Building a Safer, Happier Workplace
Happy, healthy employees are productive employees.
As millions of employees physically begin to return to the workplace full-time or part-time after the Covid-19 pandemic, they will demand more from employers to keep them healthy, build camaraderie, and promote a supportive corporate culture.
What’s a company to do?
Below are several ideas of ways to boost employee morale and foster an environment and culture that your employees will want to continue to be a part of. These employee engagement solutions are certainly important post-pandemic, but they can be applicable at any time.
Employees will need to be reassured on a regular basis that the their workplace is a safe environment. Post-pandemic, mask-wearing and social distance policies should be reiterated, and employees should not feel stigmatized if they choose to wear a mask in meetings or maintain a 6-foot social distance from their co-workers. Any changes to building air circulation and systems should be conveyed often. Keep in mind that while in-person work attendance may be important to your corporate culture, the world and work environmental have been forever changed by Covid-19, and future events may call for continued work flexibility.
Employees' mental health will be equally vital, and socializing will help remind employees of the professional benefits and personal enjoyment of coming together with work colleagues. Beyond the annual office holiday party, create time for employees to gather informally to mingle--be it in person, virtually, or both. Some gatherings can be affiliated with company milestones, like a strong sales quarter, but should also be decoupled from business goals to celebrate employee camaraderie in general and related to the company’s mission or values. Include remote employees through virtual activities or sending small care packages electronically or in-person if your budget allows.
Anytime is a great time for employee volunteering, but nicer weather and a more-laid back schedule during the summer makes for ideal volunteering opportunities. Nonprofits are also anxious to serve their constituents after the pandemic and likely looking for corporate partnering opportunities. Pair with a nonprofit that aligns with your company’s mission and values to engage your employees and create a corporate culture that gives back to its community.
If you’re still hesitant about having your employees physically volunteer, remind them of any alternative giving programs you might have. Donation matching programs that allow employees to defer portions of their paycheck to nonprofits of the company’s or their choosing is one method for giving back. Employees may also be encouraged to donate their excess sick leave to a corporate pool for fellow employees suffering from Covid-related absences or other illnesses. If you don’t have these programs in place, now is a perfect time to consider establishing them.