How to Keep Team Morale High in Today’s Hybrid Work Environment

Virtually all aspects of business operations have been affected in some way by the COVID 19 pandemic. One change impacting all companies is: What will the workforce look like in 2021 and beyond? How can companies successfully manage a hybrid work environment that includes employees onsite and remote workers scattered around the country, if not the planet?

Here at Baillie Lumber, we have worked hard throughout 2020 and into this year at keeping levels of employee morale as high as possible. We know that our skilled, talented workforce is among our key assets, so we strive to continually understand the challenges and difficulties our team members face. These teams and individuals can be found throughout our organization. From our skilled lumber traders and yard managers to the dedicated members of our traffic and accounting teams, to the many skilled employees at our sawmills. We believe the stronger our relationships, the more productive our employees will be.teammorale

If you have been trying to think of some ways to boost morale in your organization, here are a few tips we found valuable to consider:

Recognize the challenges involved in a hybrid work situation. Things aren’t as simple as just designating that some employees can work remotely, while others can’t. The lack of a consistent policy can impede levels of productivity off- and on-site. For example, as Forbes notes, “if some members of the team come into the office more than others, be sure they’re not seen as favorites.” At the same time, ensure that remote team members aren’t “perceived as getting more of the technological goodies which will help them connect.”

Treating everyone fairly, regardless of where they are physically located, goes a long way towards maintaining team morale.

Emphasize the value of communications. Your team members want to know what’s going on. There should be no discrepancy between communications aimed at (and distributed to) onsite employees and those based remotely. Not only should communications be aimed at all members of the team, but ideally you can offer a broader context to organizational decisions for those off-site who want to remain fully informed.

It’s also good to reach out across a variety of platforms. As Davis & Company suggests, “consider posting a message or even a video to your company intranet” or “post an update on an internal social media platform … and encourage people to comment.” The value of these efforts lies in the ability for employees “to view content on their own time while providing the same experience whether you’re in the office or at home.”

Good communications across the board helps to maintain a sense of belonging among team members.

Incorporate flextime into employees’ schedules. Another facet of a hybrid work environment is a policy of offering flexible work hours for employees. In a hybrid environment, people still need to juggle their personal and professional lives as best they can. Generally speaking, there are opportunities within most workplace environments where team members can achieve the same goals on a flexible schedule, as opposed to the traditional model.

Employee morale will be favorably affected when team members can work flexible schedules that accommodate all the pressures they face in the rapidly changing workplace.

Ease up on restrictive office policies. Office regulations that made sense pre-COVID 19 may not be as relevant today. Aside from implementing and enforcing rules that ensure a safe workplace, employers might consider empowering team members to act more independently whenever possible. Sure, some mistakes will occur, “but smart employees learn from those missteps and often come up with intriguing solutions you and your executive team might not have considered.”

In the new business landscape of 2021, it’s more important than ever to enhance your communications efforts, focus on strengthening relationships with your team, and enabling everyone to accept new ways of working together. Whether you are managing a team of hardwood lumber experts, foresters, or sawmill employees try to focus on keeping your team's morale high.  Doing so will help maintain a strong sense of being part of the team.

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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