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How to motivate your teams while working remotely

While the current global situation has forced the hands of many when it comes to remote working there are some benefits that can help make the situation easier. Some of these include avoiding stressful commutes and the ability to accommodate other commitments and interests such as exercise or reading while still meaningfully contributing to the team, and the business.  

Despite the benefits, for many people, working remotely is an entirely new practice that will take some time to adjust to, especially when the boss and everyone else is now also working from home. 

Keeping teams motivated often presents challenges to businesses and, with so many uncertainties as a result of the global pandemic, there is an increased need to keep staff engaged in work, particularly for those that are new to the work-from-home model.  

So, how can businesses ensure that teams are motivated while working remotely indefinitely?  

Keep teams connected and engaged 

Communication is essential even in the best of times. It can also be a huge motivator for dispersed workforces. Staying in touch with your teams is critical to ensuring that they feel supported, especially in times of crisis. 

Connecting across a newly created remote workforce doesn’t need to be a difficult task. Some ways to facilitate this might include: 

1. Collaborative tools and technologies: programs and applications that let employees work together in real time It’s comforting for staff to know that, even though they can’t chat across the desk about projects, they can still instant message colleagues or work together in the same online environment. 

2. Management updates: scheduling more frequent catch-ups with individual employees and teams keeps everyone on the same path and working towards a common goal. It also lets team members know they are valued and supported as increased contact will quickly identify any challenges and provide an opportunity to find solutions. 

3. Face-to-face communication: using video calls more frequently creates a stronger team environment than when colleagues can’t see each other. Moving wider company updates to video calls also provides more social interaction for team members in isolation. 

It’s important to remember that not every company call needs to have a work focus. We’re in a new world and many of us are missing our regular social interactions, not only with our colleagues but with our wider network. Scheduling a social video call for staff on a Friday afternoon, for example, is another way to engage staff, especially when we can’t dedicate time to this in an external setting. 

We’re all in this together 

While working from home will be a new experience for many people, it won’t be alien to everyone. Now is the time to reach out to team members that have experience working remotely and ask them to share their tips for staying motivated. You can also encourage people to contact them directly if they need further advice and guidance.  

Consider compiling these tips into one document that team members can refer to, or even host them on a collaborative platform. That way, workers can gradually add to the list with their own tips and tricks to help their colleagues later down the track.  

As a starting point, teams may find the following tips helpful to start developing a new routine: 

  • stick to a regular workday morning routine 
  • dress appropriately for your workday  
  • take breaks as you would in the office for tea and coffee or lunch 
  • separate the office from home and finish your work on time where possible. 

Depending on your team structure, you might think about assigning small teams to a work-from-home buddy or mentor. This can facilitate more open discussions about challenges that people are facing and encourage regular communication about daily activities.  

It‘s reassuring to know that we’re all in the same boat when it comes to navigating the new working world that we’re in. Remember, nothing beats honest, regular communication while people settle into this brave new world.  

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