With the majority of office workers now having worked mainly at home for the best part of a year, many may well be feeling frustrated and fed up, so it would be no surprise if some negativity has crept in. A negative attitude leads to loss of productivity, as well as potential adverse effects on other staff and the business as a whole. It is therefore now more important than ever to encourage a positive working attitude amongst your team.
So how can you create a positive working environment despite the current restrictions? Here are our top tips to ensure staff are engaged, happy and performing at their best:
It seems obvious, especially since this is what PR and Comms is all about, but are you communicating as well as you could with your employees? Modern technology has enabled us to slip easily into the new norm of Zoom calls and Teams chats, but it also means that quick chat whilst making a cuppa has become impossible. And it is these ‘small’ things – offloading about a tricky client or asking advice on something that is bothering them – that can make a big difference to positivity levels and overall attitude. Make time to regularly have a chat to ensure employees feel supported and have someone to talk to.
Our research[i] has shown that some corporate comms professionals are concerned about the impact Covid is having on their career progression, and this is bound to affect their attitude. These personal career conversations are therefore now needed more than ever, as a key reason comms professionals move jobs is for lack of career progression. And if a promotion is off the cards this year, make sure team members are still getting the opportunity to learn and improve their skills, as encouraging employees to grow aids engagement and boosts retention.
At the moment, when the lines between work and home life are blurred and no one is in the office for you to keep a physical eye on, it is important to make sure your team are still taking breaks and keeping themselves healthy. It’s true that a healthy body equals a healthy mind - as well as reducing stress and improving concentration, regular exercise has been shown to elevate mood[ii], which has definite implications for workplace attitude and performance. So get them moving! And if the common excuse of not having enough time creeps in, work with your employees to help them create a schedule that makes time for exercise.
There are many things you can still do remotely to help your team feel engaged with each other and the company. Think of some fun internal initiatives everyone can take part in from home – such as playing ‘coffee roulette’ to have a chat with someone you might not know that well, or a competition to create an ultimate team playlist and vote for the ‘resident DJ’. The more you can still do to encourage interaction and fun between your team members the better, as a collective spirit and sense of belonging can significantly boost morale and attitude.
However, despite best efforts, sometimes a negative attitude from a member of staff, for whatever reason, can be unavoidable, and it is important to nip it in the bud before it affects the business or spreads to other team members. Have an informal conversation to try to get to the root of the problem, make sure they know you are there to support them, and work together to find a resolution.
Workplace attitude is very closely linked to mental health, an issue that is luckily losing its stigma and employers have become much more aware about recently. For more advice, have a look at our recent blog on how to support your team’s mental wellbeing whilst working from home.
The Works Search is a search consultancy specialising in PR and corporate communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities and known for finding the top 5% performers in the industry - the ones who deliver and make your reputation great. For more advice or market insights, do get in touch with us on 0207 903 9291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
[i] Over 300 phone conversations with senior corporate communications professionals from May – November 2020