Low Office Morale: Spotting It & Sorting It

Office morale, especially during the gloomy months of January and February, can hit an all-time low and leave your employees in a slump. To rectify the situation, you first have to notice it and in the day to day running of your business it can be easy to lose sight of the overall picture.

But does office morale really matter we hear you ask. As long as the work gets done then no problem, right?

Sure. If your workforce consists of robots and you are operating in the year 1802.

The fact is that miserable people often produce mediocre work and this can spiral out of control and have a hugely negative impact on both your employees and your business. So, let’s talk spotting it and sorting it. Then we can perhaps tackle the big issues like why kittens are so cute or how excellent pizza is.

Low Office Morale: The 3 Main Signs

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Sometimes when you’re in the middle of running a business you can easily overlook what’s going on with your team. Here’s a few things to watch out for when trying to determine how happy your team is:

It’s Quiet. Too Quiet

Whilst constant chatter would be counterproductive, general chit chat among co-workers is normal and healthy. It strengthens bonds within the team and gives the working day a pleasant social element for all involved. If you start to notice that it is unusually quiet, this may be an indicator that the overall happiness of the team is lacking.

High Turnover

People leave their jobs for a variety of reasons and you can bet your boots that an unpleasant working environment is one of them. If there are numerous people leaving your company at frequent intervals, then the first thing to consider is how your business might be inadvertently causing it.

Poor Performance

Again, there are no hard and fast rules, and the reasons behind someone’s work quality taking a nose dive can be numerous. That said, if this is a common problem among several employees then you need to be looking at your business rather than the individual, chances are that their lack of effort is a direct consequence of their job satisfaction.

The Solutions

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Ok, so the bad news is you may discover that the company morale is wilting like an unloved office plant. The good news is you can forestall and correct it. To help you have the happiest office possible we have created a list of some sure-fire ways in which to boost morale and get the best out of the people on your team.

The Basics: Praise

The fundamental groundwork for a happy working environment is making people feel needed and valued. If we give 100% and don’t earn any recognition then work can quickly become, quite literally, a thankless task. Whilst constructive criticism is important for employee development, it can become counterproductive if not tempered with a healthy amount of praise. It’s obvious we know, but the obvious has a tricky way of going unnoticed. A bit like a full fruit bowl you just know you’ll ignore until it’s claimed by mould.

The Career: Pay and Progress

Most employees care about their careers and want to feel as though they aren’t backed into a corner within your company. It’s vital then to make the career trajectory within your business clear from the start and show that you actively support the betterment of your team.  Frequent feedback and the offer of further training are both excellent ways to support the aspirations of your employees and make them feel that they are moving upwards.

In terms of pay, a powerful morale boost can be generated from a good bonus scheme. It adds some tangible value to the praise and solidifies the idea that employees are valued for the work they do. Plus, more money equals more chocolate so what’s not to be happy about?

The Creative: Fun

Fun at work often makes managers shudder. The concept of balancing work with a little fun is treated as a myth; lovely to listen to around a campfire but ultimately laughable. Well we’re here to tell you that not only can it work, it can make a world of difference to the outlook and performance of your team. We’re not suggesting 4 hours of every day should be dedicated to office volley ball and line dancing, but a little fun goes a long way and you are really only limited by your imagination.  Some of our favourite ideas to inject fun into your office include:

  • Office Nerf Wars: This is cheap and a wonderful way to get people out of their chairs and having a laugh. Organise a catch-the-flag style game and keep a tally of which team is winning. This can be a monthly event and a great source of banter within the office.
  • Word of the Day: Each day a new team member picks the most outlandish word and the trick is to fit it into as many normal conversations as possible. You can easily generate some competition and humour without spending a thing.
  • Days Out: One day a month it’s good to just get everyone out and away from the office. Set up a system so that people can vote for the activity they’d most like. Rock climbing, escape the room, paintball and orienteering are all great days out that strengthen bonds and give employees something to look forward to.
  • Meeting Mess-ups. We all hate meetings, why not spend the first ten minutes where everyone admits to something they’ve messed up that week? Whether it’s ruining Sunday dinner or making your dog semi bald after trying to trim her yourself, it’s a good way to get people smiling before you get into the actual meeting.
  • Birthday Bashes: Celebrating birthdays in the office is a great way to make people feel valued and a wonderful excuse to have some fun. Making a cake, bringing in silly gifts and if possible, having a Mario Kart session for an hour.

Spotted & Sorted

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Generating a happy atmosphere isn’t as hard as it sounds and quite often it’s the little things that really make a difference to people. So, if your budget can’t stretch to the bigger things then it’s imperative that you really go for it with the smaller ones.  Adding some flowers to the office and being vocal when your team do a good job are small things that make the overall atmosphere for your employees significantly better.

And biscuits with tea. That’s a biggie.

Sally-Ann O'Neill
sally-ann.o'neill@answer-4u.com


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