As the leader of a team working remotely, you’re probably aware by now of how quickly individuals can become disengaged, and less productive. This isn’t only a problem for the business, it’s a human problem. Remote employees can easily feel isolated, not only from you but also from their colleagues and the business as a whole.
So, what action can you take to ensure morale remains high, the employees are all happy, and the work gets done effectively. Here are a few tips.
Make each person feel important
Typically, some of your team will require more of your time than others, who can be relied on to do their work without the need for your support or intervention. It’s these very individuals, competent and experienced, who are at most risk of feeling ignored or adrift, when working remotely. Make time to check in with them regularly, one-to-one. No need to check on their work, but engage with them to find out how they’re coping, and to recognize them for their contribution.
Get them outside
There’s nothing like some fresh air to recharge the batteries. Why not divide them into pairs or small groups and set an outdoor scavenger challenge, around the city, socially-distanced, of course. Set a strict time limit for the cityhunt , and give additional points for creative responses. Select the teams to create a balance, then let them divide the questions and devise their strategy between themselves.
Sitting all day at a non-optimized workstation can create all kinds of back and joint issues. Why not introduce a daily dose of group exercise to get everyone away from their screens and having a few minutes of fun? Whether it’s qigong or HIIT, it really doesn’t matter. Choose a different style each day, so it stays light and everyone can join in to try just one time. Either hire trainers for a short virtual session, ask local trainers or gym owners to provide a free ‘taster’ session, or get your team members to demonstrate their favorite exercises.
Instead of allocating endless tasks, start to gamify the work. Set challenges for individuals, pairs, and small groups to win. Let the tasks be related to work-goals, so there’s an incentive to stay on track. Ensure the team members rely on each other to complete, so that communication between them, on email, whatsapp, zoom, etc, is maximized. Ensure the winners are rewarded with plenty of praise & recognition, as well as small prizes or financial incentives. A little glory goes a long way to building morale. Create a mixture of short term and monthly to keep communication lines active.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, take time to celebrate all the successes. Praise, recognition, and thanks cost nothing but mean a lot, especially when people are feeling separated from each other. Praise individuals one-to-one, ideally in a video call so you can make eye-contact. Then follow up by repeating the praise in front of the whole team. Why not involve your manager, and ask him or her to thank your team for their outstanding contribution.
As a leader, it’s up to you to maintain your team’s morale. Keeping in constant contact, introduce activities that build relationships between team members, recognize everyone’s contribution, and you’ll have the best chance of creating a genuine remote working success story.