A whole lot has changed in the past one year plus in workplaces especially. Employees have had to adjust to new working systems, conditions and tools such as working from home, new virtual collaboration tools, adjusted working hours, concerns about job security, and much more. However, despite this change and uncertainty, employees are still very much motivated to do their work. The pandemic seems to have motivated people to work harder and even sincerely. As a matter of fact, a recent survey by a Deutsche Bank found that Americans are feeling more productive presently than they were before the COVID-19 crisis.
But on a second thought, what could be the reason for the spike in productivity and the enthusiasm of employees? Possibly the fear and concern for job security amidst the pandemic. The sudden and intense anxiety associated with the pandemic obviously resulted in the unyielding strive of employees against the odds and hence, increased productivity.
Although, everyone is quite happy with the increase in productivity, however, the driving force which is fear is hazardous for employees and unreliable for the future of businesses and organizations. The mental health of many employees are on the line already due anxiety. In the near future, the fear thriving productivity will be a shadow of what it is currently if nothing is done to create a balance. Hence, the need to look out for healthy ways to motivate employees and increase productivity.
Below are some healthy ways organizations can motivate their employees to strive and increase productivity:
Recognition Based Motivation
Acknowledging the efforts and inputs of employees especially in times like this is very vital in boosting employees’ motivation. Beyond the usual recognition of worthy employees in words and as reference in meetings, organizations should consider tangible and valuable rewards that will be obvious, meaningful and of great impact to such employees.
As the pandemic has led to many working remotely, there is obviously a decrease in the face to face contact with managers and hence, a demisnished feedback system. Therefore, there is need for organizations to implement remote strategies for recognizing their employees. Without such systems in place, the remote working system will tend to make employees feel undervalued and unappreciated which will also result in decreased motivation and productivity as well.
Meanwhile, organizations should consider methods of recognition that will encourage peer-to-peer praise and collaboration amongst employees which can result in a 14% boost of employee performance. Instead of recognizing only a few trailblazers. Generally, 90% of employees are motivated to work harder and sincerely when acknowledged and appreciated for a job well-done.
Flexibility Based Motivation
The four-day work week will indeed serve as another source of motivation to employees in this period of the COVID-19 crisis. Of which the pandemic has made obvious the the work-life imbalance suffered by almost all employees in all parastatals. Recently, the software company, Elephant Ventures announced its intention to introduce a four-day work week for U.S. employees after seeing initial success (20% to 30% productivity increase) with this schedule in the Philippines.
Also, Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand-based estate planning company experienced a 20% productivity increase after introducing a four-day work week, alongside a 27% decrease in work-related stress and a 45% increase in employee work-life balance. With these examples, it is obvious how a flexible approach to work can greatly motivate employees and spur them to greater productivity.
Other Ways To Motivate Emoloyees
Likewise, employees can be given other opportunities which will serve as a motivation for increased productivity. Such opportunities include implementing reduced hours on days when business is slower than usual, permitting employees to sign in earlier and sign off later to help manage their family responsibilities, physical health and mental wellbeing. Again, encouraging employees to use all of their paid time off because even staycations offer relief from burnout.
Although, the pandemic has encouraged increased productivity yet, fear being the driving force for employees is unhealthy and detrimental to long term productivity. Therefore, organizations that will imbibe new and healthy methods of motivating their employees in this era of the pandemic stand a better chance for long term existences and productivity. As they will not only motivate their employees for long term, but also attract new talents as well.