Working from home is nothing unusual nowadays. Particularly during the the current health crisis many companies have tehir teams working remotely, even if they have no experiences with it. Therefore managers may find it difficult to motivate their WFH teams.
We share some tips on how you can inspire and motivate your team, even if they work from home.
Actions speak louder than words
If you want your employees to get the job done, be a role model. Talk about your project tasks and what you have done to achieve your goals. Give your employees the feeling that you are sitting in the same boat.
Create a positive general atmosphere like “we can do this – even from home”. But don’t ignore problems or avoid speaking about it. Communicate openly and help your employees to find a solution. Keep a close contact to them and be mostly available. If you know you will be on a call for 1 hour, inform your employees in advance so they know why you are not there for their questions. That gives the feeling that you are still working together, even if you are physically separated.
Trust instead of control
Don’t micro-manage your team. Micro-management can minimize their motivation as they will think you don’t trust them. Appeal to the employee's sense of duty and responsibility. You can set up intermediate goals and deadlines to help them focus. Explore more about how to manage results and behaviour of your WFH team.
Communication and bond
Keep your employees up-to-date to increase engagement. Share updates and on-going information for project or strategic goals from the senior management to create a vision. Show the importance and the meaning of a task and highlight their individual role in the team. It’s like a gear wheel: It only works, if everyone contributes.
To help to keep an on-going communication culture, create groups in chat programmes like Skype for business or Microsoft Teams or use video conferences. It gives the feeling of staying connected, you can make jokes and it could help to solve a problem quicker, because you can address an inquiry directly to all team members without formulating an email. Some of those programmes also allow to share your screen, so you can show your task to find a quicker solution in the team.
Virtual coffee breaks via video chat can also help to increase the team spirit. Invite all team members to attend a virtual meeting and ask them to share success stories and celebrate together. If you normally work in the office with more departments, why not expand your virtual coffee meeting and invite also the other teams? This creates a familiar office feeling. Another possibility is to draw 2 people from different teams or offces and set up a time slot where they actively change market information and talk about private things to increase a positive team spirit.
Or maybe just turn on your Facetime/Whatsapp video chat, while working on your tasks. This can help to create the feeling to sit next to each other like in the office, but still working safely from home.
Not every employee is good in self-organisation. If you have such team members it is even more important to help them to organise themselves, if they work from home. Some of them work overtime or forget to take a break. This could result in burn-out. Other employees have problems to stay focused.
Structures will help to motivate, because you know what to do and don’t feel overwhelmed with all tasks and emotional circumstances. Set up daily catchups in the morning and in the afternoon. The morning meetings are to decide together, which tasks and goals your employee should prioritise. In the afternoon you can review together all achievements and success stories of the day. This way you generate a positive pressure, which motivates your employee to achieve his goals. Your team member will feel supported during his projects and it offers room for questions and to discuss uncertainties.
It also supports your conflict management, as you still have a closer connection to your employees although you are not in the same office.
Incentives and praise
Don’t forget to praise the success of your employees to keep them highly motivated. E.g. write an email once a week about all the great achievements to the management and stakeholders to highlight the success and hard work of the team member(s). This appreciation gives a good feeling and doesn’t cost much effort and informs senior management about the latest process.
Or just give your employee a half day off to show your appreciation. If you have a small budget to incentivise your employees you can send them an online voucher or invite a few top performers to a restaurant to expand their lunch break on a Friday after the coronacrisis. So they will have something they can look forward.
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