6 Benefits to Boost Morale During the Summer Months

With the sun shining, employees want to be outside. Given the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing requirements in 2020, it is more important than ever to get outdoors. As a manager, you need to find ways to boost morale by improving the balance between fulfilling work responsibilities and participating in summer activities.

Choose among these six ways to improve employee morale for your in-office or remote team.

Summer Hours

Implement summer hours so your team spends less time in the office. Have your team work a half-day on Friday or work longer Monday through Thursday and take off Fridays. Having an abbreviated workweek increases employee satisfaction, productivity, and morale.

Picture Sharing

Provide opportunities for your remote team to virtually share pictures of their summer activities. Engaging with others through photos and stories provides insight into their lives. Lively conversations about fun memories make everyone feel connected. This promotes team bonding, collaboration, and company culture.

Outdoor Activities

If local social distancing regulations allow, plan an outdoor activity for your team. Take them mini-golfing, camping, or to an outdoor movie. Or, set up a family-friendly barbeque at a local park or your home. Encourage everyone to sign up to bring food or a beverage to share. Include friendly competitions and prizes. Employees appreciate time to socialize with coworkers in the sunshine and fresh air.

The Perfect Summer Vacation

Ask your remote team to call a coworker and describe the perfect summer vacation. Emphasize that time and money are unlimited. When your team members finish, have them get together on a video conference to explain their coworker’s dream vacation as accurately as possible. This promotes listening and looking for common interests.

Volunteer Day

Choose a community event that your team wants to participate in. Find out which causes they care about most, then organize an activity around them. This may include picking up trash along a beach or park, walking dogs at an animal shelter, or setting up a food or clothing drive. You can arrange more than one volunteer day to accommodate as many interests as possible. Keep in mind there are plenty of ways to give back while doing so remotely.

Virtual Movie Night

Host an online movie night for your remote team. Remind everyone to have popcorn, snacks, and their beverage of choice ready. Stream the film through a video conference platform. Keep an instant messaging chat box open for team members to comment while watching. This provides an opportunity to relax, open up, and joke about things later on.

Plan Ahead for Summer Vacations

Working during the Summer instead of being outside can be challenging. Providing fun summer activities for in-office and remote teams to participate in promotes engagement, increases happiness, and boosts morale. Staff perform at higher levels and feel less stressed when they are able to have more fun with team members.

When you need to fill accounting and finance absences due to summer vacations, turn to Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. As a trusted staffing partner, we reduce your time spent on recruiting, evaluating, screening, and interviewing employees. Learn more today.

Recognize and Repair Employee Burnout with These Management Tips

With the sudden transition to working from home during the pandemic, many employees were caught off guard. When offices, schools, and day cares closed due to social distancing requirements, staff quickly had to adapt. Parents had to handle homeschooling, childcare, and elder care on their own. Maintaining work productivity became a greater challenge. All these factors can lead to burnout. As part of your managerial role, how are you helping your employees navigate through these changes while maintaining work output?

Here are some tips to implement to recognize and protect against employee burnout.

Look for Signs of Burnout

Burnout often occurs when staff blur the boundaries between work and life. They may believe that working nights and weekends shows dedication to their company. However, employees who work more than 40 hours per week are less productive than those who limit their work week. Overworking is directly related to stress, anger, anxiety, and depression. A weakened immune system, trouble sleeping, low energy, cardiovascular issues, heart disease, and other health concerns can develop.

Promote Flexibility

To combat burnout, provide employees as much flexibility as possible. With social distancing enforcement and Safer at Home initiatives, there is limited control over everyday life. Letting staff decide where and when to work, including from home, lets them have a say in how they spend their day. Being able to control their schedule, workload, and types of work assignments is empowering. Regular check-ins and communication about managing workloads helps team members feel valued and supported.

Implement Traditional Office Activities

Remind employees that although work looks different right now, many office activities can take place remotely. Water cooler chats can be done through a Slack channel. Individual and team meetings, group discussions about COVID-19, virtual coffee, and happy hour can take place through Zoom. Employees can share stories, ask questions, and give and receive support as needed.

Establish Boundaries

Encourage employees to maintain physical and social boundaries, especially when working from home. Initially, being able to spend the day in pajamas may be welcoming. However, changing from the “home you” to the “work you” is an important way to tell the mind when to focus on work and when to relax. To promote this idea, encourage staff to get ready each morning as though they are going to the office. Suggest they replace commute time with a walk to a local park or around their home.

Get Help Managing Your Remote Accounting and Finance Team

The effects of COVID-19 can have a significant impact on employee burnout. Potentially having to work from home while balancing childcare and elder-care responsibilities is challenging. As a leader, guide your team through setting personal and professional boundaries, managing workloads, and reducing stress to avoid burnout.

If you need assistance managing your accounting and finance team from a distance, reach out to Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. We provide superior value to our business partners through innovation, creativity, and initiative. Find out more today.

What the Back-to-Work Office Looks Like?

Now that all 50 states have implemented phased re-openings, the question among executive leaders and their HR teams is: “What is our policy to get employees safely back into the office and what policies change?”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, before the COVID-19 pandemic eight percent of all wage and salaried employees worked from home at least one day a week; about two percent worked from home full-time. Now that nearly 100% of workers in positions that were considered non-public facing have gotten a taste of telecommuting, how will employers provide safe work environments?

And do employees really want to go back to the office? Global Workplace Analytics conducted a recent survey on the Global Work-From-Home Experience. President Kate Lister stated, “77% of the workforce wants to continue to work from home two to three days a week.” (the full survey results can be downloaded here)

As Corporate America and smaller business firms explore opening their offices again, what steps are being taken to put the proverbial genie “back into the bottle?” What should employers consider when balancing safety measures against pragmatic policies that benefit both employer and employee, decrease person-to-person contact and allow the practice of social distancing?

It Won’t Be The Same Office

What we do know is that people will not be coming back to the same office. Today, there are conversations about reconfiguring the office plan to lower the risk of contagion. Management is looking at providing hand sanitizer, masks and increasing cleaning procedures from nightly to several times a day. Sneeze guards are being installed and staggered workdays will result in fewer people in the office at a time.

Some offices will provide directional arrows throughout hallways and common spaces to reduce the possibility of employees passing one another face-to-face. Others are providing disposable placemats for shared desks and common areas. Chairs are being removed from worktables and conference rooms so employees maintain safe social distances. Touchpads to enter office spaces may also need to be reconfigured to a more sanitary solution.

Employers are also considering more generous sick leave policies to encourage workers to stay home when they are not feeling well.

The Pros and Cons of Telecommuting

You might ask yourself, “Isn’t telecommuting working out?” Yes and no. Some of the Pros for considering longer-term strategies of working from home include

  • Reduced costs on real estate, furniture, and supplying computers and printers.
  • Access to a broader pool of talent since geography is no longer an issue.
  • Higher employee retention rates for employees who enjoy the reduced stress that telecommuting and more time with family creates.

But what about the Cons?

  • Employee retention could also be a con. The level of loyalty that office comradery brings may become fragile and mentorship opportunities for new employees may suffer.
  • Companies may still need to address telecommuting security issues.
  • Managing could also become harder.

A virus-free work environment is unrealistic but considering some of the above ideas allows companies to reconfigure their office space into something safer.

Lastly,  whatever approach your company is taking, it is imperative to keep your employees informed and communication updated regularly about the virus and how your company is responding to new information.