Keeping a remote team motivated has its unique set of challenges, especially if the team had little or no advance warning before becoming remote. Although it may seem glamorous to be able to work anytime and anywhere, it’s very different from operating out of an office — where it’s much easier to stay focused while in the company of peers. Indeed, one common problem that remote teams face is a lack of motivation. There are a lot of reasons for this and there are several ways to address this issue. To help you get started, we’ve prepared some tips to help you motivate your remote team.
A lack of motivation is often an indication of a bigger problem. One of the most significant problems that remote teams face is burnout. The lack of boundaries between work and one’s personal life is blurred when working remotely, which is what makes remote workers more susceptible to burnout. This is a serious phenomenon, with the World Health Organization declaring it as an official workplace syndrome. Burnout is characterized by a general feeling of exhaustion, mental distance from the job, and reduced productivity.
Since burnout is caused by chronic workplace stress, a great way to counteract it is by encouraging your team to take breaks and use their vacation time. Productivity experts agree that taking 50-90 minutes to power through work, followed by a break, allows you to be at your most productive. There’s also a lot of evidence that supports the need to take longer breaks, in the way of vacation or extended time off. To keep your team fresh and productive, encourage them to use their vacation time. This extra reminder is especially important if your company is experiencing layoffs, when team members might be worried about getting fired if they make use of vacation time.
To help manage the inevitable bleed between work and home life, you may set specific hours when it’s OK to send work communications and times when it is not. For example, I’ve seen leaders tell their team that work communications are only allowed between 7am and 7pm. This eliminates the need to incessantly check and respond to emails at all hours of the night. Of course, if your team is global or operating in different time zones, you’ll want to consider a system to takes this into consideration. Bottom line, encourage your team to pay attention to best practices in productivity by finding a good home/work life balance and taking breaks to recharge.
Offer Funds to Create an Ergonomic Workspace
An underrated aspect of offices is that they’re geared towards increasing productivity. So if a space is not conducive for work, this can quickly lead to loss of motivation. Everything — from the height of the tables to the comfort of the chairs — should be designed for comfort while working. Not all homes have spaces dedicated to work. So how do you fix this problem?
Health experts from Pain Free Working share that ergonomic accessories, such as a proper keyboard and mouse, can significantly put less tension on the body while working. They can also help promote better posture and alignment. This way, your teams are less likely to have problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, which will certainly put a damper on their motivation and increase their time out of office. Desks that accommodate sitting or standing can also offer many health benefits.
A good way to encourage employees to pay attention to their home office is by offering funding to help make their workspace ergonomic. A healthy employee will have less sick days and more motivation.
Teams can become unmotivated when there is a lack of clear direction. Communication is key when it comes to remote teams, particularly since the hallway conversations are gone. As much as you’re able, you’ll want to keep the lines of communication open to make sure that you and your teams are aligned with the company strategy and expectations.
In addition, people need to know how their work is perceived. It’s important to regularly provide feedback to each one of your team members. One of the largest reasons people leave companies is because they don’t feel appreciated.
The feedback you deliver doesn’t always have to be positive. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Suggestions for improvement are an important piece in helping employees learn and grow. Entrepreneur’s article on motivating your employees highlights how giving honest feedback is a great way to motivate them, as it gives them a guide on what to improve, while commending what they do right. You’ll also want to provide feedback so employees can continue to grow so when you’re ready for your next promotion, you have developed candidates who can step into your role. The key is in finding the right balance between positive reinforcement to encourage the good behavior and constructive criticism to reduce the number of times your team members miss the mark.
If you’re look for more tips to help boost your team’s overall performance, check out our article on How To Increase Team Productivity & Efficiency.
Article Submitted by Lara Wilson
Lara Wilson is a freelance writer and digital nomad. In her spare time, she enjoys doing yoga and teaching teams about the importance of work-life balance.
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