Working from home was a shock for many of us. COVID-19 took the decision out of our hands. At first, we adjusted to this new normal and balanced home school or social distancing with work duties. We set up home “offices” and became literate in remote technology. We helped isolated family, friends, and neighbors cope.
Then the novelty wore off and the frustrations and stresses set in. Four weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, our nerves are frayed.
But in this time of uncertainty, the ability to have a positive mindset is a key component of our overall health and wellbeing. We turned to EBI’s own Human Resources team for some inspiring ways to boost morale.
Every workday, EBI employees receive an inspirational message. This company-wide email initiative is part of a larger approach to keep employees engaged and happy while working remotely. There are numerous health benefits to having a positive mindset:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical wellbeing
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
It's unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive outlook enables us to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on our bodies.
Being aware of this link is important as you craft strategies for maintaining engaged employees. The concepts of positivity, morale, and engagement don’t exist in silos. They are intertwined and are best activated with a heavy dose of empathy, says Julie Mulhern, Director of Human Resources at EBI.
Here are some fresh and fun ways Mulhern and her EBI team have improved employee culture and positivity during COVID-19. We hope you’ll be inspired to do the same.
- Keep Your Routine – If possible, continue fostering a sense of community by keeping your regularly scheduled employee engagement programs. EBI’s pillar programs, like our social committee and book club, still regularly meet, although our focus has temporarily shifted. For example, the book club is now reading books about positivity and growth mindset. Not only do participating employees get to socialize with colleagues and friends in these clubs as we normally would, we are also innovating and brainstorming together. Even while working remotely, participants are getting closer and problem-solving at the same time.
- Huddle Up - Opening communication between employees, not just from a top-down approach, is also a key step to boosting morale. EBI has implemented bi-weekly all staff meetings and weekly EBI Chats, which are smaller, randomly selected breakout groups. These sessions are all held remotely and have one major focus – to respond to employees’ needs for open, transparent communication. “Transparency is essential at a time when employees need compassion and to trust their leaders,” says Mulhern.
Remaining positive and helping mitigate fears by continually educating staff on the state of the business, economy, and other details lessens employees’ anxiety about what is going on around them.
- Find the Fun – Being stuck at home makes it hard for people to rejuvenate after a long work week. In healthier times, we’d be cheering on our child at a sporting event, enjoying a Sunday brunch with pals, or taking in a blockbuster at the movie theater. Now, we need to come up with other ways to refresh ourselves. EBI sends out a weekly email on Fridays with a list of fun things employees can do from home over the weekend like games, brain teasers, and crafts to keep their spirits up. Mulhern says her team is also investigating how to kickstart social hours or morning coffee breaks using video conference technology.
- Encourage Feedback – As with any crisis that creates a sense of urgency, there are people who see an opportunity to innovate. Give them a voice. EBI has already debuted an internal email address where employees can submit tips, ideas, client leads, and engagement strategies. This has opened the door for all employees, regardless of title or position, to put a personal stake into the success of our company. We are also rolling out an email address that goes to HR where employees can submit questions and concerns. These will be collected and addressed during our bi-weekly All Staff Huddles. This is another way for employees to be heard and feel that they matter.
EBI is Here
As this new WFH situation evolves, we are learning how to navigate this challenging COVID-19 business environment just like everyone else. If you have any tips for boosting employee engagement, we’d love to hear about them. Email us or share your idea on our LinkedIn page.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a question, either. We are here to help. Get to know EBI and speak with one of our experts.
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