With government guidelines in place to work from home, here’s a timely guide about how to keep team motivation and morale up when working remotely
Working from home. Me and my laptop. Emails flooding in and the day stretching ahead. Notifications pinging everywhere. In light of the current outbreak of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, here is a timely look at how to keep team motivation and morale up when working remotely.
We are living in a new reality. In this unique time, working from home may be new to a lot of people. There are key things to bear in mind. Flexibility and communication are paramount to support people working from home for the first time.
People may now be working from home with family members doing the same, taking care of children or even trying to teach them, too. Even the seasoned remote workers amongst us might benefit from a refresher. Spending a lot of consecutive days, weeks and more at home requires breaking up work into smaller manageable chunks and reviewing how we do things.
As you take your organisation to the cloud, flexibility is advised. Have a look at your team’s processes and pick out the essential tasks and explore if they can be done remotely. Provide some wiggle room for issues or errors as things change. Processes can be switched up and changed to suit your team as they find their pace in working remotely. As working from home looks different for everyone, supporting staff is paramount. Remote workers are advised to separate work time and personal time to maintain self-care and have a look at resources to help with your mental health during self-isolation.
Frequent and positive communication is key to motivating employees. Ensure clarity by providing easy access to information about projects and processes to make work easier and remove any stumbling blocks in the way.
Frequent praise is significant to acknowledge your teams’ good work in delivering projects and worth more than gold in the absence of everyday office chat. Such frequent praise offsets the impact of negative comments. Applauding staff at a time like this drives up morale immeasurably.
Set up a program to recognise employees using rewards such as Deliveroo vouchers, virtual bottles of wine or virtual chocolate boxes to celebrate achievements and reward progress.
Offer advancement to your staff such as greater responsibilities and development in their roles and duties.
With your office in the cloud, there are additional aspects to consider. As the bulk of communication is written when teams work remotely, watch out for tone and unintended consequences. Deprived of face to face communication, the absence of non-verbal cues looms large. A harmless sentence in a written chat is open to lots of interpretation without the smoothing effect of a smile, raised eyebrow, or other body language. Before you know it, you could have a situation. Try to use emojis or gifs to convey friendliness and kindness and remove any potential ambiguity.
Designate the function of particular tools or chat channels. Try video chat and audio calls to check in with colleagues and use task management software as a gentle guide. Choose the right social tool for your team from the wide array available. You could try Teams for informal work-related chat, Slack for sending out the many coronavirus memes out there and Zoom for video conferencing with the whole organisation.
Define distinct goals and check everyone is on the same page to ensure that work is being done and completed as it would in the office. Switch from time-based goals, such as logging long hours, to real and concrete achievements such as new software features for techie teammates, the number of articles written for content producers and comms tasks completed in a week or similar.
Rules help control the fun, as Monica once said in Friends. Schedule social and fun time to strengthen bonds across teams and foster a sense of a virtual hang out away from the confines of work. You could try a team quiz, games or chatting about things strictly outside of work like hobbies, pets and more! Let off steam about other things. The value cannot be measured in spreadsheets but is astronomical.
As we all stay apart to stay safe and work remotely to drive ahead causes and charitable missions, team morale is a timely issue. But, luckily, we can avail ourselves of the many digital tools available to come together and keep pressing ahead until everything is back to normal.