How to boost morale and engagement with a remote or hybrid team.

How to Boost Engagement & Morale with a Remote Team

How we work has significantly changed in the last four years. To start, many employees now want a more permanent remote or hybrid-working arrangement. At the very least, flexible working where they work from home when needed, which employers will soon be legally required to accommodate. While this might not be a difficult feat for smaller firms to implement, they are experiencing other problems with maintaining team spirit within a virtual hybrid team. In this article, we’ve shared some tips on how to boost morale and engagement in your team. It’s time to thrive with your staff in a happy and engaged remote or hybrid environment.

Times have been tough

The year 2020 and its subsequent pandemic truly shook up lives and businesses. Four years on and small business accountancy business owners are still navigating the ‘new normal’. Even if settled, team morale might be low. A lack of team spirit may seem like one of the subtler effects of the pandemic, but left unchecked it can be incredibly toxic to your business (and often be a sign of quiet quitting or mental health matters). If you haven’t already, a refocus on rebuilding team spirit and ensuring your staff feel valued and appreciated is much needed.

1. Schedule non-work time as a team — be creative! 

It’s safe to say the novelty of the lockdown quiz has long worn off. However, whilst you may be happy to leave the weekly quizzes back in pandemic times, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still be scheduling non-work activities and games with your teams. Low-cost or free virtual games include:

  • Beetle drive 
  • Charades 

Or, if games aren’t your style, why not try:

  • All doing an online puzzle (crosswords, sudokus, arrow words)
  • A virtual team bake-off or book club
  • Virtual drinks after work on a Friday
  • Virtual team lunches to catch up with colleagues  
  • Team competitions

2. Keep communicating with your virtual team

The key to a successful virtual team is (you’ve guessed it) communication. As the owner of your accountancy firm, it’s your job to make sure your team is communicating — both regularly and effectively. This should also include non-work-related chats. After all, working from home or in a hybrid fashion can get lonely. 

With a lack of physical presence in the office, staff may find it easier to withdraw from their team and hide away if they’re struggling. Keeping that in mind, here are some ways to improve your team’s communication and, in turn, boost your team’s morale.

Focus on the firm’s goals and vision

Having a shared goal and vision is a great motivator for your team. Be sure to regularly remind your team about upcoming goals and the general direction in which the firm is heading. 

Hold regular 1:1 meetings

These meetings don’t need to be lengthy or drawn out. Instead, short, regular check-ins with each team member are preferable. This way you can see how they’re doing, keep on top of any worries or concerns and still use these meetings to set personalised goals and expectations for their work. 

Introduce daily operational huddles

Operational huddles are a great way to get your team together each morning. Short, sharp and effective, these meetings allow each team member to share what they’re working on that day and explain what help they will need to achieve this. This helps keep everyone on track whilst providing your team with much-needed social contact time. 

Why not encourage your teams to also share their daily gratitude during these meetings? Expressing gratitude is a great way to start the day and can help promote mindfulness and positivity.

Keep an eye out for struggling team members

We all have bad days now and again. However, with the effects of the pandemic still looming large and with busy season on the horizon, these bad days could become more frequent than usual. It’s important to keep an even closer eye out for team members who may be struggling - especially because of the lack of physical presence in the office. Pay attention to those staff members who seem tired or stressed. Have their behaviours changed? Have they lost weight? Are they withdrawing from the team? They may be experiencing a dip in mental health, or perhaps quiet quitting

3. Be appreciative 

We’re all going through a difficult time right now, and unfortunately, this means that some clients will be taking their stresses out on you and your team. Whilst client care is crucial for the success of your business - so is the care of your staff. Ensure you regularly express gratitude and show appreciation for your team members. 

Some simple ways to demonstrate your thanks are:

  • Having an employee of the week/month/quarter award
  • Encouraging each person to share some positive feedback or praise about another team member during your weekly meetings
  • Sending your team members handwritten notes or letters through the post
  • Set up a chat channel designed to acknowledge team members successes and share their accomplishments  
  • Sending treats for team members to eat during a team meeting (everybody enjoys a piece of cake!)
  • Recording personal messages to send to your team members saying thank you for their hard work
  • Celebrate team successes 
  • Sending a small token or gift through the post as a thank you

Keep on keeping on

While the accountancy world is working a bit differently, we can all do our part to stay connected and boost team engagement and morale. Remember, these suggestions aren’t about big gestures or setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Instead, focus on small daily habits that ensure you and your team feel supported and appreciated now and as your business grows. 

**This original version of this article was published on The Accountants’ Growth Club website. 

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