Before being furloughed as the coronavirus crisis began, Leading Results’ Jane Hemus writes about the difficulties in keeping a team motivated with many of them working from home and uncertainty dominating the economy.
The definition of motivation hasn’t changed but how we go about generating and maintaining it, certainly has over the past few months as the coronavirus outbreak has spread.
Interestingly, a study carried out in 2019 showed the top challenges with working from home were having the ability to switch off, loneliness and communication. However, I suspect distractions at home to be much higher should they run this again in the near future!
So here are some tips to help keep motivation high in our teams:
Ineffective communication is one of the main reasons employees get frustrated with their work, even more so when working from home.
Choosing the right method should be high on your list of priorities as, according to research, 93% of communication is non-verbal.
Encourage your team to ask if something isn’t clear or ask them in a way to encourage their questions, for example, ‘What questions do you have?’ instead of ‘Do you have any questions?’
The risk of conflict is greater when communication isn’t clear so having the whole team focused on how they send messages and emails will be crucial for all.
Having the right tools
Frustration can be heightened when we don’t have the correct tools or access to do our job.
This may take a little longer to get in place considering the speed of the decisions the country had to make to work from home but, with time we can get there.
Please be mindful that some may have the access but not the confidence or knowledge to use them, they could feel incompetent having to ask and, in turn, this could lead to de-motivation.
Set clear goals and expectations
Do this together with your manager. You will need to understand each other’s personal circumstances and set goals accordingly.
When someone else chooses to work may be different to you, this doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Decide what the key goals are that you would like to achieve on a weekly basis and be clear when setting the expectation around this both to yourself and your team.
Communicate with each other that you are here to support should any unexpected obstacles arise, remember this is new territory for all of us and will take some getting used to.
Be clear on why you are asking others to do something, what you need them to do and how you will both know if it has been completed.
Water cooler moments
Your teams chance to laugh, cry, share moments with each other as a form of release and recharge could be significantly more difficult now – but it’s not impossible.
Create a platform for all of you to have these moments through various channels. Call it something like ‘Water Cooler Moments’ or why not, each week, ask each member of the team to select a topic that’s close to them to talk to the rest of the team about.
It will allow you to have quality time together but learn something about each other at the same time. You can’t give motivation to people unless you understand them.
Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to keep your team motivated.
Notice when they have done a great job, after all we want to encourage everyone to continue doing this exceptional work… and then communicate.
Be specific when you use positive reinforcement, saying: ‘You have done a great job’ isn’t enough! It will make them feel good for a short period but they are left feeling unsure as to ‘what part’ was great.
For example: “The level of contact you have kept with our team so far has been fantastic. We are particularly enjoying the interactive video calls to share best practice. It’s motivating and a nice platform to air our concerns”.
This ensures they are motivated to continue this great work and may spark further ways to help the team in this area.
We don’t currently have a choice to work remotely – but we do have a choice how we motivate each other.