As businesses approach the pandemic anniversary resulting from COVID-19 lockdowns, employees working from home still grapple with numerous challenges. Data compiled by Chubb found that 68 percent of home workers are concerned about their financial well-being, and 60 percent reported that working from home was difficult due to distractions. Working from home resulted in 42 percent of men and 32 percent of women working longer hours. Additionally, 36 percent said they were eating more and 26 percent drank more than usual. These numbers indicate the pandemic is still complicating life for remote staff members.
As employees attempt to cope with these struggles, it is easy to see how they might face a lack of motivation, which is key to job performance as well as your company’s growth. Motivation bolsters drive, energy, and commitment. Without it, work becomes mundane, leading to lackluster performance.
Keeping employees motivated is critical — especially during these tough times. Strong leaders realize this and do whatever it takes to help their organizations thrive.
“We’re living in a new normal where the health and wellbeing of the nation is the priority. We’ve seen so many examples of companies going down during the pandemic, so it’s crucial for me, as a business owner, to make sure that the business stays on track and keeps growing. So that my employees keep their jobs, get their benefits to support families and children, and continue with their career path.” , – said Michael Podolsky, CEO of PissedConsumer.
Motivation can be hard to track, but some signs that indicate a shortage of motivation include:
- lower quality of work;
- lack of responsibility;
- fewer hours worked;
- reluctance to accept new projects.
Measuring your employee’s motivation — even when they are working from home — is essential for success.
Key Factors of Motivation
Identifying key factors of motivation is one way. While your employees might not be thrilled to still be at home as the pandemic anniversary approaches, that does not mean that they cannot be motivated.
There are several ways to motivate employees even though you may only be communicating with them through email or video calls.
Stay in touch
Depending on the type of jobs your employees have, you may not have to communicate every day or even every week, but your employees need to know that you are available. Setting aside time for group and individual meetings gives everyone (including you) the opportunity to voice questions and concerns. Ask for their feedback, and listen to their ideas.
Recognition and rewards are great motivators. Aside from yearly reviews and raises, look for other ways to recognize excellent work. Contests, competitions, and bonuses are a surefire way to motivate employees. Aside from money, gift cards paid time off and simple recognition in front of the team can do wonders not only for motivation but morale.
Challenging work gives staff members a chance to shine and, as a result, it can ignite motivation. During meetings, ask staff members what they did better this month than last month, what their best achievement was for the week/month. Help them set goals for upcoming projects. Start with short goals that are easily attainable and work up to bigger targets.
Opportunities to grow and learn
Not being in the office is no reason to ease up on growth opportunities. Give staff members the chance to take online courses from sites like Skillshare, Coursera, or LinkedIn. Short meetings, educational literature, and videos are also tools you can use to help employees learn how to do their jobs more effectively.
Mistakes in Remote Management
No one would argue that managing a team remotely comes with its own challenges. Make sure you’re not making the following mistakes that stifle your team’s motivation.
Not being flexible
Some employees might have to work around several schedules to find their most productive time of day. Some may prefer early morning hours, while others might prefer working later in the day. Maybe some prefer to work on weekends. A Gallup poll showed that 53 percent of workers reported that a healthy work/life balance was important to them.
Not trusting your employees
The same survey revealed that trust was essential. If team members did not trust their manager, they were less likely to be engaged. Trust is gained when you clarify expectations, provide the materials and information workers need to do a good job, and discuss their skills/talents.
Not utilizing technology
Find a platform that allows your team to keep up with tasks and projects. Apps like Trello and Asana make it easy to manage tasks. Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote make it easy to keep up with the workflow.
Benefits to Keep Employees Engaged
Employees need to know that managers care, and there is no better way to show them than by giving a little extra. Several brands stepped up during the pandemic and gave their staff something more.
Starbucks expanded its mental health benefits to include 20 free sessions per year with a mental health practitioner. CEO Kevin Johnson sent his employees a letter that showed he understood where they were coming from.
Microsoft offered parents up to 12 weeks of paid time off to help them deal with pandemic-related school closings.
Noodles & Company added education and wellness perks to their benefits as well as expanding time off.
Zillow gave parents 10 additional paid days off for caregiving, and Google increased its caregiving policy to 14 paid weeks.
Twitter launched a free virtual camp program for the children of their employees.
It doesn’t take much to show you care.
As the pandemic anniversary approaches, we still don’t know when things will get back to normal. That being said, managers and CEOs like Starbucks’ Johnson set good leadership examples as they understand that considering the well-being of their employees is one way to keep them motivated.