How to deal with low morale at the workplace in 2023?

14 min read
Employee with low morale sitting in the workplace
How to deal with low morale at the workplace in 2023?

As we step into the evolving work landscape of 2023, addressing low morale has never been more pertinent. The dynamics of work have undergone a seismic shift, with remote and hybrid work models becoming the new norm. This transformation, while offering flexibility, has also brought unique challenges.

Employees are grappling with isolation, blurred work-life boundaries, and a sense of detachment from their organizations. In this context, the need to tackle low morale has taken center stage, as it directly impacts the well-being, performance, and sustainability of businesses in this rapidly changing environment.

Let's explore the signs, causes, and consequences of low morale, and most importantly, we'll provide actionable strategies for organizations to navigate this challenge and foster a more positive, engaged, and resilient workforce.

What is morale at work?

Employees with high morale celebrating in the workplace
What is morale at work?

Morale at work refers to the overall level of job satisfaction, employee happiness, and well-being that employees experience in their workplace. It encompasses their attitudes, emotions, and outlook toward their job, colleagues, and the organization as a whole.

High morale signifies a positive and engaged workforce, while low morale may indicate issues such as dissatisfaction, disengagement, or even burnout among employees. Conversely, low morale can lead to absenteeism, decreased productivity, and a negative impact on an organization's reputation.

To foster high morale, organizations should prioritize employee well-being, create a positive work environment, and ensure that employees feel appreciated and heard. It's an ongoing effort that requires continuous attention and improvement.

What is low vs. high morale?

Employees weighing thumbs up and thumbs down symbols
What is low vs. high morale?

Morale in the workplace can be categorized into two main states: low morale and high morale. These states represent the overall mood, attitude, and job satisfaction of employees in an organization. Here's a comparison of low versus high morale:

Low morale:

  1. Negative attitudes: Employees with low morale often exhibit negative attitudes towards their work, colleagues, and the organization as a whole. They may express cynicism, frustration, and a lack of enthusiasm.
  2. Decreased productivity: Low morale can lead to decreased productivity. Employees may lack motivation, resulting in lower work output and quality.
  3. High turnover: Organizations with low morale often experience higher employee turnover rates. Dissatisfied employees are more likely to leave in search of better opportunities.
  4. Conflict and tension: Low morale can lead to increased workplace conflicts and tension among team members. Communication breakdowns are common in such environments.
  5. Absenteeism: Employees with low morale are more likely to take sick days or time off for personal reasons. This can disrupt workflow and affect team dynamics.
  6. Resistance to change: Low morale can lead to resistance when organizational changes are introduced. Employees may be more resistant to adapting to new processes or technologies.

High Morale:

  1. Positive attitudes: High morale is characterized by positive attitudes and enthusiasm among employees. They are generally optimistic, motivated, and engaged in their work.
  2. Increased productivity: Employees with high morale tend to be more productive. They take pride in their work and are committed to achieving their goals.
  3. Low turnover: Organizations with high morale typically experience lower turnover rates. Satisfied employees are more likely to stay with the company.
  4. Healthy relationships: High morale fosters healthy relationships among colleagues. Employees collaborate effectively, communicate openly, and support each other.
  5. Attendance and punctuality: Employees with high morale are more likely to be punctual and have better attendance records, contributing to a more stable work environment.
  6. Adaptability: High-morale employees are often more adaptable to change. They embrace new ideas and technologies, making transitions smoother.

Morale in the workplace significantly influences employee behavior, team dynamics, and organizational success. Recognizing and addressing low morale is crucial for maintaining a positive and productive work environment while nurturing high morale can lead to enhanced employee satisfaction and overall business performance.

How does low morale affect the workplace?

Employee's is having head ache in the workplace
How does low morale affect the workplace?

Low morale in the workplace can have a profound and negative impact on both employees and the organization as a whole. Here are several ways in which low morale affects the workplace:

  1. High turnover: Organizations with persistently low morale often experience higher employee turnover rates. Dissatisfied employees are more likely to leave in search of better opportunities, leading to recruitment and training costs.
  2. Poor quality of work: When employees are demotivated and disengaged, the quality of their work can suffer. Mistakes and errors may become more common, potentially affecting customer satisfaction.
  3. Negative attitudes and behavior: Low morale can lead to negative attitudes and behaviors among employees. They may express cynicism, frustration, and resistance to change, which can create a toxic work environment.
  4. Conflict and tension: Workplace morale impacts relationships among colleagues. Low morale can result in increased conflicts, misunderstandings, and tension among team members.
  5. Resistance to change: Employees with low morale are often more resistant to organizational changes. They may be unwilling to adapt to new processes, technologies, or policies, making change management difficult.
  6. Lack of innovation: Low morale can stifle creativity and innovation. Employees may not feel encouraged to share new ideas or suggest improvements, hindering the organization's ability to innovate.
  7. Decreased customer satisfaction: In industries with direct customer interaction, low employee morale can lead to poor customer service. Unhappy employees are less likely to provide excellent service, which can impact customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  8. Impact on company culture: Low morale can erode the company culture, creating a negative atmosphere that affects both current employees and potential hires. A toxic culture can harm the organization's reputation.
  9. Loss of talent and skills: Highly skilled and motivated employees may seek better opportunities elsewhere, leading to a loss of valuable talent and expertise within the organization.
  10. Reduced employee engagement: Engaged employees are more committed to their work and the organization's mission. Low morale can result in decreased engagement, which can impact employee retention and job satisfaction.
  11. Financial consequences: The financial impact of low morale includes increased recruitment and training costs, lost productivity, and potential legal costs related to employee disputes or grievances.

Low morale is a significant concern for organizations as it affects productivity, turnover, quality of work, and overall workplace culture. Recognizing the signs of low morale and taking proactive steps to address it is essential for maintaining a positive and productive work environment.

How to deal with low morale employees?

Employee is having experience low energy in the workplace
How to deal with low morale employees?

Dealing with low-morale employees requires a thoughtful and proactive approach. Here are well-described points on how to address and uplift employees with low morale:

Open and empathetic communication:

  • Start by engaging in open and empathetic conversations with the affected employees. Listen actively to their concerns, frustrations, and grievances.
  • Ensure they feel heard and valued. Acknowledge their feelings and experiences, showing understanding and empathy.

Identify root causes:

  • Work together with the employees to identify the root causes of their low morale. Is it related to workload, management, colleagues, or personal issues?
  • Understanding the underlying issues is crucial for finding effective solutions.

Provide support and resources:

  • Offer appropriate support and resources to help employees overcome their challenges. This could include additional training, workload adjustments, or access to counseling services.
  • Make sure employees are aware of available resources and encourage them to utilize them.

Set realistic goals and expectations:

  • Review workloads and expectations to ensure they are realistic and manageable. Adjust goals or deadlines if necessary to reduce stress and pressure.
  • Collaborate with employees to set achievable objectives that align with their skills and capabilities.

Recognition and appreciation:

  • Recognize and appreciate employees' efforts and contributions regularly. Acknowledging their hard work and achievements can boost their morale.
  • Implement a system for acknowledging and rewarding outstanding performance.

Foster a positive work environment:

  • Create a positive work environment that promotes employee well-being and engagement. Encourage teamwork, open communication, and a healthy work-life balance.
  • Address any toxic behaviors or conflicts promptly to maintain a harmonious workplace.

Professional development opportunities:

Monitor progress and feedback:

  • Regularly check in with employees to monitor their progress and well-being. Provide constructive feedback on their performance and offer guidance for improvement.
  • Ensure that the solutions put in place are effective and make adjustments as needed.

Lead by example:

Seek professional help when necessary:

  • In some cases, low morale may be deeply rooted or related to personal issues. If needed, consider involving HR professionals or counselors to provide specialized assistance.

Remember that addressing low morale is an ongoing process, and it may take time to see improvements. By actively addressing concerns, providing support, and fostering a positive workplace culture, you can help boost employee morale and create a more productive and contented team.

What is an example of low morale?

Employee having a headache in the workplace due to some issues with the computer
What is an example of low morale?

Low morale in a workplace can manifest in various ways, often leading to a cascade of negative consequences. Let's delve into an illustrative scenario to understand this concept better:

Imagine a bustling office, but instead of the usual hum of productivity, there's an eerie silence. Employees slump at their desks, their faces painted with exhaustion and indifference. Meet Sarah, a once-vibrant team leader who now lacks her trademark enthusiasm. She's a perfect embodiment of low morale.

Sarah used to spark creativity and camaraderie among her team, but lately, she's withdrawn. She no longer organizes brainstorming sessions or team-building activities. Her emails are curt, and her interactions with colleagues are limited to necessary exchanges. Her diminished morale is palpable.

Furthermore, the office bulletin board, once adorned with accolades, now collects dust. Employees no longer submit their accomplishments or achievements. The absence of personal and professional pride is conspicuous, reflecting a collective morale plummet.

In this scenario, low morale has transformed an energetic, engaged workforce into a disengaged, dispirited one. It's a stark reminder that when enthusiasm wanes, it casts a shadow over the entire organization, stifling productivity, innovation, and employee satisfaction.

What are the signs of low morale?

Employee feeling confused in the workplace
What are the signs of low morale?

Low morale in a workplace often manifests through subtle and not-so-subtle signs, offering valuable insights into the overall health of an organization. Here are some noteworthy signs to look out for:

The "TGI-Monday" chorus

When your staff starts counting down to Fridays with a sigh of relief and dreads Mondays like the plague, it's a sign of low morale. Employees should look forward to work, not just to the weekends.

The desk safari

You notice an uptick in employees browsing job postings during office hours. The act of job hunting on company time signifies a lack of engagement and a desire for change.

The vanishing act

Suddenly, sick days become frequent, and employees seem to take an unusual number of personal days. When people want to escape the workplace, even temporarily, it's a clear sign of dissatisfaction.

The artistic expression

Employees who once adorned their workspaces with personal touches and photos now have stark, sterile cubicles. A decrease in personalization reflects a waning attachment to the job.

The case of the mismatched attire

Dress code violations become rampant. Employees who used to take pride in their appearance now disregard the dress policy, signaling a lack of investment in the workplace image.

The 'absentee' leaders

Managers who are usually visible and accessible suddenly become elusive. They avoid staff meetings, skip team gatherings, and are rarely seen on the floor, leaving employees feeling neglected and unsupported.

The gossip grapevine

A surge in office gossip, particularly about management and company decisions, is a telltale sign of discontent. Employees resort to chatter when they feel unheard and uninvolved.

The dwindling innovation pool

Employee suggestions for improvement or innovation dwindle. In a low morale environment, the creative well runs dry as employees become reluctant to invest extra effort.

Recognizing these signs of low morale is crucial for organizations to take proactive steps to boost employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity, ultimately creating a healthier and more vibrant workplace.

23 Team building activities to combat low morale at the workplace

Employees are having a good time together in the workplace
23 Team building activities to combat low morale at the workplace

Boosting morale within a team is essential for productivity and overall job satisfaction. Here are 23 team-building activities designed to elevate team spirits in the workplace:

  1. Office scavenger hunt: Create a list of clues or riddles that lead employees to different locations in the office. This fosters teamwork and encourages exploration.
  2. Themed dress-up days: Implement fun theme days like "Crazy Hat Day" or "Superhero Day" to add a dash of excitement to the workweek.
  3. Lunchtime potluck: Organize a potluck lunch where each team member brings a dish to share. It promotes camaraderie and allows colleagues to bond over food.
  4. Desk decorating contest: Encourage employees to decorate their workstations creatively, aligning with a particular theme or holiday.
  5. Charity challenge: Engage in a charitable project as a team, such as volunteering at a local shelter or organizing a charity run.
  6. Escape room adventure: Take the team to an escape room where they must solve puzzles and riddles to "escape." It enhances problem-solving and teamwork skills.
  7. Board Game day: Dedicate a day to board games or card games in the breakroom. It's a fun way to unwind and build connections.
  8. Storytelling circle: Gather in a circle and have each team member share an interesting or humorous work-related story. It encourages open communication and laughter.
  9. Office olympics: Set up mini-games like paper airplane contests, chair races, or desk ping pong tournaments to infuse some friendly competition.
  10. Team lunch outing: Arrange a team lunch at a local restaurant to encourage informal interactions outside the office.
  11. Mentorship program: Pair experienced employees with newer team members for mentorship and skill development.
  12. Skillshare sessions: Let employees teach their colleagues something unique, whether it's a hobby, a language, or a professional skill.
  13. Fitness challenge: Start a fitness challenge where teams compete to reach a certain number of steps or fitness goals each week.
  14. Book club: Launch a workplace book club where employees can discuss a chosen book during lunch breaks.
  15. Creative workshop: Host a creative workshop like painting, pottery, or cooking to stimulate creativity and team bonding.
  16. Team trivia: Organize trivia nights or quizzes related to the company's industry or history.
  17. Role reversal day: Allow team members to switch roles or departments for a day to gain a better understanding of each other's work.
  18. TED talk discussions: Watch and discuss TED Talks on topics  and improve task relevant maturity for the team's goals and aspirations.
  19. Photo challenge: Give each team member a disposable camera or smartphone challenge to capture interesting or amusing workplace moments.
  20. Story swap: Share personal success stories of overcoming challenges in a team meeting to inspire and motivate others.
  21. Innovation day: Set aside a day for brainstorming and idea generation, focusing on improving processes or developing new products or services.
  22. Field trip: Plan a visit to a local museum, historical site, or industry-related event to foster a sense of shared experience.
  23. Gratitude circle: Start or end team meetings by expressing gratitude or compliments for colleagues, creating a positive atmosphere.

These activities can inject new energy into the workplace, strengthen team bonds, and ultimately contribute to higher morale and job satisfaction. Remember to tailor them to your team's preferences and needs for the best results.

Role of employee engagement surveys in monitoring employee morale in the workplace

Employer reviewing the recent employee engagement surveys
Role of employee engagement surveys in monitoring employee morale in the workplace

Employee engagement surveys play a crucial role in monitoring employee morale in the workplace. Here's an in-depth look at their significance:

  1. Measuring morale: Employee engagement surveys are designed to gauge how connected, motivated, and satisfied employees are with their jobs and the overall work environment. By assessing factors like job satisfaction, enthusiasm, and commitment, these surveys indirectly measure morale levels.
  2. Quantitative data: Surveys provide quantifiable data, offering a clear and structured understanding of employee sentiments. This data can be analyzed statistically, allowing organizations to identify trends, patterns, and areas where morale might be low.
  3. Anonymity and honesty: Employees can respond to surveys anonymously, which encourages them to be candid about their feelings and concerns. This anonymity promotes honest feedback, allowing organizations to pinpoint morale issues that other employees might otherwise hesitate to raise.
  4. Identifying problem areas: Engagement surveys often include questions about specific aspects of work, such as leadership, communication, recognition, and work-life balance. Low scores in these areas can signal morale problems and guide targeted improvements.
  5. Benchmarking: Companies can compare their survey results to industry benchmarks or their historical data. This helps in understanding whether morale is improving or deteriorating over time, providing valuable insights for corrective actions.
  6. Tailored interventions: Armed with survey data, organizations can develop targeted interventions to address specific morale issues. For example, if the survey indicates low scores for manager-employee communication, training programs can be implemented to improve these skills.
  7. Preventing turnover: Low morale often precedes higher turnover rates. Engagement surveys can act as early warning systems, enabling organizations to take proactive measures to retain valuable talent.
  8. Boosting employee involvement: The mere act of conducting surveys can boost morale by demonstrating that the company values employee input. When employees see that their opinions are being considered, it can positively affect their engagement and morale.
  9. Enhancing transparency: Sharing survey results and action plans with employees fosters transparency and trust. It assures employees that their concerns are taken seriously and that the organization is committed to improvement.
  10. Continuous improvement: Engagement surveys are not one-time exercises. They should be conducted regularly to track changes in morale and assess the effectiveness of implemented interventions. This commitment to continuous improvement can create a more positive workplace culture.

Employee engagement surveys are powerful tools for monitoring and improving employee morale in the workplace. They provide a structured and data-driven approach to understanding employee sentiments, identifying problem areas, and implementing targeted strategies to enhance morale, ultimately leading to a more engaged and satisfied workforce.


In 2023, addressing low morale in the workplace requires a proactive and holistic approach. By fostering open communication, promoting employee well-being, and leveraging technology for remote and hybrid workforces, organizations can not only identify the root causes of low morale but also implement effective solutions to reinvigorate the workforce and create a positive, motivated, and resilient workplace culture.

But here's the game-changer you've been waiting for: CultureMonkey's employee engagement survey tool.

As we strive to elevate workplace morale, understanding the pulse of your team is paramount, and CultureMonkey delivers just that. With their intuitive platform, you can collect valuable insights directly from your team members, pinpointing the areas that need improvement.


1. What are the common signs of low morale in the workplace in 2023, and how can they be recognized?

Low morale in the workplace can manifest in various ways in 2023, including decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, lack of enthusiasm, and disengagement. Employees may appear less motivated and show signs of frustration or disinterest. Recognizing these signs involves attentive observation, conducting employee surveys, and encouraging open communication.

2. What are the unique challenges in addressing low morale in a remote or hybrid work setting in 2023?

The evolving work landscape in 2023 presents distinct challenges in tackling low morale, especially in remote or hybrid work environments. Employees may experience feelings of isolation, difficulty in maintaining work-life boundaries, and a sense of disconnection from their colleagues and the organization.

3. How can leaders and managers play a role in boosting morale at the workplace in 2023?

Leaders and managers play a pivotal role in addressing low morale. They should lead by example, foster transparent communication, and actively engage with their teams. In 2023, leaders need to adapt to remote or hybrid work dynamics by maintaining regular check-ins, offering support, and recognizing and rewarding employees' efforts.

4. What are some innovative strategies to combat low morale at the workplace in 2023?

Innovative strategies to combat low morale in 2023 include leveraging technology for virtual team-building activities, introducing flexible work arrangements, implementing AI-powered tools for monitoring employee sentiment, and offering personalized well-being programs.

5. How can organizations measure the effectiveness of their efforts to address low morale in 2023?

Measuring the effectiveness of morale-boosting efforts in 2023 involves tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as employee satisfaction scores, retention rates, productivity levels, and absenteeism rates. Conducting regular employee engagement surveys and collecting feedback from employees are essential.



Santhosh is a Jr. Product Marketer with 2+ years of experience. He loves to travel solo (though he doesn’t label them as vacations, they are) to explore, meet people, and learn new stories.