The Quebec agency Casacom, a specialist in public relations and integrated communications, provides its concrete advice to leaders to stay on track, despite a crisis that drags on and can demotivate teams.

According to a recent Léger survey (January 2021), one in five Canadian workers report that their current mental health has a negative impact on their commitment, motivation and job performance.

When employees are not at their best, the entire organization is affected. As Canada continues to face confinement and restrictions, it is imperative that companies ensure that their employees continue to feel supported and appreciated, as pandemic fatigue is present. 

What can employers do?

Take the time to assess your organization and/or team to see what needs to be addressed. What are their irritants? What sources of discomfort or stress affect your team the most? Dig deeper to understand the root causes.

Here are some recommendations on how leaders can support their employees, keep them engaged and show their appreciation as our fight against the pandemic continues.

1. Open the dialogue

Regularly talk to your team and employees. Consult with them, hold bi-weekly or monthly meetings to assess how they are doing professionally and personally.

Give them the opportunity to tell you how they are doing and, most importantly, how they feel. Employee surveys are also an excellent tool for leaders to get a sense of stress levels, workload and review of key irritants.

The objective is to identify solutions and provide recommendations on how to mitigate the stressors they face.

2. Be mindful of employees’ mental health

The Léger survey found that 40% of Canadians say their mental health is worse than before the pandemic.

To help your teams, consider creating a buddy system where everyone has someone to talk to, or providing wellness days when they feel overwhelmed, tired and need time to recharge.

3. Encourage breaks, motivate employees to go out

For many, working remotely abolished the usual office routine, such as coffee breaks or lunch with colleagues. It is important to encourage your teams to take the time to get away from the screens and go out.

The arrival of good weather is the perfect time to dine outdoors, hold telephone meetings during an outdoor walk, or even create a team building program that includes outdoor activities. These small moments can change the way your employees feel and increase productivity.

4. Make room for fun team building activities

Making room for fun team building activities will boost morale and provide a much-needed mental break. Original activities can have a positive impact on everyone’s well-being, creativity and problem solving.

For example, The Playful Warrior offers virtual game sessions to organizations that connect adults with their inherent playful nature through different exercises, such as painting, drawing or dancing. Your team and employees will thank you for taking a new approach when planning these types of activities.

5. Show your appreciation

It is important to take the time to express gratitude to your employees on a daily basis, but especially at a time when people are juggling work and family, while dealing with their fears and concerns. For example:

  • A real thank you for their efforts can go a long way in making an employee feel appreciated and valued.
  • Bring employees together for a 15-minute recognition session; there could never be too much positivity.
  • As a wellness day, give time to those who have gone above and beyond.

Whether big or small, actions like these make a difference and contribute to a positive culture.

As we often say: we are all going through the same storm, but we are not in the same boat. For leaders, it is important to recognize that we all live with different realities.

Providing the support your employees need will go a long way to keeping them engaged, but most importantly, to making them feel appreciated.

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