With lockdown re-introduced earlier this month to fight the second wave of the coronavirus, remote working has returned as an obligatory option for many. So boosting employee motivation to help keep both productivity and wellbeing high, more critical than ever.
COVID-19 first took hold some eight months ago – spanning a period far longer than even the experts had anticipated. The worry for many now is that a return to restrictions will drain the positivity many employees have maintained, positivity fostered by the belief that the unprecedently situation was for the short-term only.
With belief waning amongst some, how can employers keep employees motivated, and maintain the levels of productivity and creativity needed to keep businesses operating now and into the future? We have listed 5 of the key suggestions designed to boost employee motivation.
COVID-19 Based Employee Fatigue
Compromises have had to be made in order to keep economies going, with the most significant being the decision to have staff work from home. According to one survey by Gartner, some 88% of 800 participating HR executives confirmed their organizations have either ‘encouraged or required’ employees to work from home.
It has not been the perfect solution, however, research shows that people can quickly become frustrated with working from home. The Harvard Business Review carried out several surveys globally between 2010 and 2015 and discovered a clear difference in motivation levels between those who worked from home (about 35%) versus those who worked in the office (41).
When workers were given no choice and were required to work from home, the differences were even more significant. The overall motivation rates dropped by as much as 17%.
Boosting Employee Motivation
The negative impact of remote working can injure productivity and wellbeing. But there are some steps to take that can actually improve both despite the conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Promote a Sense Of Belonging
- Prioritise Communication
- Encourage A Growth Mindset
- Focus On Accomplishments
- Show Your Trust
Interaction is a key part of the office experience. Through it, colleagues develop relationships and ultimately a sense of belonging. But it’s difficult to recreate this when colleagues are spread across locations. The most effective way is to facilitate daily communication, share messages and develop a community feel between colleagues. Even organising a small virtual quiz or other fun activities helps to keep employees connected informally.
As mentioned, communication is hugely important for effective remote working, particularly clear and positive communication needs to be ensured. Technology is the key with instant messaging ideal for quick ‘real-time’ conversations between employees. However, it’s also a good idea to schedule check-ins so all team members can connect and know how everyone is progressing.
When motivation is sparse, so too is employee engagement. However, research has shown that engagement increases when employees are encouraged to develop their skills. Promote a growth mindset, where employees know that they can also enhance their professional options. Encourage employees to do courses in line with their work and career.
Micromanaging is a negative tactic when managing teams working from home, often adding to the stress employees are feeling. Being flexible, therefore, is important but so too is positive affirmation. When speaking with employees, it’s better to highlight the work completed and on the broader collective achievements that a team have made. It helps everyone to feel progress is being made, motivating them to keep going to reach the remaining goals.
Just as a sense of belonging is crucial, knowing you hold the confidence of your employers is an important aspect in these uncertain times. For employees, being valued is more than just being retained in employment; employers need to show they have trust in them. This is evidenced through the allocation of responsibilities and an absence of frequent check-up calls. So, give employees ample freedom to get the job done.
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