Remote Working has become the new norm today. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have revolutionized the workplace and has resulted in a mandatory shift to Work from Home. Many businesses, small and large, have adapted to remote working during this global health crisis and added it to their policies as well. Currently, employees are operating from home until further notice on the lockdown.
While it is difficult to estimate the number of companies that have adopted remote working since the crisis, as per a recent survey by Gartner experts of 800 HR executives,
“88% of the organizations have encouraged or required employees to work from home”
Working from Home has drastically changed the way employees interact with their colleagues and managers. While Working from Home is not new, this almost mandatory switch to remote working without much transition time has proved to be challenging for both the employees and companies. Given the unprecedented scale of this change and that this is likely to be a long term change, it may result in demotivated employees and thus low productivity for the organization. Many companies have now started seriously investing in technology to build a smooth digital workflow between employees and their managers.
The transition from working time-bound and physically in the office to work from home can leave any employee feeling lost and unmotivated given the physical absence of colleagues, office support, and office infrastructure. This is exacerbated especially when we don’t know how long remote working can last.
Keeping your employees motivated during adaptation to this change is critical to ensure that the organizational performance doesn’t suffer.
9 Ways to Keep Employees Motivated while they Work from Home
If you want to help your employees have a smooth transition and want to keep them engaged and motivated in the time of COVID-19, we bring you 9 Ways to do just that.
To keep employees motivated and connected, start by building a virtual office for your employees. Investing in technological tools like Virtual Conferencing Software and Collaboration Tools, the company should build an online community for employees to facilitate professional and personal conversations among colleagues. It will enable employees to feel a sense of belonging, being connected, and motivate them to be more productive. It is equally important to enable personal connections between the employees while they work from home.
Tip: Organize virtual team activities (like quizzes) or breaks to keep employees connected informally.
With remote teams, a major challenge is how to communicate; given that people are not face-to-face, there is always a chance that things get lost in transition. If your overall internal communication strategy does not focus on ensuring clarity in communication, this could result in a regular communication gap among employees and low engagement of your remote employees.
Leveraging technology will be the key. Encourage the use of platforms for instant messaging like Hangout, Slack to allow quick and informal conversations between employees. Establishing regular check-ins and facilitating communication will keep your workforce connected and clear about what’s happening.
Tip: Informal Communication among colleagues can help keep them connected as a team.
Employees when stuck at home and cut from the outside world due to lock-down, can feel uninspired. As a manager or team leader, you can motivate your remote team by encouraging them to go for personal and professional growth opportunities.
Adopting a growth mindset means that irrespective of your position or where you are in your career, there is always more room to learn and grow. As leaders and managers, you can foster an environment where employees focus on their potential and not just their performance.
Establish a learning culture and motivate employees to test their limits and learn new skills to grow professionally.
Tip: Encourage your employees to learn a skill or two in-line with their career growth during this remote working.
You have effective internal communication and defined clear goals for your employees to achieve. But your employees still need visibility of their progress. Build a Visual Scoreboard that shows the individual and team progress and motivates employees to achieve their goals.
A Visual Scoreboard can also spell out the priorities and the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each team. One can use analytics and graphics to convey the weekly or monthly progress or make use of modern applications like Trello for managers and teams to assign tasks and collaborate.
Conducting weekly and monthly meetings to discuss the scoreboard and the key objectives will keep employees connected, engaged, and motivated to work towards their assigned tasks.
Tip: Make use of Analytical tools with visual scoreboards to let employees/team know their progress in comparison with others.
For most employees, Working from home means that extra responsibility to manage both – office work and household chores. Manager’s micromanaging the “office time” can make employees feel burdened and anxious.
Here, providing flexibility and focusing on accomplishment can prove more effective in managing your remote employees. Highlight the broader collective and individual performance tasks/goals. Provide the employees with a clear objective and overall timeline to achieve that objective. The employees will feel more motivated to achieve their objectives.
Tip: Motivate employees to reach their goals and give them the flexibility to choose their own time.
Recognition of the efforts and achievements of employees should be an essential element for the overall success of your business. Recognition is one of the most effective methods to make employees feel engaged. When employees are recognized for their work, they feel a sense of accomplishment that makes them feel engaged and motivates them to do their best.
Working from home in a sense make employees feel isolated and less connected. It becomes therefore imperative to make every effort to keep them engaged to maintain their productivity. Recognizing their efforts and achievements can boost their confidence and motivation to work.
Tip: Adopt modern Recognition & Rewards philosophy and tools to keep your employees engaged and motivated.
For any business to thrive and succeed, it needs constant inputs in the form of feedback. Similarly, employees also require real-time and continuous feedback to grow and improve.
Fostering a culture of open and honest feedback for your remote employees will motivate them to be more involved and progressive in their approach. For a successful and motivating feedback system, managers can organize a one-on-one session with their team and offer their insights on the employee’s performance.
Since the one-on-one sessions are going to be virtual during this global crisis, make sure you take that extra care to choose the words and the tone of your voice when conveying the feedback. A calm, composed, and understanding tone of voice and the right words will be more constructive than a curt one.
Tip: Give importance to the softer aspects of communication.
In today’s remote working scenario, technology plays a crucial role to keep the organization together and connected. Digital technologies make it easier to build online communities and conduct virtual meetings than ever before.
There are many digital solutions available to facilitate your online collaboration efforts. As per you and your employee needs, choose tools that are user-friendly and easily adaptable throughout the organization.
During working from home, employees need mails, video conferencing tools, instant messaging tools, specific task-related tools, access to online data storage, etc. for working efficiently. Invest in tools that will make it easy for employees to participate in work activities and accomplish their tasks.
A virtual meeting that is frequently interrupted and doesn’t allow effective sharing by employees would not only disrupt the entire meeting but discourage the employees from being proactive.
Tip: Facilitate employees to invest in high-speed internet connection at home.
Once you have defined the duties and responsibilities to your team with your expectations, you have to trust your team to get the job done. In remote working, it is not possible to walk up to an employee during the day and ask what they are working on.
As managers, you can only motivate and guide your employees in the right direction. After that, you have to place your trust in your employees to get the work done.
Tip: Avoid pinging or calling your employees multiple times in a day and wait for them to revert in time.
Keeping your employees motivated during this COVID-19 epidemic and helping them continue to work remotely can be challenging. However, adopting some basics techniques to keep your team motivated can go a long way for ‘productive’ remote working.