5 Ways To Motivate Your Remote Team

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As the world of work changes, more of us are now working from home. This changes the company dynamic and requires a re-think on how organisations motivate their employees.

Key Takeaways

  1. Maintaining motivation is vital in the workplace
  2. Motivation also has benefits to overall physical and mental wellbeing
  3. There a number of ways you can motivate your remote team to improve performance and life quality

Chats by the water cooler and drinks after work were staples of building a workplace bond but clearly this approach cannot be replicated remotely. Organisations now need new, creative ways to bring teams to together and motivate them. Before we look at ways this can be achieved, let’s firstly take a look at the importance of motivation.

What Is Motivation?

Motivation simply refers to the reason we act or behave in a particular way. It is the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-orientated behaviours. Motivation involves the emotional, social, biological and cognitive forces that activate behaviour.

There are two main types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivations arise from outside the individual and can involve rewards such as money, social recognition or trophies.

Intrinsic motivations come from within and might lead to personal gratification of solving a problem or feeling a sense of achievement.

Why Is Motivation Important?

Understanding how motivation works can help improve the efficiency of people as they work towards a goal and encourage people to engage in health-orientated behaviours. The more we learn about the motivation the better we can understand where it comes from and what increases and decreases it.

Motivation allows us to function productively and maintain wellbeing despite a constant stream of opportunities and threats.

Motivation and Mental Health

Motivation can also improve overall well-being and happiness and help people feel more in control of their lives. Motivation as a psychological state is linked to our physiology. When our motivation drops, our functioning and wellbeing suffer.

Research has suggested that when we feel helpless in exerting control, we tend to give up quickly when challenged. Unhealthy fluctuations in motivation can also explain addition, gambling and risk taking.

5 Ways To Motivate Your Remote Team

1. Virtual Face to Face
Although you might not be able to meet your team face to face, video conversations are the next best thing. Communication channels like Slack, emails and even phone calls might be useful tools, but video provides valuable context and provides a more human experience. Also try to ensure you leave some time for more relaxed conversation to help keep your team more connected.

2. De-Stress
Give your team the time and opportunity to reduce stress. Create communication channels for non-work related chat and ensure you are reminding employees to take time off, even if they have no particular plan or need for it. You should also encourage your team to separate work and home life by using “away” or “do not disturb” features. You should also encourage flexible schedules and mental health breaks to help your employees cope with their personal responsibilities.

3. Be Available
Some people can find remote working quite isolating and might not feel comfortable reaching out through communication channels like Slack. Create regular 1:1 sessions or set aside time that you are free and available for people to approach you.

4. Increase Communication
When it comes to plans or feedback it is important to over communicate, and it can be easy to feel out of the loop. This doesn’t mean sending constant updates but just keep your team in the loop about new initiatives and try to keep a central source of truth that everyone can access.

5. Implement a Wellbeing Strategy
Motivation can impact wellbeing, but it also works the other way. Improving employee wellbeing can directly increase motivation. Take steps to measure and improve employee wellbeing across all areas of life quality and not only does it show your employees that you care but will also increase productivity and reduce absenteeism and presenteeism.

References

Sheehan, Rachel B., Matthew P. Herring, and Mark J. Campbell. “Associations between motivation and mental health in sport: A test of the hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.” Frontiers in psychology 9 (2018): 707.

Maier, Steven F., Christopher Peterson, and Barry Schwartz. “From helplessness to hope: The seminal career of Martin Seligman.” The science of optimism and hope: Research essays in honor of Martin EP Seligman (2000): 11-37.

Amabile, Teresa M. “Motivational synergy: Toward new conceptualizations of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in the workplace.” Human resource management review 3.3 (1993): 185-201.

Ganta, Vinay Chaitanya. “Motivation in the workplace to improve the employee performance.” International Journal of Engineering Technology, Management and Applied Sciences 2.6 (2014): 221-230.

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