Working from home for over five weeks now, I’ve observed that people tend to underestimate the lack of social interaction.

Here are some practical tips of how to keep your team motivated when working from home:

Working remotely comes with a bunch of advantages: I quite enjoy the time I save in the mornings, wearing my sweat pants all day and being able to receive the many packages I ordered online these days. Let’s however not underestimate the challenges that come with working from home when it’s not just for a day or two but for an unknown period of time. Your colleagues may feel disconnected, uninformed and simply lack the social interaction. Remoteness can have a significant impact on people’s feelings and work ethics. A leader’s support is – now more than ever – needed to keep the team informed and motivated.

Socialize with your team

My manager has introduced quick daily virtual calls with the purpose of us all coming together and to share the key topics of the day. Not only does this help to stay informed but we also see each other and ask how we’re doing. People talk about problems and concerns (to the extent that they’re comfortable with) and this provides a team feeling even when being at home by ourselves.

Individualize

In challenging times like now, it helps when a leader checks in with his colleagues individually: asking how they feel in this situation, what concerns they might have and how they believe they can perform best. We should acknowledge that everyone works differently, listen and adjust when working remotely. Make that the people you work with feel like you care and that they have a voice.

Over-communicate

Nothing is worse than feeling uninformed, neglected or out of the loop. When times are uncertain and we don’t have the same access to information as we’re used to, it is crucial to be informed. As a leader, even sharing what you don’t know creates transparency and trust. Here are some topics worth discussing in your daily virtual get-together:

  • Share the latest updates and news
  • Agree on and communicate a clear focus and plan for the coming days
  • Ask people how they’re doing
  • Give everyone a chance to speak up

My team and I have been in home office for a while now and surprisingly never talked more! Being on the phone with them daily – even if it’s just for a quick question, information or an how’re you provides me with a lot of support and the feeling of “we’re in this together”.

Don’t forget that times like these also provide an opportunity to grow as a team and to get closer together. Encourage everyone to support each other and be transparent, communicative and honest to keep your team’s motivation up.

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