With the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic still unknown, it is hard to work out how long we will be working from home/working on different schedules for before things return to normal. Due to this, it’s important for you and your team to embrace ‘the new norm’ of the working world, so that you continue to produce excellent work whilst looking after your mental wellbeing.

From speaking to our own employees, it is clear that one thing that people tend to struggle with when working from home is finding motivation to work in a new way - not surprising given the immense change that has happened over the last few months. Whilst some people will be pleased to be able to set up their home office, and will see their productivity increase, for some of us, finding the motivation to complete good quality work from the comfort of our homes may be more difficult. Besides, with the TV remote next to you and your bed in the next room, it’s easy to see how people can get distracted easily…

With this in mind, we have put together some quick and easy tips to help you motivate your team whilst working from home.

How to motivate a remote team.

  1. Set a schedule
  2. Share good news
  3. Create a chat group for the team
  4. Check in with each individual team member
  5. Plan activities

Set a schedule.

Whilst no one is expecting every employee to start at 9am on the dot each day, it is important to set some kind of schedule for your team to retain a sense of normality and keep everyone on track. 

It can help to schedule in reoccurring meetings for the same time each week, for example morning kick offs or afternoon wrap ups. That way, employees can set a rhythm of homeworking for themselves, and set a schedule between work and home time, just as they would have done in the workplace. It can also help employees to switch off at the end of the day, and if they are isolating alone, it gives them a chance to catch up with people ‘face to face’.

Make sure any schedule you create is reasonable for the coming weeks so that employees can cope with the level of work they are doing. You can use online project management tools such as trello or Google keep for scheduling - everyone in the team can add on their to do list, so they can prioritise and keep sight of the wider team’s work. You can also encourage them to add into their to do lists things like going for a walk and taking a lunch break etc, to promote maintaining work-life balance.

If you can, offer flexible working hours to members of the team who may be juggling other priorities whilst working remotely - such as homeschooling children, or shopping for neighbours or vulnerable family members. A small thing like this can go a long way to help.

Share good news.

We’ve all been in the position where we have got ourselves bogged down in the news headlines. This negative mindset is not going to motivate anyone to do their best work, so where you can, spread positivity and good news amongst your team.

This can be work related or non-work related. For example, if an employee has done an excellent job on a task, shout about it. This will give them an extra boost of motivation and can really brighten their day. There is also a lot of uplifting content online and on social media at the moment - whether it is a funny video, news article, or meme, share a link with your team to make them smile.

Create a chat for the team.

Now more than ever, it is key to have open lines of communication at all times. When working from home, it’s easy for us to feel isolated, alone, and distant from our team members. Not only can this make for a very uninspiring work environment, but it can also affect mental well being considerably.

Keeping the conversation going is key for combating this. In addition to scheduling regular video calls, create an instant messenger chat (on WhatsApp, Google Hangouts or equivalent) and make an effort to lead by example and post messages on it. This way, the team will feel more in touch with each other, and with you as a manager.

Check in with each individual team member.

In addition to focusing on your team’s overall dynamics, it’s important to speak to each person individually to check in. Even though someone may take the lead in cracking a joke on a video call, they may actually be struggling with the situation and need some support and guidance.

Make the time every couple of weeks to call each of your team for a quick chat. Ideally, keep work related conversation to the minimum - ask them how they are, what they have been doing in their free time, and ask them if they need any support. Knowing that a manager is supporting them can give that little extra boost they might need.

Plan activities.

In most organisations, spending time together as a team in a non-work environment is common - whether this is after work drinks, festive parties, CPD training, or a conversation over lunch. This shouldn’t stop when working from home. 

Organise group calls to have a virtual ‘cheers’ at the end of the week together. Or, share online fitness classes, podcasts, music playlists or online courses that you could do as a group. Some organisations are even offering virtual museum tours and train rides - why not take a Friday afternoon off to visit a famous museum virtually together?! 

Encouraging ‘normal’ activities where possible can really help to boost morale, help your team work well, and also support you to keep sane and work as well as you can during these uncertain times.

If you would like any more advice on motivating your team, retaining your workforce or attracting new talent, please contact us.