While thousands of Australian workers are being forced to work remotely due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, some of us are asking ourselves: Is remote work the future of business?
There is a great possibility that, even after the COVID-19 restrictions ease, some businesses are going to transition to remote work for at least a few days a week and introduce flexibility long term. Remote work doesn't necessarily mean less productivity, if you ensure that your staff always have the motivational boost, they need to continue to accomplish amazing things.
When we talk about motivation, it is important to know that there are two different types of people:
1. Internally (intrinsically) motivated people are inspired by their inner drive that comes from within themselves. These people are motivated by their own achievements and success and they usually do not require too much ‘push up’ to go above and beyond their tasks. Intrinsic motivators can be things like high quality of work they are doing or the feeling of accomplishment and recognition.
2. Externally (extrinsically) motivated people are inspired by different factors like pay increases, bonuses and even some negative factors such as the fear of losing their job.
Being a great leader means being able to inspire your team
Being a great leader requires many different skills and one of them is knowing how to motivate your team, yet during these challenging times while a vast majority of our team is working remotely, that could be even trickier.
Motivating a whole team of people to work towards a mutual goal, is a process that requires time and experience as well as an understanding of the different types of people you are motivating. Even if you have brilliant ideas, it is important to be able to communicate them in such a way that inspire others. Inspired and happy staff members that work together towards a mutual end-result equals a successful team.
We've broken down what Azure Group have implanted to keep our employees motivated and productive during COVID-19.
1. Communicate with your team on a regular basis
1.1 Build teams – when your remote workers know that they are expected to communicate and interact with their co-workers, they can feel just as engaged as in-office staff members.
1.2 Daily check-ins – creating a daily check-in routine is an important way to set priorities and foster connections. A morning check-in via phone call, video or Slack message as one-on-one or among small groups are perfect for keeping regular communication.
1.3 Promptly return emails, calls, and voice mails to your team – your team needs to feel supported, they have to be able to reach you, do not ignore them.
1.4 Weekly team meetings – revamped meetings that adapt specifically to remote workers can help you maintain productivity. This is your chance to bring everyone together and ensure the whole organisation is connected.
1.5 Implement fun activities – Azure Group’s HR team have taken the lead to ensure our team remains connected. Each week we include a fun activity to keep everyone connected. Trivia brought out the best of our competitive team members and the “match the sentence with the person” was a great getting to know you exercise.
2. Familiarise your team with your long-term vision clearly and often
2.1 Make sure to clarify expectations for your team – connect with key persons around communication, work priorities, and success metrics regularly.
2.2 Note your project progress – be proactive and alert team members on progress on longer-term goals. For instance, you might send a weekly email with a list of projects or new client wins that have advanced that week.
2.3 Remind everyone of your vision and values – address a value each week and empower your team to embrace this value in their day/day activities.
3. Empower your team
3.1 Provide mentorship – take the time to tailor your coaching strategies to each individual by her/his duties.
3.2 Recognise employee success – keep track of the progress your employees are making. Recognising the success of all your employees leads to healthier and happier workers.
3.3 Encourage dedicated workspace – not having a well-equipped home office space while remote working can cause a temporary decrease in productivity. If your employees don’t have a home office, make sure they do as much as they can to create an ad hoc, bespoke space exclusively for work.
3.4 Dress for success – encourage professional attire. Our morning routine plays a large role in determining our mindset for the day. Even though it might be tempting, you'll find you're more productive when you dress for the day, brush your teeth, have your breakfast and take your first phone call.
3.5 Share victories – sharing victories encourage employees to cheer one another or engage in friendly competition.
4. Encourage creativity and new ideas
4.1 Practice virtual brainstorming – remote workers don’t have the same diverse selection of people to bounce their ideas off. Virtual brainstorming could be a solution for that.
4.2 Write down all ideas – not all ideas are going to be implemented straight away, but you must make sure you're keeping records. Projects do not start without ideas.
5. Help your team to grow
5.1 Virtual training and webinars – remember that all your employees need training, no matter where they are located.
5.2 Allow flexibility – team members don’t have to be sitting at a desk between 9 am and 5 pm every day to accomplish things. Instead, allow freedom to build their own schedules. Some days and/or hours are more productive than others and that's ok, if they respect deadlines and deliver results.
6. Promote teamwork in your organisation
6.1 Emphasise interactions between different teams – different teams have different dynamics, encourage interactions, you'll be surprised what they can learn from each other.
6.2 Ask for feedback – ask your colleagues for regular feedback on how the situation is working out, what's working well and what could it be done better.
7. Create a pleasant work environment
7.1 Provide emotional support to employees – it is important that your employees and the flow on effect to their loved ones feel supported during these difficult times. You need to ensure that you maintain good will with your team so that when we start to come out on the other side of CoVID-19 you have a strong team to help you recover.
7.2 Encourage self-care – leaders should additionally encourage self-care among their employee. Exercise, get quality sleep, take showers, drink plenty of water, take regular breaks and continue on with lives as normally as they can.
7.3 Don’t forget about non-work interactions – creating the time and space for workers to talk about fun topics helps relieve stress and maintain better connections.
7.4 Occasionally send funny, work-appropriate GIFs over Slack, text, or email – these little things help reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety.
Have you noticed our #FridayExpertTips... here's one that relates to #CoVID-19: Business Planning
"In times of crisis we often focus on ourselves and our own issues. However, in order to fully understand the long and short term impacts on your business, you have to understand the impact on those around you – your team, business partners, customers, industry, niche... and adjust accordingly."