How to Boost Staff Morale During Lockdown?

It’s no secret that workplace morale and employee happiness are critical for talent retention, and overall workplace health. Happy employees tend to stay at their companies longer, and experience increased productivity. But “how to boost staff morale during lockdown” can seem like a challenging task.

While no company is solely responsible for the entirety of an employees’ mental health and wellness, creating a safe, healthy and, yes- happy- workplace does not only help your staff- it improves your company.

But Boosting Employee Morale Is Expensive!

Man holding up money bag.

It’s common for a company to pull it’s purse strings tighter at the notion of investing into the “sunk cost” of employee happiness. Afterall, employee retreats, paid staff lunches, and work perks affect a companys’ bottom line. The common idea being that keeping employees happy is, well, costly. 

Do you know what else is costly?

Turn over.

Dollar for dollar, retaining talent is preferable to screening, hiring, training and nurturing an endless stream of new talent that may only end up leaving due to an unhappy working environment.


But Shouldn’t They Be Grateful To JUST BE EMPLOYED? 

A notebook with the word unemployed on it.

The opinion above is often reflected by those who are miscalculating the damage done by an unhealthy working environment. Even in a situation where the employee is compelled by circumstance to stay, the effect of happiness on productivity and output can still lead to a negative outcome in the long run.

If you’re finding yourself saying “my employee should be so grateful…” You’re very likely underestimating the cost behind turnover. Further, you may be underestimating the impact that high turnover can have on the talent you are able to retain. Watching colleagues come in and out of the workplace at a high rate can erode a sense of job security.

You see, the same uncertain times that make an employee fearful of leaving, are the same uncertain times that stress out a companies’ bottom line. The game of “chicken” in what comes first- your employee leaves or your conditions improve, has just as much risk to you as it does to your staff. 

What Is The Difference Between Employee Morale and Employee Motivation 

Woman hiding back lots of magazines.
This is a vital distinction to make in your workplace. Just because an employee is motivated  to work, doesn’t mean they have a positive working morale. In short, motivation indicates the drive that compels the employee to work. Morale, on the other hand, refers to the emotional state the employee exists in while they are on the clock.

An employee may be extremely motivated to complete a task, but still be operating under low employee morale. Motivation can be founded in negative emotions, such as fear of being laid off. Motivation can also change based on task, or circumstances, (Think how driven one might be on a Tuesday Morning, verus Monday at 3:30pm).

Morale however, is a low-grade feeling largely driven by the employees sense of value and worth, coupled with the atmosphere within the company. While a company can not be responsible for the entirely of an employees morale, they can be instrumental in creating a workplace where their staff feel valued, appreciated and that, can intrinsically create positive morale. 

So Is The Company Responsible For Employee Morale And Happiness?

Man pointing at himself.

Glad you asked, as that’s what this post is all about. Let’s break it down:

– Happy employees are essential to productive companies.

– In uncertain times, employees may be more fearful of leaving, but companies may also not have the resources to source, hire and train new staff.


– While a company is not solely responsible for their employees well being, a company is responsible for maintaining a safe and productive work environment, which includes acknowledging the importance of worker happiness. 


Then How Can I Improve Employee Morale Without Breaking The Bank? 

Broken piggybank with money in it.

Good question! Thankfully there are lots of ways to encourage employee morale that cost little to nothing.

At Racked Out, one of the things we are so proud of is our amazing team and incredible morale. Here are some of our tips for building healthy, happier workplaces.


Rethink Your Companies’ Productivity Metrics By Valuing Task Completion Over Time-Management


There is a steadfast (but outdated) idea that time “at your desk” is valuable. The notion of where that desk is has changed in light of many working-from-home during the Pandemic, but the concept remains the same: The more time a person stays “on the clock,” the more productive they must be.

Shifting the mindset here is a cost-effective way to up employee morale. The simple concept being to judge productivity by the tasks completed, not the hours clocked.

Instead of seeing what an employee can do within a given set of hours, give them a manageable set of tasks to complete. Unless their job is locked to a specific time, place and location, the tasks themselves can be done in as much, or as little time as it takes the employee to do them well.

This mindset change allows employees to take control over their own work shift and schedule regarding the tasks they can do by themselves. This newfound agency provides freedom, and moreover, elevates stress for both company and employee alike.

Need time off for a dentist appointment? Need to leave early on a weekday to collect a child from an engagement? The actual hours clocked do not matter, as long as the tasks are completed properly by the assigned deadline. 


Use Cost-Effective Forms Of Recognition. And Recognize often.


Work is work. It’s not always fun and games. This is why positive recognition is important for your team. While monetary rewards are often appreciated, they are not the only way to make an employee feel valued. For a job well done, an impressive task completion or an important milestone met, consider some of the following: 


  • A social media shout out
  • A written message of thanks via an email or handwritten note
  • A quick verbal compliment in a meeting
  • A note of positive feedback on the task in question 

The basic concept here: The personal touch of acknowledgement builds a positive feedback loop.


Create An Environment Of Acknowledgement In Your Brand


It’s easy to get lost in the idea that your staff are just that- staff. Yet our professional worlds do not exist in a vacuum. Employees have rich lives outside of work. Did your project coordinator just complete their first half-marathon? Is your office manager volunteering at a local charity bake sale? Did your new intern just celebrate a birthday?

There is a valid case for keeping your professional and private worlds separate, but for accomplishments and annual celebrations (think birthdays, work anniversaries, personal accomplishments) a little recognition can go a long way.

Embedding employee recognition into your company, and by extension, your brand, can pay positive dividends in several ways:

– It creates a relaxed, but celebratory atmosphere for your staff.

– It promotes a public persona of a company that sees it’s team as people first


– It attracts the mindset of inclusivity and humanity among your brand as a whole, as well as among your company internally.

How exactly do you celebrate and acknowledge? It can be exceptionally simple. A social media shout out, an internal staff newsletter, or a small gesture, like a card signed from the team, can go a long way.


I’d Love To Give My Employees The Attention They Deserve, But I Just Don’t Have The Time/Money/Resources- HELP!

Different signs with the words, help support advice, and guidance.
You are not alone. Even if you are just acknowledging a birthday, or accomplishment in a cost-free manner, there is still the mental load required to plan and organize the additional tasks of celebrating.

Here are some streamlined ways to simplify your staff-acknowledgments:

– Create a “Celebration Calendar” with recurring annual events, such as birthdays, work anniversaries, or major company deadlines worth acknowledging. This will help you figure out where best to spend what resources you are able to provide.


– Consider an employee questionnaire for new hires, asking them the ways they prefer to be acknowledged for their hard work (Gift cards? An afternoon off? A simple verbal acknowledgement?)


– Purchase items, such as cards, in bulk during off seasons (think January) to keep on hand when something worth celebrating comes around. This way you’ll never have to send someone out on their lunch break to pick up a card in a panic.

– Keep a stack of gift cards, ($5, $10, $15, etc) for nearby coffee shops, lunch places, gas stations, etc, that can be handed out in times when monetary acknowledgement is agreeable.

– Consider revolving incentives- for example, the employee of the month or birthday celebrator can choose to either have lunch bought for them or leave work a few hours early on the day of their choice. 


What Are Some Of The Ways YOU Boost Your Companies Morale? 


This is by no means an exhaustive list of the ways we make people feel valued and important at work. Each company is a unique and complex entity with different needs, structures and supports. Not every type of recognition will work for everyone, or for every company.


Regardless of the shape your initiative takes, fostering higher morale among employees is a great way to encourage loyalty, productivity, positivity and people who love to come to work for you.

Do you have ways to help improve company morale? We’d love to know about them! Drop us a line on one of our social media accounts, or hit us up in the comments!

With love, 

Racked Out.