For any business the backbone of your operation is your staff.  The overall happiness of staff members can improve services, increase client satisfaction and make coming to the job enjoyable.  Before the pandemic there were many ways we let our staff know they are appreciated and helped strengthen the team.  Pot luck lunches, bowling outings, picnics and team building activities have now been cancelled due to the need to socially distance.  Even our monthly staff meetings and training sessions temporarily came to a halt in the first few months, as we learned to navigate and keep everyone safe.  Now our staff meetings are outside or in a large space with masks and distancing – and we keep it short.  Training is videos and surveys sent by text or email for everyone to complete on their own.

It is very important to bring back the comradery of the employees and send the message that we want to connect and your hard work is appreciated!    So here are a few ways you can improve staff morale in a pandemic. And please NO MORE ZOOM meetings!  The novelty of seeing others via the internet wore off quickly.

Pandemic Staff Activities

Hang a banner or poster  Having yard signs made and strategically placing them so your staff is welcomed to work can start the day off right, and let them know how much they are appreciated.  Banners hung at the entrance can also be a uplifting announcement when it is difficult to face a stressful day.  Hang posters with positive messages through out the workplace, it will put smiles on everyone’s face.

Goodie bags  We put together water bottles, face masks, hand sanitizer, pens and snacks in a goodie bag for each employee.  It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift, just some useful items and perhaps a note or cheerful card to remind them you are thinking of them.  You can also give coloring books and crayons for staff to take home to their children or grandchildren, we printed some that highlighted Healthcare Heroes and helped explain this difficult situation to young children staying at home.

Food Trucks or Box Lunches  Sharing a meal together is a great way to strengthen relationships, and this is a challenge when you can’t sit down together.  We had a snow  cone food truck come to the parking lot, and let everyone get the first treat on us.  We also have been ordering individual box lunches from Chick-fil-A, Jimmy Johns or similar fast food options.

Private Spaces Offering a private space to eat alone, rest your eyes or just get away during your break has been very popular with some of our staff members.  We opened up a small training room for those that felt more comfortable eating alone, and it has turned into a relaxation space during hectic and stressful days.  A picnic table outside or a few chairs socially distanced can also be a place of respite.  The sunshine and fresh air is therapeutic.

Birthday Celebrations The monthly birthday cake for those celebrating their special day came to a screeching halt.  No more blowing out the candles (will we ever do that again?) and sharing a cake.  But we have ordered a mini cake for the staff member to take home or had individual cupcakes.  Any reason to eat cake is always a moral booster.

So until we can once again play tug of war at the annual employee picnic, don’t forget to give your staff a virtual high five and say “good job”!