Time has taught us that our lives can change entirely in a matter of weeks, days, or even hours. The global pandemic has lasted for over a year now, and leaders of all organizations have gained new knowledge on employee productivity. Along with all the new experiences, employers have also recognized the reality of pandemic fatigue among their workforces. Companies can no longer be superficial about the well-being of their people, and the need to analyze and implement employee motivation theories has become more real than ever.  

The figures are alarming as 75 percent of employees in the United States have manifest signs of exhaustion. We face an acute mental and emotional global crisis affecting employee productivity. Although COVID-19 has driven technological innovations and new business models, the stress caused by this global crisis is leaving permanent changes and wounds that require urgent solutions. 

A better future for a troubled workforce 

Employee productivity has been affected by exceptional circumstances, putting leaders in a critical position. People must become the central focus of any company to guarantee success and resilience. Although there are many uncertainties as to what the future holds, one thing is for sure: organizations must become deeply human by nourishing empathy, creativity, and human connection while invigorating new leadership roles. 

Initially, Covid-19 pushed leaders to respond quickly to challenges every organization encountered. A feeling of collaboration helped many teams and executives get through the first obstacles. However, after working several months without a clear understanding of when this situation will end, employees have accumulated endless fatigue. Undoubtedly, this accumulated stress will put organizations at a critical level if not addressed promptly and accurately. 

Building a better future for a workforce living in a climate of fear due to Covid-19 could be challenging, but the rewards will be incredibly beneficial. As employers take steps to be more mindful of the current fragility of their workforce, employees’ productivity and the way professional relationships are managed will improve. 

pandemic fatigue in the USA - employees' productivity

Remotivating the entire organization 

The Covid-19 crisis took away our social structure and, in some cases, even our loved ones. Since everyone has lost something, we are all in a phase of grief. At the early stage of what can become an extended period of frustration, despair, and fatigue, managers need to act and lead with hope and inspiration. Below we explain some tactics that can help organizations emerge stronger as they focus on remotivating the workforce for the long run. 

1. Be ready to listen  

The best way to understand what someone is going through is by genuinely listening. In many organizations, leaders have practiced deep-listening skills and sensitivity to build confidence and let employees know that they are herd.  Approaches may vary, and in some cases, leaders take time to set up informal interactions while others take “listening virtual tours” to understand employee productivity as they work from home. However, it’s worth noting that listening is not a one-time practice. Tracking employees’ needs by continually learning about their difficulties will help companies step in faster. 

2. Be willing to adapt 

Embracing the changes caused by COVID-19 will help organizations move forward. Adaptability has become crucial in assisting companies to recover from any crisis. Moreover, most c-level executives see it as a primary skill among the workforce. Companies can create capability-building programs to develop adaptability and ensure that their employees have the necessary tools to face further disruptions. Surveys prove that organizations who invest in the well-being of their talent gain four times higher profits. 

3. Be an inspirational leader  

At this time, leaders can take the opportunity to develop a learning mindset as they focus on building resilience. When leaders inspire the workforce by strengthening resilience, they empower well-being which then turns into improved creativity, engagement, and performance. Doing so has proved to reach more than 20 percent gains in employee productivity and innovation. 

4. Be purpose driven 

When employees understand not only what the company does but why it does that, the meaning of daily activities gains value. Connecting your people to business goals will give them a clear vision to prioritize their tasks and align their efforts. 

5. Be a motivator of rest 

If you want to improve employee productivity, make sure your workforce is well-rested. Finding a balance between work and home life could be stressful and tiring. An excellent way to acknowledge this challenge is by measuring employees’ productivity on the outcome of their effort rather than the number of hours they’ve worked during the day. Allowing flexibility will help employees rest and reach objectives in a way that suits them better individually. 

6. Be prompt to recognize efforts 

Gratitude is vital to remotivate the workforce, especially working from home, since much might go unseen. Employee motivation theories agree that showing appreciation can bring enormous benefits. When companies value their employees’ productivity and efforts, a sense of renewed energy motivates them for their next task. Employee gifts during Covid-19 have been a source of comfort and recognition, increasing loyalty and engagement. 

Employee engagement during COVID: every crisis brings opportunities 

When we refer to employee engagement, it’s essential to understand that it is not an HR job but a business concern. It has nothing to do with salaries or recognition. It relates to the emotional connection and commitment developed to the organization.  

During COVID-19, many companies have taken an opportunity to improve the way employees can remain motivated and committed to the company for the years to come. Despite disturbances, this is the time for management to show empathy and demonstrate their interest in increasing employees’ engagement. Below we share some suggestions that can help: 

  • Value personal needs: Many non-work circumstances are currently affecting employees’ productivity. Managers must notice what affects people outside of work and address those issues. Showing genuine interest in their personal needs will strengthen emotional connection and loyalty. For example, at TEAM International allowing flexible working hours has increased commitment and enabled employees to balance work and individual needs. 
  • Encourage clear communication: Make sure to promote transparent conversations in which directors, managers, and employees understand the effect of COVID-19 on the organization and the strategic plans to overcome them. Regular team meetings focused on frequent and valuable feedback are helpful ways to improve engagement. 
  • Measure progress: Some of the methods include daily team sync-ups and 1:1 meetings to set small goals by keeping track of everyone’s progress. When leaders acknowledge their teams’ efforts to reach objectives, they gain purpose and commitment. 
how to improve employee productivity

Take time to rethink your work culture, analyze how committed senior managers are, and make the necessary adjustments to fulfill the listed suggestions. As you take advantage of the opportunities to emotionally connect with your people, you will experience positive changes within your organization. 


How is productivity affected when employees multitask?  

Multitasking has become a part of almost any job. However, when multitasking, productivity decreases since it’s impossible to focus on one task and operate at a high level. It’s essential to understand how the workforce performs when prioritizing and coordinating tasks. 

How to measure productivity of employees?  

As we’ve mentioned, clear and constant communication is vital to map progress. When objectives are understood, companies can utilize different measuring methods and focus on primary tasks to reach goals and succeed. 

How to increase employee productivity during the COVID-19 time? 

Create a solid virtual workplace base on many of the same elements as a physical one. Employ tools they need to communicate and make sure they know how to use them. Build a structure that gives a feeling of ordinariness to help employees remain accountable.