Regardless of where your team is operating, you need to be able to keep them motivated.
A widespread response to the current Covid-19 crisis has been to lift-and-shift the workforce into home office. In most cases, there has been little time for preparation and when teams, which are used to working in an office, suddenly start working remotely, adapting isn’t always easy.
To help combat the common problems, like demotivation, that may arise there are a couple helpful measures which you can consider.
What can cause remote workers to become demotivated?
Bear in mind, particularly in a time of crisis, workers might be confronted with all kinds of difficult challenges:
- Some of your workers may have difficulty balancing their work and private life
- Some depend on the social interactions of the office
- Others might feel insecure and be concerned about the duration of the situation
While these concerns are quite difficult for managers to solve entirely, there are steps that can be taken which can have a positive effect on these issues.
Collaborative cloud-based tools are the way to start
Effective communication and collaboration are essential factors to motivating workers who are distributed remotely.
Therefore, make sure that the tools you provide foster good communication and exchange of information.
Remote workers tend to benefit more from a wider selection of easily accessible, cloud-based collaboration tools than when in the office. A lot of communication will have to be done online, most via video calls or similar, so making good use of Microsoft Teams or Slack can really help establish functioning communication networks across large distances.
To help communication flow quicker, it’s important that supervisors and managers provide clarity early on by setting recommended practices. Schedule regular meetings with clear topics so everyone knows what to expect from this new method of communication.
Collaboration is also vital. When it comes down to quickly establishing a collaborative working environment, a free tool like Teamplace is great because it lets teams share and work on documents or videos with minimal hassle. Being able to easily comment directly on files and not worry about versioning chaos are essential for improving collaboration, which will help minimize the demotivating feeling of isolation some workers might experience.
Workers will need motivation directly from their bosses
Workers are likely to feel more motivated if they get the chance to chat about their concerns – just asking employees simple questions, like “How are you handling the new situation?” can help immeasurably. At times, managers will have to act out the role of a coach, calming fears and giving guidance.
You might face a lot of uncertainty too. Here it helps to identify where improvements can be made but also to remain firm and reemphasize goals when things are not as bad as they may seem to workers.
Once you get the feeling that a sense of stability and clarity has been given to the situation, team leaders can help by stepping in with team building exercises.
Example team building exercises for motivating remote workers
At 46 pages, Remote-How’s “Ultimate Guide to Remote Team Building Activities” is fairly long, but it has plenty of great examples of motivational exercises for your employees, even when they are working apart.
Here are some examples which we liked the most:
- Organize virtual lunches or virtual coffee breaks: not only does this help to bring about a degree of normality to the working day, this is a great way to keep colleagues in contact and morale high. Setting it up is relatively straightforward too, with the help of group video calls with Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
- Post group questions or create group activities to get people talking: This is another exercise that helps to protect the “community feeling” within the organization, which can help prevent remote workers from losing their motivation. It can be easily started by asking a simple question and setting up a free Teamplace where everyone can add their own answers and entries. For the ambitious amongst us, you could even randomly pair people together to get them talking about a random, non-work-related topic via video chat.
- Try closing large virtual meetings in a fun way: Plenty of companies have introduced a kind of symbolic signing-off gesture which can create a sense of bonding. It doesn’t matter if it’s something silly, like waving and wiggling your fingers before closing group video meeting once a month, as a bit of laughter is exactly what a lot of workers respond to best.
In a period of instability, like that caused by the outbreak of Covid-19, companies must show flexibility. It won’t always be easy, but if you pay attention to employee motivation and establish effective cloud-based collaboration, you and your workers will be better placed to manage the situation.