My intention is not to start this post like a person who is walking around ringing a bell and wearing a sign that reads ‘The end is near’.
…Insert: Classic Homer Simpson gif.
I do however think it is a good idea to start with some context, no matter how challenging, clear, and obvious it may be. I promise to be brief.
It is very likely that you, or the people within your team, are feeling an amount of stress and anxiety about the ongoing pandemic. Change commonly brings about these feelings and emotions, however we are all currently in the midst of a change that, until the past year, would have been incomprehensible for many. Therefore, these feelings may for some people, be more intense than ever before.
For businesses, having employees with low morale is detrimental. It leads to people becoming disconnected and disinterested, which squashes performance.
Whatever the magnitude of your experiences regarding low morale, it is so important to be aware of how yourself and your people are dealing with change.
Therefore, this article has been written to help you not just boost individual and team morale, but also ensure that it remains high during these unprecedented times.
Here we go!
Ready for a time travel journey?
Actually, calling it a journey may be overselling it bit. It is more of a ‘time travel nip to the shops’.
That’s because today, we are not circling back to yesteryear, not as far back as the 50’s, 60’s etc, (sorry if that sentence has made you feel creaky with age).
Nope, let’s just pop back to 2019. This might seem like a gigantic waste of a time machine. Like being given the keys to the Tardis from Doctor Who and visiting your next door neighbour.
*ZOOM* (Or whatever noise a time machine would make).
Imagine it is a random Thursday in 2019, and you are commuting. Using planes, trains, and automobiles to get to the place you call work. When you arrive, you find… people! Colleagues, friends, and the like, all in one area.
You spend hours and hours alongside these people. Talking, laughing, collaborating.
For a lot of people, maybe even yourself, the ability to seek support, perspective, and ideas in-person and seemingly on-demand contributed massively towards what you achieved during this time. Even the time just spent socialising over a coffee may have filled you with the release and motivation to continue pushing forwards to achieve your goals.
Now, let’s hit that fast forward button to the present day.
With that little flashback fresh in your mind, it can be quite easy to see why working from home day after day could become quite a lonely existence.
Good news is though, it really does not have to be.
It is truly amazing the energising impact that connecting with people can have, especially during this era where we are deprived of our typical daily dosage of social interaction.
There are so many ways in which you can increase regular social time too! From casual coffee breaks, full team meeting, virtual off-sites, one to ones etc.
The impact on morale, through implementing these regularly, will be palpable.
Isolation can be exactly what the name would suggest. Which means that it can be easy for you and your team to forget that whilst you are separated from others, you are actually part of a collective effort.
People working, without fully acknowledging that their daily efforts contribute to something much bigger than just their own to-do lists, can become quickly disheartened and demotivated. Feeling as though their daily tasks lack purpose.
To ensure that this does not happen, it is a good idea to regularly remind yourself and others to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
However, what does the ‘bigger picture’ mean and do you see the same picture as your colleagues?
I am going to stick with the picture analogy here.
A picture can mean so much more to you when you know the intentions and the perspective of the artist(s). Therefore, if you are working as team, it is well worth learning more about the people around you.
– What is important to them?
– Why do they do what they do?
– What is their vision of success in their role?
Sharing values and visions enables everyone to see how they contribute, and how their efforts powers the whole team towards individual and collective success.
This exercise can be a great way to bring people closer and build immense team spirit and togetherness.
We wrote about the importance of taking breaks last week in our increasing productivity blog! (If you have not read it… I really think you should check it out 😊).
If burnout and fatigue is a blazing fire, then taking breaks is the refreshing iced blast of a hose pipe.
When tasks mount, calendars fill and demands increase, so can internal pressure and expectation, which then often leads to a de-prioritisation of breaks and time out.
But ask yourself.
Who finishes a marathon first? The person who tries to sprint the full distance or the one that paces themselves? The answer, unless you have unbelievable muscular endurance, is the latter.
Taking breaks, and promoting that others do the same, not only has the ability to boost morale quickly, it also maintains it. Meaning that energy levels stay more consistent.
Unless you regularly practise the ‘solo high-five’, then recognition for the work you do in your professional life may be much harder to come by whilst you are sat in your living room.
Recognition of a job well done is always a mood and energy lifter, so why stop now?
We are living in a time where change is either happening or is just around the corner, so awarding genuine recognition to people can give them that sense of value and security.
Learning opens up our mind to what is truly possible.
Taking something which we saw as being ‘impossible’ or ‘too difficult’ to now being something we understand and can execute, breeds inner ambitions.
What else can I do? It is addictive!
Whilst learning should be continuous, it could be easy to become overwhelmed by constant changes around us, failing to seek out opportunities for personal growth.
Regardless of whether you or your team feel frustrated, or are struggling for enthusiasm, a learning opportunity that nourishes the brain and sparks inspiration will build contagious excitement, morale, and performance!
We could go on and on and on about how impactful learning can be for people, teams, and businesses as a whole. So, if you are looking for someone to discuss your ideas with regarding learning journeys… head to the contact section of our website and get in touch!
We can’t get enough of virtual coffees!
These tips all share a common theme.
It may sound sickly sweet but the positive impact we can all have on one another during this time cannot be understated.
There are three really important C’s. Connection, Care and Compassion.
By showing them, you will build meaningful relationships with others, and ultimately bonds that will be stronger for longer, ready to tackle whatever changes lay ahead.
Alex & The Excel Team
P.S. If you would like to discuss any of your learning & development challenges for 2021, call us on +44(0) 1628488 854.
About Excel Communications
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Partnering with Excel empowers you to evolve your people and business by fuelling a love for learning.
We work with you to create unforgettably, customised learning experiences to achieve your vision of success and growth, with tangible results.
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We have a team of expert trainers delivering programmes across five continents in multiple languages. Call us now on +44 (0) 1628 488 854.