold on to your most valuable employees, you may need to make some adjustments. Sometimes employees grow out of their existing roles or develop skills and passions that may warrant expanding their position to something broader – or narrowing it to something more specific and specialized.
Keep an eye out for hard working, passionate employees that start to lose their creative spark. Try to be flexible in adjusting their role to better suit what they are passionate about. An adjustment to their current position could be just what they need to improve their morale and keep them satisfied as a valuable part of your team.
5. Develop Relationships
While office romances may not always work out for the best, fostering the development of relationships between coworkers can help to provide an uptick in office morale.
Friendships and respectful collaboration between coworkers can be rewarding and can help employees to feel like a valued member of a team they’re glad to be a part of. Encourage these types of casual, personal relationships by implementing team lunches, scheduling team social outings, and allowing a reasonable amount of personal chatter in the office on a daily basis. Team building activities are another great way to grow a more personalized office community.
Working alongside friends – or at least among coworkers you’re personally connected with on some level – makes coming to the office every day much more appealing.
6. Encourage Passion Projects
Empower employees to pursue their passions and explore what they are passionate about, even if that means adding some flexibility to their schedule and job requirements.
Your employees will be much more invested in what they are working on if it’s something they are truly passionate about. As a result, they will be happier and more apt to stay with your company if they have the freedom to incorporate what they love into their daily lives at work.
While some employees may take this freedom too far, perhaps pursuing non-work related things in the space they are provided to meld their interests with their job role, most will appreciate and respect you for providing them with the opportunity to delve into what they love and make a living while doing it.
7. Change Up the Usual Routine
Humans tend to fall into and rely on routines, but in the workplace sometimes routines are the enemy. They can squelch creativity and make all the days blend together into one monotone blur that leaves employees feeling unfulfilled.
Changing up the usual work routine can provide a creative spark and a fresh perspective for employees that have fallen into a lull. With this in mind, be open to giving employees the flexibility they need to explore new ways of doing things.
Whether it’s allowing people to work from home or letting employees start work earlier (or later) than they typical start time, changing up the usual routine is an easy way to boost morale and help employees thrive.
8. Avoid the Urge to Micromanage
It may be tempting to micromanage a project, especially if an employee is not doing it the way you would do it. However, micromanaging is a surefire way to kill morale and leave employees feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.
As a manager, it’s important to trust your employees and empower them to tackle projects and issues independently in whatever way they feel is most appropriate. Do what you can to avoid micromanaging.
Forcing employees to use methods that don’t suit them or to organize something in a way that doesn’t make sense to them only stifles creativity and leaves employees feeling powerless. Make suggestions and corrections if an employees strategy clearly isn’t working or is negatively affecting the bottom line, but don’t forcefully take the reins and try to fit a square employee into a round hole.
Boost Morale With These 8 Strategies
Keeping a finger on the pulse of your office morale is one of the most important things you can do if you hope to foster a productive, healthy work environment for your employees.
Most of the strategies listed above are relatively easy to implement, plus their effects can be felt within the workplace immediately. If you feel morale is slipping or you’re hoping to continue fostering a healthy office culture, try out a few of these tactics!
Looking for other ways to improve your office environment? Check out these 7 ways to make your workspace better, or browse through our tips for creating a healthier workplace.