How to Boost Morale in Childcare Staff During Covid-19

The current pandemic has been the cause of much distress in not just personal lives but the professional field as well. Working sectors like childcare staff have been actively participating to support the educational needs and welfare of children and families, all against the backdrop of an uncertain economy, unsettling social issues, and anxiety.

While most organizations keep crisis plans in motion, many are still ill-equipped to handle the severe impact of the coronavirus on working individuals. Hence, workplace morale is being negatively disrupted due to social changes brought by the virus. This calls for a need for departments to address the deprivation of social bonds and cohesiveness required for positive team building.

Why Positive Workplace Morale is Important

Employee or staff morale is what describes the outlook, attitude, confidence, and satisfaction they feel at work. As such, employee morale tends to be much higher when staff remains positive towards the working environment and can meet important vocational and career needs.

Like motivation, you cannot magically summon positive morale. But as an employer, you can contribute to an environment that caters to a friendly and positive outlook for working staff. Consequently, you become a powerful contributor as to whether an employee's morale tilts towards positive or negative.

Here are 5 Tips to Boost Staff Morale

Take a look at these 5 steps to lift staff morale through this period of distress and ensure staff members with the best possible comfort.

1. Take the Front and Lead

Right now, as we manage through this period of uncertainty and worry, what employees need is sincere direction and communication.

As staff often looks up to their leaders for support and guidance, especially in times of emotional distress, leaders have to stay calm, listen, and offer unbiased support.

You have to keep in mind that the inclusivity of each staff is quite crucial in maintaining a positive work dynamic. Keep them engaged and don't hesitate on taking control and over-communicating. Rather keep such measures at bay as people need information and reassurance at times like this.

Employers must keep the staff informed and updated on current work situations and actively initiate discussions. In times of crisis, rumors and gossips can be common. To prevent the spread of false information, companies should share information using credible sources like WHO and CDC.

2. Stay Calm and Keep Communication Open

Keeping up with regular, and consistent communication is essential as it will keep each member informed of strategies and practices needed to support and stabilize the childcare center during this uneventful time. This will help rekindle trust and reduce uncertainty.

Frequent team meet-ups should also be welcomed. These don't have to be long meetings but they can run for about 15-30 minutes and can be centered towards themes that promote mental wellness and positivity among members.

During the meeting, it's important for each voice to be heard, respected, and valued while opening up about the different challenges faced. Start by exploring team-led solutions like:

• Mental health support programs
• Promotion of Healthy work/life balance
• Streamlining of processes
• Additional training

Leaders and staff members should check up on each other regularly on how they’re feeling and coping with the current pandemic-led working situation. Each staff should be cheered to ask for assistance and solution when required.

3. Be Flexible and Empathetic

Employers should be understanding and flexible towards the needs of workers as one tries to navigate and juggle between the unexpected changes currently present in their lives. The last thing a staff would need is rigid working hours that prevent them from attending the needs of their own family, so cut them some slack.

An employee care report made by Limeade found:

• 1 in 3 employees resigned from their job due to lack of care from the employer's end
• 25% resigned due to mistreatment from company leaders
• 1 in 5 resigned as their employer did not support their overall well-being

Although it’s not possible to make a working environment entirely flexible, the workplace needs to facilitate loosening restrictions regarding certain policies. Employees must trust stuff members when they report experiencing symptoms and figure a way around it. Remember, morale, productivity, and engagement decreases when workers resent employers for not caring.

4. Mitigate Risk and Start Educating

Recently, the CEO of Kissflow, Suresh Sambandam decided to bring forward a doctor from a reputed hospital. Through this interaction, employees were provided with facts and information regarding COVID-19 by the doctor. This greatly benefited the employers in differentiating the truth from myths.  

Sambandam recalled it as an uplifting interaction that helped remove misconceptions placed around the virus. Employees were now less paranoid and better equipped for dealing with the pandemic.

While it's impossible to fully eliminate the fears of each staff given the rise of the virus, it can be mitigated. This can be acknowledged by adding more disinfectants, hand sanitizers, wipes, reducing penalties against sick call-offs, providing face masks, maintaining proper distancing,  and hosting awareness sessions to reduce anxiety and educate.

5. Maintain Engagement and Get Creative

Even pre-COVID, the world was changing enough and now it has taken a full swing, so, be sure staff members are aware of your support. This will include personal as well as career goals as one may not always plan on sticking with childcare. Help them feel motivated by providing meaningful tasks and rewards.

Acknowledge their efforts and allow them to learn and experience growth. Dealing with children is no easy task, hence, a creative and warm environment won't hurt. Many staff are unhappy due to repetitive and dull work routines, so create new programs and have some fun.

Don't know where to begin? Ask the staff members! As workers, they will want to feel valued while providing the best possible care. If given the right opportunity, they can contribute much to further increase engagement around the workplace.

Final Thoughts

As we collectively deal and cope with the uncertainty, social changes, and isolation, courtesy of the pandemic, it's extremely important to keep staff morale high. Creating a workplace that values openness, safety, and kindness will ensure a positive workplace and improve staff retention in the long run.

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

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