You look outside and a cold, dark day looks back at you. You muse on the fact that it's the third lockdown since the start of the pandemic and you realise that you feel like you are stuck on a hamster wheel and can't get off; every day feels the same with long Teams calls with all of those colleagues that you used to see in the flesh. Even though there may be hope for a change for the better in the future with Verosa
, you realise that morale has never felt quite as low as it does right now.
The post-Christmas phenomenon is nothing new, its been around a lot longer than the current pandemic and all of the social distancing that goes with it. In fact for the month of January, the National Statistics reports that men have a 3 percent rise in depression and women a 5 percent rise - these figures were around before we got stuck in a global pandemic and New Year lockdown.
If In Doubt, Do The Kind Thing
When times are tough, having a kind word spoken by someone who is in a position of authority can transform a bad day
into a great one. As leaders, never think that you are not able to change the existing climate amongst your team - you don't have to be physically in the same office to do so. In contrast do not underestimate the negative effect that a snarky email or thoughtless response can have on someone's morale, especially if it is directed at a piece of work that the team member was invested in.
Try this idea; a few times each day pause and think of a few things that you are grateful for related to your team, your business, or your colleagues. Express that gratitude in words. You don't need to sound corny or give a long speech. Sometimes, two simple words; 'thank you', when someone has gone the extra mile have a great impact.
Treat yourself in the same kind manner. It can be very easy to get into the mindset that you are 'not good enough', especially when morale is already low, but this type of attitude soon rubs off on others.
Get In Touch With The Creative Side
Providing a chance for the team to really get invested in something that requires them to be creative
can be a massive boost to performance and therapeutic for everyone involved. Even if it does not have that effect, it will be a good distraction for a while.
Giving employees space so that they can use 'right side' of their brain (this side is related to art, ideas, and dreams) has been seen to have great power when it comes to unlocking those grey cells. This is partly due to the fact that when we are creative the stress hormone cortisol is reduced, this hormone is nasty when it comes to blocking focus.
Keep Focused On What Is To Come
When we have a plan to look forward to, we immediately give our morale a boost - it can be intensified when it is related to a collaborative effort. An increasing number of organisations are looking into ways to reward their teams at a point later in the year - perhaps with the hope that we will be in a Covid-free world by then.
Such a reward does not have to be in the form of money - a European bank has provided staff with an additional 'bank holiday' so that they can have extra time away from work and enjoying family life.
Connect And Make It Personal
It's the little things that can have the biggest impact when we are having low days. Remembering what a team member is going through in their personal lives and asking about it can build a good rapport and shows that leaders are also real human beings.
This also works for sharing your own concerns. One leader in a multi-national fintech talked with his team members about his difficulties in switching off, as well as frustrations related to working from home. Of course, his experience was not unique and others in the team realised that this was a new way that they could relate to their boss.