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3 Ways Leaders Can Increase Worker Morale In The Hybrid Workplace

January 17, 2023

As 2023 gets on and we continue to work in the hybrid workplace reality there is one common challenge among leaders of all ranges.

The top hybrid workplace challenge identified via Nextmapping is ‘engaging workers and keeping worker morale up’.

Employee/worker morale is a bigger challenge since hybrid became standard among most companies.

Companies such as Disney have required workers to come back to the office four days a week.

Other companies have shifted completely to a hybrid four day work week.

And still other companies have embraced hybrid and remote workers as the new way of working.

Worker/employee morale is directly linked to the level of trust a worker has with their leader and the company.

Trust is created when leaders engage in ongoing communication, one on one connections and clarity around what is expected.

59% of workers surveyed by Agility PR said that they trust their company ‘very much’ or ‘extremely’ when it comes to decision making.

40% of leaders are struggling to trust their workers – 40% said they have doubts about their ability to manager their teams remotely and 38% have concerns that their workers are performing less effectively when working remotely.  (HBR)

Morale is an issue where there is lack of trust.

Leaders who do not trust work is getting done in a hybrid environment need to research and identify data.

Leaders needs to reframe their assumptions and deal with true data around worker performance.

In my consulting client work I have been helping leaders identify the truth of whether work is getting done or not in a hybrid environment.

With one client we held an experiment where we followed the work of two workers who did the same work in the company.

One of the workers was in the office four days a week and worked remotely one day a week – the other worker worked remotely full time.

The remote position was filled during the pandemic.

What we discovered was that once the new remote hire had been fully trained, the volume, response rates and the quality of work was comparable to the four day a week in office worker.

The truth of the matter was the leader of the two workers had a bias around a few things such as preferring in office work over remote as well as viewing the training time as the worker being less effective. So in fact the performances of the two workers was not being viewed with full perspective by their leader.

In the above experiment it became evident that the leader was struggling with the hybrid reality of the role and was challenged with adapting to change.

There are 3 ways leader can increase worker morale in the hybrid workplace:

  1. Leader must first lead thyself – check for your biases about change/work/technology – biases create barriers to connection with ALL workers
  2. Communicate with intention to include everyone and frequency – increase your commitment to over communicating the ‘why’ the ‘how’ and the ‘who does what’ to keep everyone informed
  3. Ensure you are having one on ones with your workers on a consistent basis. One on ones are to listen for employee needs/pain points, and discuss resources and solutions.

As human beings we all inherently want to do good work. We all want to contribute and we all want to add value.

Positive intent is a valuable leadership attribute in today’s fast changing workplace dynamics.

Ultimately the way to increase morale is to have a ‘people first’ mindset focused on understanding people at a deeper level.

The more we understand people the better we can be at inspiring, engaging and increasing morale.

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