It’s never been easier than now for teams to stay virtually connected. Yet, managers are anxious, wondering how to get these virtual teams to be truly productive, and how to help team members stay full present or available when working remotely. A simple and quick response to such issues could be to have rigid processes – defined log-in/ log-out times, making video calls mandatory, etc. But would that help?
It is possible that people are far less motivated now. One of the reasons: they have no choice in where to work from and feel restricted to homes and laptops. Thus, they miss the element of belonging to something bigger, and of having playful, fun moments with their teams. To take the edge off:
- Reignite their belief in the company’s mission. It is easy to feel isolated and holed up when working from home or not going to a common workspace. In such a situation, team leads need to constantly align their team’s work with a larger purpose, or show how each team member’s work is part of a solution to the problem the organization is solving. Says Richard Smith, CEO of Trade Stops, “A mission ensures all stakeholders are aligned and supporting the same vision… when people believe in what they’re working for, motivation follows.” Else, people get lost in daily mundane tasks.
- Ask them about what they can solve. The pandemic has compelled most businesses to change the way they work or solve problems. Internet-based companies are figuring out bandwidth issues, online stores are reimagining their supply chain, and brick-and-mortar businesses are looking for ways to reach out to customers virtually. But none of this is solely dependent on only the CEO or the top leaders’ ability to generate ideas. Take the problems you are trying to solve to your teams. Ask them to think about possible solutions. The authors of this article recommend asking your teams questions like:
- How is the current situation affecting you at the moment?
- What tips do people have for how to motivate yourself currently?
- What opportunities do you see in the business, that I may not yet?
- Get creative with recognition. Out-of-sight can truly become out-of-mind when working remotely. How then can we track and appreciate the many things an individual does? One of the ways is to have 5-7 minutes in your weekly Monday meetings to highlight/ celebrate the work of a team member – what they did, how it impacted the problem, etc. If possible, configure a leaderboard where people can give each other stars and a quick shout out during the week. Make it visible at every team meeting.
Taking these steps might mean adding to your to-do lists. But this might be an easier and fun way to bring teams together and inspire them to do their bit than create rigid rules or implement them in an even stricter fashion.