10+ Ways to Boost Employee Morale While Working From Home - woman using Nivati on laptop to boost morale for remote employees

10+ Ways to Boost Employee Morale While Working From Home

Amelia Wilcox
January 10, 2023
October 9, 2022

Remote work is here to stay. For many companies, there are no longer opportunities for water cooler talk, casual conversations over lunch, or coworkers visiting each other at their cubicles. Thus, maintaining employee and team morale while working from home can be a huge challenge.

The gist is this: employee morale can be improved by helping employees feel that they are seen, heard, cared for, and recognized. And, that they are contributing to the goals of the company.

Remote workers want to feel connected. The higher employee morale is, the more productive and happy employees are at work.  

Read on for how to boost morale for remote employees, and why you should be building team morale virtually.

Is Remote Work a Good Idea in the First Place?

At Nivati, we are huge believers in remote work. The flexibility of remote work has enabled most of our team to work and raise a family. For Nivati's entire existence, we've been a 100% remote team.

There are many benefits to remote work. Remote workers are about 35 to 40% more productive than those that work in an office. On top of that, the quality of remote work is better than that of office work. And remote workers have 41% lower absenteeism and are more likely to stay in their jobs.

With all these benefits come some downsides, such as struggles maintaining work-life balance, increased risk for isolation, and—you guessed it—employee morale.

Here is 10+ ways you can boost employee morale while working from home.

1. Have company-wide meetings

And don't just talk about business—truly get to know each other!

At Nivati, our team meets every Monday (across multiple time zones!). We kick the meeting off by having everyone answer a fun question.

Recently, some of our morale-boosting questions were...

  • What is your guilty pleasure?
  • What is your favorite TV show?
  • What was the best part of your weekend?

Try to remember people's answers, and bring it up in a conversation down the road! People love knowing that they've been heard.

We also have Culture Club meetings and occasional water cooler talk times, dedicated solely to getting to know each other and taking a little break from work.

2. Do group yoga or meditation sessions

woman following along to a virtual yoga session—yoga to boost employee morale while working from home

Being stressed and sedentary is hard on the body.

It can be difficult for employees to carve out time to take care of themselves. Show your employees you care about their wellbeing. Give them permission to take the time for self-care!

Your mental health or wellness program may lead this for you. You can also find a meditation or yoga video online to do together over Zoom.

3. Encourage employees to take a break

Taking breaks at work can help boost team morale while working from home, plus productivity. Encourage employees to take lunch completely off—and tell them to let the company know when they are taking a break. This could mean setting yourself as "away" on instant messengers or blocking break times off on your calendar.

Virtual coffee breaks are another great option for employees working from home. No business talk, just casual conversation with coworkers. This is great for relationship building and team building, helping to boost morale for remote employees.

You can also create a channel, room, or group chat on your instant messaging platform that is all about non-business chat. At Nivati, we call it the watercooler. It's a place where we talk about books we've read recently, our weekend adventures, and anything else that comes to mind. It's a great way to take a little moment away from work during the day.

Encourage employees to take vacations as well! Employees with unlimited vacation often take less time off than typical workers. Set the example and take at least a couple of weeks off every year.

You can also require employees to take time off. Some companies are even paying employees a small bonus for taking time off!

4. Talk about mental health

Employees that work from home are more vulnerable to isolation and work-life balance issues, potentially leading to mental health struggles.

Talking about mental health can help fight the mental health stigma.

You can start by talking about your own mental health with your employees and share what you do to take care of yourself.

Encourage your managers to meet with their direct reports and talk about mental health. Discuss ways you can cope with stress. Challenge employees to do a 5-minute meditation once per day or take a walk every morning before work.

This boosts team morale while working from home by helping employees build a larger support system, showing employees you care about their mental health, and helping employees reduce stress.

5. Give employee feedback (and ask for theirs!)

Employees want to know how they are being perceived. Feedback helps employees get, or stay on, the right track.

Tell your employees what they've done well and what they can do better. Don't be afraid to tell employees where they are falling short. It is so much better to be honest and upfront so employees have a chance to improve. Take it as a teaching opportunity.

This a simple practice to boost team morale while working from home is also great for culture building, retention, and even employee wellbeing.

6. Give your employees praise

Sending a message along the lines of "You're doing great, thanks for being here!" can make a huge difference in an employee's day, and their overall employee morale while working in their remote office.

Encourage all your employees to do the same. Employees need to hear that they are appreciated by their peers and their managers.

You can also use employee recognition software to make recognition even more fun and engaging!

7. Be transparent

Transparency builds trust. When employees know what is going on behind the scenes and how decisions are being made, they are more likely to trust company leaders and work to support those decisions.

You can take this a step further and encourage employees to engage in decision-making. This opens the lines of communication even more and gives employees the sense that they are even more valuable contributors to the company. Slack found that 80% of employees want to know more about how decisions are made in their company, and 87% want to be part of a company that is transparent.

8. Provide employees professional massages

While onsite massage isn't possible for most remote teams, you can still pay for employees to get a massage in the comfort of their home or in their hometown. Massage does wonders for mental and physical wellbeing (including healing carpal tunnel, a common issue for desk workers)—and is a great way to reduce stress and boost morale for remote employees.

9. Offer virtual learning activities

Gaining skills helps employees build confidence. Encouraging virtual learning helps employees recognize that you (the employer) value them and want them to grow.

Have employees do some LinkedIn Courses to learn a variety of skills. Challenge employees to take courses on the tools your company uses so they can use them to their full potential. Udemy also has tons of courses to choose from!

A recent trend is to dedicate one workday per year to virtual learning. You can even promote your Virtual Learning Day on social media and encourage employees to share the certifications they gained or the things they learned on LinkedIn.

10. Organize virtual team building activities

This is especially important for remote workers who feel disconnected from your organization. Virtual team building activities include virtual trivia, group cooking classes, group fitness classes, group online gaming sessions, and so much more!

Team building activities provide an opportunity to connect with coworkers that normally do not exist for remote teams.

Other Ways to Boost Employee Morale While Working from Home

Here are some more quick ways to boost team morale while working from home.

  • Provide employees 24/7 access to therapy through an mental health or wellness program
  • Provide company swag
  • Have lunch together over Zoom
  • Challenge each other to run a couple of times per week
  • Encourage employees to eat healthy foods

We hope these tips on how to boost team morale virtually resonate with your team!

If your company is in the office part of the time, check out our additional article on How to Boost Employee Morale and ideas to boost employee morale.

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Amelia Wilcox
Amelia Wilcox
Amelia Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Nivati, a leader in corporate massage and employee mental health support since 2010. Her high-growth B2B company provides employee stress management tools that arm businesses with actionable data and positive employee experiences to improve wellbeing, boost morale, and increase engagement. Amelia has exponentially grown her company from a solo living-room service business to an international technology brand.