5 Ways to Quickly Boost Workplace Morale During Tough Times Don't let difficult situations determine how your team will operate at the office.

By Nathan Resnick

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Low morale doesn't just harm an individual's well-being -- its negative effects can also carry over into the workplace. Low morale has been linked with a wide range of problems, including decreased productivity, absenteeism and more.

But, how can you boost morale and keep your employees happy during tough times? Use these tips to create a turnaround in your office.

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It can be easy to focus on your own troubles, but serving others is one of the best ways to relieve your stress and anxiety. Studies have consistently found that volunteering increases happiness, provides a sense of purpose and even helps you live longer. In reality, when you help others, you also help yourself.

Consider looking for service opportunities you can do as a department (or even as an entire company) so that everyone can get involved. Organizations such as JustServe make it easy to find opportunities near you.

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We often hear of people eating when they're upset, but the fact of the matter is that food is always a great way to improve mood -- and science continues to prove it. Certain fatty acids have actually been found to help reduce depression. Other foods trigger the release of dopamine, increasing pleasure and happiness. In other words, when you feed your employees, improved morale is sure to follow.

Of course, to really boost morale, you should do more than just order out from the closest fast food restaurant. Take D.C.-based, on-demand catering service HUNGRY, for example. HUNGRY connects businesses with local chefs, giving them access to authentic, high-quality (and healthy) dishes. Even if you only do a catered lunch once a week, satisfying your team's appetite with a fun dining experience is sure to brighten their office experience.

Related: 50 Rules for Being a Great Leader

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Do your employees feel like their contributions have been recognized and rewarded? If not, you'll have a hard time keeping morale up. Validation is even more important than you might think, especially in relation to employee turnover. In fact, a Deloitte study found that "organizations with recognition programs which are highly effective at enabling employee engagement had 31 percent lower voluntary turnover than organizations with ineffective recognition programs."

The more you can do to validate your employees, the better. Even simple things like a face-to-face "thank you" and public recognition for a job well done can significantly boost an employee's morale. Of course, external rewards can also improve job satisfaction and inspire increased productivity. Services such as YouEarnedIt let employees pick their rewards while making it easier for their bosses to track and validate top performers, creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.

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During stressful times, it can be easy for your employees to feel unfulfilled or dissatisfied with what they do. Consider implementing policies that allow your employees to pursue opportunities for personal growth. For example, you might provide funding for team members to participate in seminars or classes or allow them time during the week to work on pet projects or learn new skills. Quite often, these skill-building opportunities will pay greater dividends for your business in the future.

Interestingly, Google's famous 20 percent time policy, which has often been cited as the top example of letting employees pursue outside goals or pet projects, has been found to drastically boost morale even though the majority of employees don't use it. Ultimately, the idea that this time is available is what has been most effective at improving morale and productivity.

Related: 15 Ways to Lead With Effective Communication

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The daily grind of a 9-to-5 workplace can be a lot to handle, especially during tough times. So why not have a little fun in the office? Consider the sort of things your team enjoys and plan an activity that everyone will look forward to. Even something as simple as a trip to the movies (paid for by the company, of course) can relieve stress and create opportunities for employee bonding.

While you can't control what's happening in your employees' personal lives or change what's happening in the news, you can take steps to bring a little happiness into your team's day. As you strive to improve workplace morale, your office can become a supportive environment where employees feel validated and uplifted -- and as a result, they'll be happier and more productive than ever.

Wavy Line
Nathan Resnick

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CEO of Sourcify

Nathan Resnick is a serial entrepreneur who currently serves as CEO of Sourcify, a platform that makes manufacturing easy. He has also brought dozens of products to life over the course of his career.

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