Although work from home was a privilege, now it is a new normal.
Even the best of leaders need to gear up their game while being better equipped to handle remotely working employees by motivating and fostering high morale. Running a remote team is not an easy task especially when they are working from home for a sustained amount of period. Here are a few practices that will ensure employees are motivated, productive, and feel valued through these unprecedented times.
Have Virtual Talk Rooms
It is important not only to talk about work-life during virtual chat rooms but also some casual talks. “Remote happy hours” or “Virtual tea time parties”, where teams can talk about anything – their lives, thoughts, essentially bond and connect. It provides an occasion for small talks and a emotional relaxation period. The key is to display camaraderie in unconventional ways and communicate with the team to keep them at the core of productivity and high performance.
It is imperative to stay connected, constantly communicate and address the needs of the employees working remotely. Many leaders are grappling with it!
Unlike in office, you cannot see the employees and easily communicate with proximity. Know every individual in the team and stay associated with them through video/audio calls, chats and emails. This enable to have a positive rapport, brighten up their spirits and help keep them motivate. Offer to do a quick 5 min call to wrap up the day or kick off the start of the day.
Trust Your Employees and Set Clear Expectations
There indeed is a lot of contrast when working in an office and working from home. Unlike working in an office where the employees are committed working for 9 hours, work from home comes with flexible working hours where the employees have the liberty to complete their work responsibilities as per their flexibility and availability. The leader should understand the rhythm of work which completely differs in a work from home environment which is exacerbated by other responsibilities/duties at home or other types of commitments that the employees need to balance.
So the leader must have realistic work time expectations and must trust the employees completely while delegating them any work or responsibility. In order to keep the team engaged and responsive during certain hours, the leader should convey their expectations clearly which could consist of deadlines, responsibilities, team goals to name a few.
Leverage Tools and Technology to Intensify Communication
Another jack as a leader is to ensure that your team is well equipped with the latest tools and upgraded technologies. The correct tools can trigger communication and strengthen relationships. Have a rain check on your employees and keep them in the loop by checking what tools and technologies they are using, think about the very practical and tactical things like – Do their employees have access to the latest technologies? Do they have the right type of equipment’s either a laptop or a desk computer or a strong broadband network? Also offering them a reliable outlet would highly provoke the employees to have more productive outcomes. Remember Uplifting and influencing a remote workforce requires an extravagant approach as that of a traditional office environment.
Try to Be as Transparent as Possible
As the employees are working from home they have minimal knowledge about what is going on in the organization – about the upcoming projects, salary incentives, or appraisals they are expecting. It is pertinent that the employees experience a feeling of belongingness towards the organization. As a leader being transparent as much as you can and giving the employees as much information about what’s going on in the organization would not only help the employees have a crystal clear work culture, but also elevate their motivation to work towards a rewarding work life.
Empathize with Them
Employees would feel demotivated and left alone when they feel they aren’t understood by their leader. To avert this, leaders should display affinity and ensure what’s happening and what are the needs of the employees/team. It is important to understand that some employees will require more time to adjust to the new work from home culture than others. Extending succor and emotional support in not only official matters but also in non-work matters to some extent would make them more efficient.
Celebrate Employee’s Success
No doubt motivated employees perform better. It is immensely crucial that leaders keep the team elevated, and the best way to do this is to celebrate employees’ achievements and making announcements. Giving them positive feedback or encouragement can go a long way. There are many ways to acknowledge genuine efforts. For instance, congratulate them during Video meetings, via mails. Considering rewarding perks such as online shopping vouchers, bonus to name a few can comradely within the team and personalize their leader’s communication with them. It’s surprising how showing regular appreciation and fostering team fuels the inflow of outstanding creative ideas and productivity.
The best leaders are those who motivate employees, have the ability to overcome adversity, and build a trust-based relationship. Although work from home culture comes with a new set of challenges, the tips above will allow leaders to enable high performing and productive teams.
Motivation doesn’t happen overnight and one cannot arrange a one-time pep rally and expect team to be exhilarated about their work forever.
“Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough Teams Do”- Robert H
By Fatema Abbas