When Employee Morale is NOT a Thing

A friend of mine told me a story that I couldn’t even begin to relate to because I have the luxury of owning my own company. She said she got in trouble for getting up from her desk to communicate something to a business associate (because they have to stay seated and email instead). That goes against everything a human should be doing. Not communicating face to face with a co-worker (or any human?) as often as possible and staying seated all day long. Um, ewwww.

For one thing, it’s unhealthy to stay seated all day long. As a matter of fact, you should get up and stretch or move every hour. I’ve recently taken on some freelance work which means I have to leave my house, either drive to the big city, or get on a train, ride an hour, then sit for another 8, then ride back for another hour. While the work is super fun, and I’m super grateful, I’m constantly amazed by the will of people who do this everyday for years at jobs they do not like. (Again, I have the luxury of a flexible schedule where I can stay at home for work.)

But I digress.

When you “write someone up” because they got up from their desk, aren’t you starting to whittle away at your employees willingness to do a good job, their self-worth, their interest in possible advancement opportunities? When people have flexibility at work, get benefits beyond the standard (read: perks) and feel an openness to speak to their peers and ask for help or offer help, they are better employees (and if you give them time off to exercise and vote, even better).

How awful do you feel when you are “written up”? This is gleefully, something that has never happened to me, but this year I had to write someone up who worked for me. After 3 warnings, I indeed fired this person, they had been with me 3 years or more, and it sucked and it was hard. I am forever missing from their resume now, but that’s okay. There are so few things that would lead me or any decent manager to let someone go, and I think we can all agree on what those things are.

We should encourage our co-workers and employees to succeed. Then we succeed. We must stay open to their ideas (don’t steal said ideas obvi.); help when we are asked for help and give it ASAP without being reminded; listen to complaints while being pleasant about it and use it as a learning experience, and see what we can do to change whatever is making the employee feel the way they are; reward people for hard work, whether that’s just a pat on the back or a monetary reward, either is important; give bonuses that you can afford (I have had bosses who have given me a coffee card out of their own pocket, so appreciated and the bonuses I still remember!); and be pleasant and if you’re short, come back to them to explain why or apologize.

What are some of your morale boosters?