Key steps to perk up employees and maintain productivity


When a business begins the year in recovery mode – having been challenged financially or in other ways – there may be a drop in employee morale and motivation. The need to perk up employees and maintain productivity becomes a priority. As PAs and managers with experience of crisis management, risk assessment or dousing flames in uncertain times, when it’s happening in your company it can be a different story.

Whether it’s the higher cost-of-living, fearing implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) or facing off fierce competition in your sector, there are pressures remaining in view for 2024. Dakota Murphey, a writer on workplace culture, explores how to help manage setbacks before they impact employees’ wellbeing or motivation and ways to maintain productivity for a positive year ahead.

Regroup with regrowth plans that perk up employees and maintain productivity

It has been a turbulent few years for UK businesses thanks in part to the political and economical climate at home and overseas, but there’s no doubt that businesses have weathered downturns in the past and can step up to the challenge again. As we move into a new year, there will continue to be hurdles but by collaborating and communicating, it’s time to define business development and growth strategies for 2024, such as: 

  • navigate a challenging financial environment
  • being agile to implement and adopt emerging technologies
  • focusing on the positives and celebrating successes
  • evaluating existing assets
  • prioritising employee wellbeing
  • reshaping your business in a realistic and carefully considered way.

Rethink strategies with open lines of communication

With determination and open communication, companies can bounce back from low points. If you can, rally your colleagues to come out stronger by brainstorming for new ideas and strategies that make up for lost business. Put together a proactive drive to pursue prospective clients, explore additional revenue streams, or develop more profitable events or product launches. 

You can continue to seek innovative solutions to save on costs and as a PA or manager, do so by framing this as a fresh start to rebuild with a smart set of moves. Within your team meetings, invite and engage employees to be more creative and propose ideas. In order to be productive and motivate people, they need to feel as if they can be a key part of any solution. It will come as no surprise to learn that active listening is crucial, and reportedly the main strategy to make employees feel valued, respected and engaged. With insight and action from managers and business leaders, steer your company and its employees to thrive professionally; sign up for personal development courses to keep productivity and morale high. 

Analyse cash flow and take stock of funds 

Managing cash flow is important for businesses of every size, so the pinch might continue to sting for a while yet. It is important to analyse cash flow, which might not be something that you have ever had to worry about before, but when navigating your way out of a downward turn it is essential. Your business will need to have funds available for salaries, bills and invoices to pay in the long term. Having a deeper understanding of cash flow will help to literally fuel any regrowth. 

With this in mind, if you have new clients in the pipeline or have lost deals, evaluate accounting procedures and consider realistic projections for the year ahead. If you can and it will work for your business, be bold about adopting alternative payment methods that might support your company going forward. 

Recognise any stressful challenges

At the start of the year, it’s important to recognise when your business is facing a crisis even if it’s a mini or short-term one. As PAs or managers, you should not hesitate from holding honest conversations with anyone senior in an organisation, external clients and all your colleagues. If the road ahead looks a little rocky, it’s far better to face the challenges and address them with a positive mind-set, to help overcome any temporary hurdles.

In a recent report, a staggering 875,000 UK workers suffered from work-related stress, so as you look forward, prioritise the wellbeing and mental health of all your employees. As you are well-equipped with the skills and knowledge of identifying obstacles, look for signs of stress and offer support to Employee Assistant Programmes (personally and professionally) by signposting them to helpful organisations and flagging up opportunities that will support them within your company. 

Celebrate to raise morale and boost productivity

It is always beneficial to celebrate small (and bigger!) wins within a company and arguably even more vital if a company is building itself up again. Celebrating any successes internally or with external clients will help to keep morale up for an individual, department and as an entire company.

Look for dates in the calendar to celebrate milestones, mark progress and celebrate your employees with possibly your first corporate party. By praising an employee’s contribution you reinforce the value you have in their role plus the contribution they make to the entire business. A positive, empathetic culture enables teams to perform at their best even in challenging times. An open-door policy for discussing concerns, employee recognition programmes, wellness initiatives, social events and management training all demonstrate investment in employees’ well-being to boost productivity.

Mitigate concerns for a healthy company culture

The rapid introduction of AI and machine learning technologies did shake up the administration and communication areas of many PA’s and manager’s roles. In a positive way, it is important for businesses to adopt new technologies if they are going to benefit business, save time, cut costs, streamline operations and make people more productive. Understandably, the augmentation of human roles with AI capabilities across every industry has, and will continue to, cause some uncertainty. In order to mitigate these fears, recognise them and reassure teams by being transparent about how AI will realistically be implemented to avoid misinformation. 

In addition, with employees and business leaders keen to adopt the emerging tech, opening up extra avenues to upskill employees will help to combat feelings of loss, low morale or lower levels of enthusiasm. For businesses and employees, it’s a great year to embrace the brilliance of AI while highlighting the unique skills and strengths your employees have that AI lacks. In addition, continue to provide opportunities and learning pathways to encourage the uptake of AI. Your employees can acquire expertise to make the best use of technologies as and when they evolve.

Many companies are calling for their employees to return to the workplace and office. Companies are giving staff more perks and attractive gestures to encourage employees back. Although hybrid and remote working arrangements are welcome across a range of sectors and firms, managers need to lead with trust while maintaining productivity. As mentioned earlier, it is a priority to check in on your employee’s wellbeing and focus on all the steps mentioned to stay on top of your company’s road to recovery by maintaining employee’s wellbeing and motivation within a healthy company culture.

With some care and forethought, employees can feel truly supported through the unique challenges that  2024 may bring. By reinforcing workplace flexibility and addressing any concerns head on, companies can thrive. Ultimately, when employees feel seen, valued and are equipped to handle challenging times, businesses can then focus on driving forward in the best and most positive direction.