Staying Relevant: Morale Boosting Maven

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Robots just don’t have the same warmth that a human being has. Is there even an app for boosting morale? In these times of remote working, it is more important than ever to find ways to connect with your team, support them and boost the positive morale in your digital workplace. 

We are all experiencing the negative effects of living in a world of COVID for six months straight now and a big one involves the effect it has on depression and anxiety. According to an online article written by William Wan of The Washington Post, “A federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress registered a more than 1,000 percent increase in April compared with the same time last year.” This spike in the above hotline, “run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,” is an obvious display of the negative mental health effects of quarantine including fear, economic instability, and isolation. The team of an Executive Assistant is most likely feeling the effects of isolation due to the lack of interactions he or she is used to when working alongside coworkers in the office every week. Now more than ever, finding ways to keep your team’s morale on the upside is incredibly important.

Inventive Ways to Boost Morale in The Virtual Workplace

Although virtual happy hours for companies and social circles are trending right now, it is not always the answer to an all-inclusive activity for your team. What if one of them does not enjoy drinking alcoholic beverages or is a recovering addict in his or her personal life? Thankfully, a blog entry on Namely.com lists 17 Ways to Boost Employee Morale During COVID-19 That Aren’t Happy Hours.

Many ways an Executive Assistant can boost his or her team’s morale implements ways to maintain one’s mental health. After lockdown forced everyone to work from home, Kickstand Communications began to allow the staff to sign off during a workday for three hours every week, either in increments or all at once “-for rest and well-being.” Napala Pratini, Co-Founder at Habitual, when one step further by implementing a policy that gives each worker an hour a day to “do something positive for their physical or mental health.” Then, management checks in on the employees each morning to see what he or she chose to do with this time.

Exercising is often a way people reduce stress during the workweek. With this in mind, leaders at MintResume encourage their team to challenge coworkers to virtual exercise competitions by tracking progress with an app. When it comes to boosting one’s mental health, laughter is the best medicine. The company CBDiablo uses a channel on Slack to encourage employees to post their favorite memes. This would help an Assistant’s team get out of their heads for a little while. Possibly one of my favorite ideas comes from the company Parlia. They created Fancy Dress Fridays where each employee wears a funny outfit that day. Nushy Rose, the company’s Managing Editor, says this practice allows the team “-to make each other laugh during virtual meetings.” This idea can be altered to different comical themes every week.

Entertain Your Team

Other strategies to boost the morale of a team involve entertainment. The Content Strategist at Animalz arranged a remote talent show for his team. Stephen J. Kontos, Founder & CEO at PatentXP PLLC, hired a magician to put on a remote magic show for his team. Events like these are also good for the family is your team members. The team at Design Pickle has Netflix parties where everyone watches a movie or episode, syncing screens, and instant messaging from an app. Games and puzzles are also wonderful ways to keep team members entertained during the pandemic. The Co-founder of Comfy Living, Mira Rakicevic, used an app to create a crossword puzzle using the company’s inside jokes. Anna Barker, Founder of LogicalDollar, hosts a remote trivia night every week. Entertainment is a wonderful way for an Executive Assistant to give their team a temporary distraction from the chaos of today’s world.

Human Connection amongst Your Team

Re-creating the social connection teams miss when working from home is another technique EAs can use to keep everyone’s spirits up. “Donut is an app in our Slack channel that randomly pairs up coworkers together,” explains Angela Ceresnie, CEO at Climb Credit, who encourages her team to utilize this resource to get to know each other better, even if he or she is in a different country. Assistants can follow in the steps of Ringblaze, a company that holds remote events called “campfires,” that gives team members an hour to talk about their favorite subject, anything from a sports team to a favorite dish, and have coworkers ask questions afterward. The company Velvetjobs also encourages and even hosts virtual social time for their staff.

Giving Back

An Executive Assistant can also boost his or her team’s morale by giving gifts like care packages tailored to each individual’s personality or that includes PPE, food, and recipes. Giving your team thank you cards will also remind them how appreciated they are. Who said the concept behind “Secret Santa” was only for the holidays? Finally, an Assistant can both improve the mental health of their team and simulate human connection by giving the staff plant seeds as the company Online Mortgage Advisor did when they gave sunflower seeds to their employees who would then share the progress of the flowers amongst one another. Your team’s happy spirit will grow as they watch their plants do the same.

By helping your team maintain a positive mental state, entertain themselves and their families, connect with other team members near and far, and feel special by giving them a gift, an Executive Assistant can maintain his or her team’s morale through these difficult times. Take these ideas and make them your own!

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer