Keeping employees happy, motivated, and productive can be challenging for any business, but is magnified during the Covid-19 pandemic.

From office politics to personal struggles, it’s easy for any employee to have trouble juggling a delicate work-life balance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced an entirely new layer of workplace stress. Not only must employees weigh difficult public health concerns, but they must also navigate the ever-changing circumstances surrounding child care, remote work, and the other uncertain aspects of the ongoing crisis.

Finding ways to boost employee morale during the pandemic can help reduce stress, avoid burnout, and add value to their careers during an incredibly challenging time. Considering that the crisis has been ongoing for nearly a full year, taking moments to connect with and support employees can go a long way towards supporting the long-term health of your company.

Here are five easy ways to boost employee morale during COVID-19:

Help employees stay connected with their peers

Whether it’s an office operating in a limited capacity or a fully remote workforce, COVID-19 has made the traditional water cooler chat impossible. Without the traditional opportunities to catch up and collaborate with colleagues, it’s easy for employees to feel a sense of isolation from behind a webcam.

Create opportunities for colleagues to connect in nontraditional environments, such as virtual happy hours or trivia contests. Although events like these may seem like a poor substitute for the real thing, allowing employees to stay connected — even at a distance — can help them continue to hold and strengthen relationships that will outlast the pandemic.

Share important company updates promptly

Reopening dates, health-check policies, and other crucial pieces of operational information are essential to your workforce. Even though situations may seemingly change day-by-day based on government policies, keeping employees abreast of all changes as quickly as possible can help ensure that they’re able to work without having to worry about additional uncertainties. Be sure to share new information surrounding your company as soon as it’s available to reduce stress, provide clarity, and avoid gossip.

Provide flexibility to employees

COVID-19 has thoroughly changed the face of the modern workforce. Companies that never dreamed of conducting business virtually have been forced to adapt to Zoom and Slack-only settings, trading meeting rooms for living rooms on an indefinite basis.

Policies surrounding work hours, vacation days, and other necessary accommodations should be granted as much flexibility as possible. Because changes to things like remote learning or mandatory self-quarantine orders can happen at any moment, employees need to know they’ll be able to deal with the pandemic’s ongoing difficulties without having to worry about added work stress.

Listen to and educate your staff on their specific concerns

Employees undoubtedly have lots of questions surrounding work policies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, when workplaces are ready to open, will they be compliant with social distancing, mask-wearing, and other public health necessities? And while remote work is ongoing, are there better tools available to could help teams collaborate and stay in communication?

Giving employees space to voice their concerns can help your company navigate the uncharted waters of the pandemic. Not only will your organization get a better understanding of what’s worrying your workers, but it can also make better preparations for returning to normal once COVID-19 ultimately subsides.

Educate staff members on benefits and resources

The very nature of the COVID-19 public health crisis means that people are dealing with serious threats to their physical and mental well-being. Whether it’s contracting the virus itself or dealing with burnout or depression, taking the best care of one’s self is crucial as the pandemic continues with no end in sight.

Be sure to keep employees fully informed about insurance policies, mental health benefits, and other useful resources that can help them navigate this challenging time. Rather than waiting for employees to approach you with questions concerning their well-being, proactively highlighting available benefits and resources can help your staff easily navigate problems or stress should any issues in their personal lives arise.