What are your best tips for motivating employees working from home?
We've recently begun working from home, following the COVID-19 outbreak. It was a very sudden move and whilst productivity has still remained high, we're having some trouble with a lack of motivation. This I think has boiled down to those members of staff being fairly isolated at home - living, sleeping and working from the same room in some cases. Does anyone have any tips on how to increase motivation and morale?
You cannot help employees if they do not choose to change their physical and mental state. One of our clients had the same question and ended up getting their employees more active through group cardio sessions online. First thing, lets get moving and our blood pumping. This worked really well ! You c an try out sending everyone a fitbit step counter and creating a group within the firbit community to workout together and create joint fitness goals. Alternatively try to get a fitness trainer online and get everyone to do Yoga or some other non aggressive activity togeter.
Working from home has a ton of challenges, and now that's even more so. Hence, be patient and lenient with people. Your oh so formal dress code is probably laughable right now. Your work hours may not be feasible. Your management structure may need to be more fluid.
As with people working in an office, make them feel valued. Give them your ear and your time when you can.
I work from home anyway (before the pandemic struck), and am used to meetings of some sort 4 days per week. Monday is the company-wide meeting where we're all told what's going on, across departments. There are shout outs from each department for whoever therein has embodied our core values the best.
Tuesday through Thursday, we have a departmental meeting. Wednesday is short with no agenda, very informal, although if we need to do training, it's often on Wednesdays. For Tuesday and Thursday, there's an agenda, everyone gets to speak, and you report on what you're doing and what you intend to do in the next day or so. We also give shout outs to each other. I am a front-line manager of two people and I use this as an opportunity to not just give kudos but also to shore up someone who may be feeling down or underappreciated. Fridays have no meetings and I know I am not the only person who will schedule appointments then so meetings aren't missed.
Tools like Slack and Asana are huge because Slack is informal communications and Asana gets projects organized. And for God's sake, use Google docs and sheets to share work and keep version control under, well, control.
Support your employees if they want to stretch and grow, whether it's to take an online class or buy a book or study under someone else in the company.
And one other thing. There are plenty of folks who work from home but there are people in their lives who passive aggressively don't support or understand that. Phone calls during the day just to chat. Laundry and childcare dumped on someone who's supposed to be working. Not staying quiet or keeping out of the way. And I'm not talking about young children, who don't know any better. I'm also not talking about the current need to home school. I mean spouses, parents, and the like.
For your employees who are saddled this way, cut them some slack and empathize with them. One silver lining from Covid-19 is so many more people had to work from home, and as a result it seems to be understood a lot better. But for your employees who have people in their lives who still haven't gotten the memo, make a deal with them. You want the work done, period. If the time doesn't matter, then okay them to work weird hours, or turn things in piecemeal. Whatever it takes. Being a patient and flexible employer and manager is gold to employees.
Follow these tips to motivate employees and get them engaged and doing their best work:
Give recognition early and often. People need to know they’re doing a good job. Praise in public, criticize in private.
Trust them with big projects. If you’re hiring talented people, you should learn to get out of their way. A players thrive when you give them responsibility.
Invest in their learning and development.
CFO: "What happens if we train them and they leave?"
CEO: "What happens if we don't train them and they stay?"
Give them the right resources to do a great job. This means tools, processes, people, etc. It’s also a manager’s job to remove roadblocks to their employees can do their best work every day.
Maintain open communication. Clear communication gives insights into what is going on in the mind of an employee. How else are you going to know what motivates them?
Promote a broader company culture. Make your employees clear about company culture which includes goals, mission, and values.
Enforce work-life balance. Work-from-home options and flexible timings provide freedom to employees to work from anywhere at any time. Providing these facilities will result in more engaged employees than unhappy employees working in cubicles from 9 to 5.
Communicate their progress in their job and careers. At a higher level, the best managers make sure their people are continuing to learn and grow, not just in the short term, but the long term too.
Make sure they feel heard. Listen to them! Leaders who don’t listen will be surrounded by people with nothing to say.
Make sure they feel valued. Nothing kills motivation more than the feeling of not being valued. Being valued is different for every employee, so you must know each person and their drivers. People want to know that their managers care about them as people, not just a number or a means to an end.