Low Workplace Morale? Here's How to Improve It

Posted by Seraine Page on Thu, Apr, 28, 2022

Morale-01-2How’s your workplace morale these days?

When a team is humming like a well-oiled machine, it can feel like there’s not a project or problem they can’t tackle together.

But throw in an unexpected roadblock — ahem, COVID — and morale can take a nosedive, quick.

This post highlights the workplace low morale signs employers should never ignore like chronic bad attitudes and poor work performance. Plus, we share insight on how to address each issue that pops up along with strategies to keep morale high — all throughout the year, even during tough times.

What is Workplace Morale?

Simply defined, it’s how your employees act and feel about the workplace they’re in. It’s the attitude and overall satisfaction employees have while working for a company or organization.

Related: 11 Simple Ways to Boost Employee Morale ASAP 

The Huge Impact of Positive Work Morale

When morale is good, business is great. If you’ve ever worked in a company where everyone lacks energy, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude, you know how draining it can be. But when coworkers are excited about their roles, work duties, and the company, it makes all the difference in the energy of a workplace.

The impacts of workplace morale includes:

  • Hard workers - Those employees who feel engaged and motivated are more likely to willingly put in more hours for a task, project, or deadline. That also generally leads to a spike in productivity, too.
  • Healthier employees - Want happier employees? Then you need to ensure they are staying upbeat and morale is good. The American Psychological Association found workers dealing with low morale tend to suffer from higher rates of heart disease and depression. They’re also less engaged.
  • Less costly - Keep workers on the job by keeping morale up. Workers on the job get work done. But, if workers are suffering from low morale, they may also be dealing with challenging physical or psychological issues. Southern Oregon University reported that paid sick leave days cost U.S. employers $160 billion in revenue annually.

Employees who enjoy getting up and going to work are more likely to stay loyal, be happy, and thrive personally and professionally. If you’re frequently dealing with sick, tired, and absent employees, it may be time to take a look at your company’s overall morale.

FREE RESOURCE: Stress Management in the Workplace 

Signs That Indicate Workplace Morale is Slipping

It’s important to remember that low workplace morale doesn't mean you have a toxic work environment.

Remember that COVID-19 pandemic no one saw coming? That massive change from in-house to remote work and frequent lockdowns was enough to make even the best companies experience a morale dip. Sometimes it can’t be foreseen; other times, it is quite obvious a problem is brewing.

Causes of dipped morale include:

  • Leadership problems
  • Lack of communication
  • Lack of clarity on job duties
  • Lack of growth opportunities
  • Major leadership changes

By understanding what causes low morale, it’s easier to spot issues  — present or future — that can negatively impact workflow and employees. Keep an eye out for the signs below that may indicate employees aren’t thriving as well as they could be in the workplace.

 Signs of poor morale include:

Sign #1: Lack of Collaboration

Are your employees constantly bickering and having issues delegating work tasks to meet project deadlines? Do they work against each other? A lack of collaboration can stem from trust issues, conflict of interest, and personality differences.

The fix? It may be time for restructuring or an evaluation of who is on your team.

Sign #2: Negative Attitudes

A poor attitude every once in a while isn’t a big concern. Everyone has a bad day now and then that may come off as a bad attitude. What is concerning is when a persistent negative attitude pops up in an employee who is generally more upbeat. A lack of stepping up for projects and new challenges from an otherwise productive employee may require closer evaluation of the workplace attitudes overall.

The fix? Talk to staff members one-on-one. Ask them how you can help with what’s weighing them down.

Sign #3: Poor Work Production 

Does your team seem to be missing more deadlines or making mistakes on a nearly daily basis? This can be a side effect of low morale as employees may not be feeling as passionate, motivated, and engaged in their duties.

The fix? Don’t let employees get bored; instead offer new challenges and ask them to consider ways to solve problems. Reward employees appropriately and offer bonuses, too, for hard work.

Sign #4: Frequently Missed Days 

Is it nice to be in your current work environment? Does it feel productive but also relaxed? Or is it more like a conveyor belt with your workers pushing out project after project without any reward or break? A worker may take more time off if they’re feeling overwhelmed at work. The stress can also lead to problematic health issues as well, which may also require time off work to recoup.

The fix? Offer mental health days off at least once a month. Take a look at frequently mentioned stressors and work to alleviate those in the workplace.

Strategies to Keep Morale Up

There is no one simple fix to keep employee morale up. It’s also not a one-time fix, either. Employee morale requires ongoing maintenance from leadership, especially managers. To keep your best and brightest employees, there must be a satisfactory work-life balance. There also needs to be a certain level of enjoyment at work.

Here are a few ideas to keep morale up: 

  • Communicate regularly - Keep lines of communication open. This is especially important for hybrid workplaces or fully remote teams. Use tools like Slack, Trello, and email to stay in touch. Don’t forget video meetings!
  • Breakaway for team-building - Team-building activities are not only fun but also rewarding. It allows workers to bond and discover how to better communicate, too. This also allows workers and managers to see one another in a new element that’s more playful and relatable.
  • Give kudos where it’s due - A thankful attitude toward employees can make all the difference. Do it on a regular basis in a meaningful way that provides a positive response. That may include a handwritten note, a day off, or a shout-out in an email to the CEO.
  • Get feedback from your team - Provide tools to your employees to offer feedback. Whether that’s a one-on-one meeting, a comment box, an anonymous survey, or another way. Letting their voices be heard can be empowering, especially if leadership introduces changes based on the feedback.
  • Offer managers training - Train managers how to deal with stressful work situations. In turn, this gives them tools to share with their team to make work a little less of a pressure cooker. By training them to become better coaches, they can put individuals in better positions to use their talents. Help them tap into what employees are best at doing.

Make the most of your time with your employees. When your company has employees who feel encouraged, engaged, and excited, it makes for a more enthralling work environment that’s lovely to be in daily. Offer support and cheer them on to keep the workplace mood elevated and morale high  — all year long.

How does your company improve workplace morale? Share your insights and suggestions below!

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Topics: Healthy Workplaces, Wellness at Work


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