For many businesses, working from home has become the new norm and for the foreseeable future, it looks like it’s here to stay. Businesses across every industry have been forced to adapt in order to survive and continue operating. For both employees and business owners, the concept of working from home is perhaps completely new and presents many different challenges; technology barriers, space to work without distraction, communication within teams and productivity, just to name a few.
Now that the honeymoon period of working from home is well and truly over, a new challenge presents itself for businesses – sustained motivation. In this article, we share some tips and advice on how you can improve employees’ motivation whilst working from home.
Regular 1 to 1 personal development meetings
Not to be confused with annual or quarterly performance reviews, personal development meetings should be held informally, regularly and be an open form of communication with your employees. For small teams, you would conduct these yourself. For businesses with more than 5 staff, consider breaking up the meetings with senior staff conducting these for their subordinates. Personal development meetings should be no longer than 15 minutes and are best held weekly or fortnightly.
The purpose of these informal meetings is for employees to voice any difficulties they have had during the week, discuss ideas, set goals and be heard. You may wish to discuss the progress of the business that week, any challenges and how their involvement has affected the bigger picture. Often these conversations in a normal work environment may be made casually in passing and by re-introducing an open channel of regular communication with your staff, it will help them feel more involved.
Goals help to provide a sense of accomplishment – if you have a talented team, it’s easy for them to become complacent and bored. Setting realistic, attainable goals each week will help to maintain focus – you do not need to think of these goals yourself, ask each employee what they want to achieve for the upcoming week. Next week when an employee reaches their goal, make a conscious effort to praise. If they’ve not managed to achieve a goal, discuss the reasons for missing it and what can be done to achieve a better result in the future.
Off-topic and ‘wake up’ meetings
Part of what helps to build an office culture and positive working environment are the relationships which employees build outside of the confines of a work project. Working and living in the same four walls can make even the most creative of jobs monotonous and boring. Consider introducing morning and afternoon video chat meetings, during the times which employees would be making a tea or coffee and encourage your team to discuss anything of interest which doesn’t involve work. This may seem very simple, but it will help employees to work better as a team. Whilst zoom is great, consider looking at Microsoft Teams which is part of Office 365. There’s even an ‘auditorium’ feature which can improve engagement and is more lighthearted.
Trust your team
If you’re not used to managing a team remotely, it’s very easy to fall into a micro-management mindset. Trust your employees – at some point in the past, you’ve established the requirements of the role, outlined expectations and now is the opportunity to trust your team to follow through. As a leader, your role is to provide the support and guidance your team needs to work to the best of their ability.
Managing a remote team and keeping them motivated requires all of the same skills as traditionally you’d require in a physical environment. The key difference is the pivotal change in communication on both a professional and personal level. Use these tips to refine how your team communicates and introduce clear methods of regular communication throughout the team to manage employee motivation and performance levels.