How to maintain motivation for a stressed workforce

As we are all well aware, over the past (almost) two years, the pandemic has induced fear into society and caused mass waves of grief, isolation, and anxiety.

When the world is in distress, this often flows into other areas of people’s lives. Especially as they need to constantly adapt and make changes to the life they are used to. It is of great importance that we realise employees could be struggling or dealing with much larger amounts of pressure and stress yet are expected to go on as usual.

In this article we will focus on how we can support employees and help maintain motivation during stressful times.

Communicate transparently

Communication is vital to maintain motivation and engagement for employees. Business updates, as well as project updates for all departments should be communicated clearly via email or virtual town halls. Additionally, it is important to have frequent communication between teams and managers which can take place via instant chat, calls, in-person catch-ups or video meetings.

When communication is frequent, clear and honest, employees are more likely to feel part of the bigger picture, more valued and more connected.

It can also be helpful to communicate specific programs to help with anyone experiencing difficulties, such as an EAP (employee assistance program), and how to access this service easily.

Don’t micro-manage

Micro-management is an anxiety-inducing tactic that was hated by many before the pandemic, and even more so now. Most employees have been working from home for long periods of time and have learnt how to self-motivate and self-discipline. Showing that you trust your employees and giving them space to work in a way that is best for them is what will keep them happy and motivated. If they feel suffocated by management, their stress will only increase, and they are likely to become unsatisfied at work.

Reward achievements and consistent hard work

An obvious motivator that has been true for years is rewarding great results. But on top of that, especially during testing times, it’s important to recognise and reward consistency and hard work. The achievement of putting in the effort every day, no matter the circumstances is an admirable feat.

When people are recognised for their efforts, they often feel appreciated and valued and therefore motivated to continue with the good work.

Ask for feedback and make improvements

As a business, it’s important to be constantly improving and evolving. Usually, the best changes to be made are based from within the organisation and the voices of your employees.

We recommend anonymous surveys every quarter to check in and see how staff are fairing and how well you are doing in certain areas such as culture, engagement, community and so on. This gives staff the opportunity to share their true feelings, and for businesses to improve things that really matter to their people.

Encourage collaboration

Whilst many people were isolated at some point and time in the last year, teamwork and collaboration is key to making employee’s feel less alone. This not only allows for efficient and productive work to take place, but it is also a positive for employee wellbeing.

Allow for flexibility

One major lesson from the past year of working from home and working flexibly proves that most people can do it and do it well. As long as your employees continue to deliver results and are productive with current flexible arrangements, there’s no need to revert back or force old practices.

That’s not to say you can’t create structure or standards when necessary. In some cases, meeting in person can be more productive especially when it comes to project work for example. It’s perfectly reasonable to request your team to work in office one or a few days a week for better collaboration.

However, rather than enforcing working hours and places, it’s more important to emphasise on creating a strong flexibility policy that supports people with all kinds of personal lives.

How else do you support your employees? Or employee’s, how do you want to be supported?

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