There are certainly many benefits to working from home, such as no long work commute, a little more of a lie in every morning and the comfort of your own home, however, there are many elements to remote working that hinders productivity and team motivation. Working from home is now part of many of our daily routines and we all have our own little habits to keep ourselves motivated throughout the day. But how can team leaders and managers keep their team motivated and productive from home?
We explore some top tips and advice on how to maintain a motivated team, such as how to ensure communication is still a key focus on a day-to-day basis and why it's so important to set realistic expectations for your staff that have a busy home life or maybe find it harder to concentrate from their new workspace.
It's inevitable that there may be a slight disconnection between you and your co-workers during times of long-term remote working. You might realise how easy it is to ask a quick question across the room or pop into a co-workers office for a catch-up. Technology plays a key factor in remote working and these advancements have made it increasingly easier to maximise communication, collaboration and effective working from home methods.
A great method of keeping communication strong is the use of real-time messaging platforms and video calls, a platform working to its greatest advantage at Stafffinders is Microsoft Teams. Teams is simple and easy to use, allowing you to send quick instant messages to individuals or your team just like you would have a conversation at your place of work. Video calls are also available within this platform, giving a sense of being physically present as if you are participating in a normal meeting with coworkers. Try and schedule frequent meetings with your team even if a few are not work-related, as keeping everyone connected regularly keeps teams unified and on the same page.
Check-ins also don't always need to be as a whole team, take some time to check up on individuals that may need some extra guidance through these unprecedented times and who may not want to voice workload concerns via a group chat. Regular phone calls can make all the difference and a great way to have a quick catch up and gain reassurance throughout each week. You maybe feel that you are connecting and talking to people in your office that you usually wouldn't back at work, this will make a huge difference when you return as this will become a good habit and get you talking to everyone.
We've all been there; experiencing server issues at the most important times and struggling to access files whilst working from home. The great benefit of utilising a shared document platform is that they are simple to access by everyone, can be shared with specific people and changes are usually saved automatically meaning no fear of information being lost. Most sharing platforms such as OneDrive allows the option for all team members to edit a document, meaning multiple users can add their input at the same time ensuring no overwritten copies or waiting around to get into a document another team member may be working on.
Shared platforms encourage all team members to work together and even provide help to others who may need support in their role, which probably doesn't happen too often in an office environment. Another great platform that is available through your Microsoft account is OneNote, in which similar to Word it can be used to store information but adopts a real-time and automatic save feature so you can simply add extra info as and when you please without saving or sharing the document with others. You can even tailor who sees each OneNote tab allowing you to work effectively in your own team and oversee your colleagues work to keep track of daily progress.
Working from home can welcome many challenges, especially if your colleagues have a family to look after or children to entertain once the school work is finished. Even being in a different setting can put people off their usual routine, affecting productivity and motivation. This is why it's so important to consider everyone's home life and how you can accommodate for those that may need additional support or a flexible working approach.
Implementing realistic expectations and goals for your team will help your colleagues plan their days and workload, eliminating stress and encouraging a quality workflow. Setting up a workflow schedule system such as Trello is a great way to keep an eye on your team's workload, what their progress is and when they've completed certain tasks, giving you an idea of what each member is capable of from home. You can even identify who may be working more efficiently and delegate work as you see fit, to ensure everyone is working to their own realistic goals in this new environment.
It's easy to feel lonely when working from home and experience a disconnection from your team, compared to the norm of working alongside them. A simple thanks or well done can go a long way, it shows that you recognise the work your team are putting in and gives them that extra boost to keep going. If employees experience their work going unnoticed they may feel underappreciated and unmotivated in upcoming tasks, therefore giving praise and positive feedback where its deserved is essential in building a motivated and hardworking team.
Peer-to-peer feedback is also a fantastic method to not only enhance team motivation but allow colleagues to offer feedback to each other. This could be letting your teammates know that a certain task they performed has helped them finish a job more efficiently or alternatively providing constructive feedback on how it could have been implemented better, in order to help both parties achieve their goals more effectively. This is a great way to maintain good working relationships with your team and encourage enhanced collaboration and communication practices.
Looking out for your team as a group and individually is the key to keeping everyone motivated, happy and productive whilst working from home. Don't be afraid to give recognition where its deserved and encourage as much communication as possible. You never know, this period of home working could help companies in the long run quickly set up remote working for those that need to stay at home for any reason and the more we practise now will make it second nature to most of us.