Team Motivation Ideas

The future of work looks radically different. As a result of the pandemic, it’s time for businesses to reconsider their team motivation ideas.

A greater number of employees work from home than ever before. Whereas less than a quarter (17%) of employees worked remotely at least 5 days a week prior to the pandemic, nearly half (44%) of workers do so now.

Businesses adapted their operations to comply with stay at home mandates. At this point, leaders have likely overcome the initial challenges of migrating a team to a remote environment such as ensuring employees have access to necessary technologies.

Business leaders now face another critical challenge: motivating their remote workforces. One study found that a lack of workspace flexibility led to a notable reduction in employee motivation.

Businesses may focus on solving the tangible challenges presented by a newly remote workforce. However, a motivated workforce may lead to greater success during this tumultuous moment.

A motivated team is likely also a productive team. A Gallup study estimated that lost productivity from disengaged employees cost US companies between $960 billion to $1.2 trillion per year. By increasing remote team motivation, businesses also promote greater financial returns

Whether you’ve had remote teams for a long time or have switched over due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time to start making some long-term investments into remote work.

The following team motivation ideas may provide guidance:

1. Invest in virtual office services to support remote workers

2. Communicate openly with remote employees

3. Invest in technologies to ease remote work challenges 

4. Give remote workers independence

By learning how to motivate your team, businesses may encourage productive remote workplaces and promote stronger financial performances.

Invest in Virtual Office Services to Support Remote Workers

virtual office

Businesses should consider investing in a virtual office service to provide employees with greater flexibility in their days. 

The pandemic heavily disrupted the workforce, with a majority of businesses instigating freezes or eliminating jobs. To cover resource gaps, businesses may have assigned additional responsibilities to existing employees. In fact, the U.S. increased its workday by three hours following its shift to remote work.

Unfortunately, this talent gap solution presents additional challenges by exacerbating employees’ stress. In part, a consequence of their remote environments, a majority (55%) of Americans feel greater amounts of stress. Chronic stress may lead to a multitude of individual and organizational challenges, leaving businesses in need of remote team motivation ideas. 

Rather than depleting employees’ bandwidths and reducing motivation, businesses should consider a virtual solution to cover talent gaps. For companies, an effective solution may be engaging a BPO service provider or an accounting firm.

By engaging an outsourced provider, businesses may offer employees greater amounts of time in their days. This enables workers to take breaks or pursue a passion project. These opportunities boost not only motivation but also productivity.

Communicate Openly with Remote Employees

remote communication

Businesses should enhance communication to maintain a motivated team in a remote environment.

It’s critical for leaders to keep their remote teams connected. With the spontaneous interactions enabled by shared spaces now a relic, it’s harder for businesses to maintain a culture of strong communication.

Whereas nearly a third (31%) of workers who feel connected to their team goals prefer remote work, only 18% of disconnected employees prefer to work from home. If your employees feel disconnected, it’s likely that they also feel disconnected. In this case, businesses may deploy team motivation ideas to mitigate dissatisfaction. 

Businesses should clearly define team goals and identify each employees’ contributions. By ensuring that employees know their expectations, leaders facilitate a cohesive movement to achieve organizational goals. 

Whether that clear communication of objectives comes from your product team explaining its new initiatives or the legal team having informational seminars via Zoom, the upshot is clear: communication matters. 

Another team motivation idea is recognizing employees’ contributions to positive project results. Business leaders may neglect positive feedback as their focus remains on sustaining operations during a tumultuous time. This lack of recognition demotivates workers by making them feel invisible.

In a remote environment, businesses should implement channels to provide workers with consistent praise. By avoiding only communicating with employees when work remains undone, business leaders provide a source of motivation

Invest in Technologies to Ease Remote Work Challenges

remote work challenges

Businesses should leverage technological solutions to facilitate a variety of processes and support a motivated remote team.

Video technologies such as Zoom and Google Meet are now ubiquitous as a result of the business’s transition to a remote environment. Communication tools are similarly important to a successful deployment of team motivation ideas. 

Remote communication tools ease the top challenges of working from home, supporting remote employees’ satisfaction. According to the State of Remote Work 2019, remoter workers’ top challenges include loneliness and collaboration:

  1. 19% struggle with loneliness
  2. 17% find collaboration and/or communication difficult

Video and chat platforms such as Slack help to assuage the top challenges of working from home by helping to connect people in real time. 

To foster a sense of community, businesses should engage in video and chat products for more than work purposes. Consider implementing weekly virtual “hangouts” where team members join simply to talk with one another. This builds connectedness amongst your newly remote team and mitigates loneliness, which encourages motivation

Beyond communication video and chat tools such as Slack, businesses should invest in new technologies. Many other digital solutions exist to support various remote team motivation ideas.

Project management tools help remote teams collaborate more effectively. Asana, for example, offers a variety of features to streamline remote collaboration such as boards.

A screenshot from Asana

Source: Asana.com

Boards help remote employees and teams organize projects. Each card represents a task that leaders may assign to specific teammates. As the employee works on the task, they can move them across columns to demonstrate their progress.

By making remote collaboration more seamless, businesses help employees to be successful and perform better in a new environment. This reduces negative emotions, which are barriers to motivation

Businesses should also ask their remote workers what they would like to see implemented. It’s likely that employees have already found resources to make working in a remote environment easier. 

Give Remote Workers Independence

For a final team motivation idea, businesses should avoid micromanagement and provide employees with autonomy to support their satisfaction in a remote environment.

Prior to the pandemic, many businesses resisted remote work as it reduced direct employee oversight. Despite fears that remote work would lead to reductions, it generally increases productivity. In fact, one study found employees were 13% more productive when working from home than working in an office. 

It’s important to keep this trend top of mind to prevent micromanagement, which negatively impacts trust. Micromanagement demonstrates a manager’s lack of trust in an employee’s ability to capably execute their responsibilities. As a result, employees feel disengaged and unmotivated.

Rather than advance performance, micromanagers actually undermine employees’ abilities to maximize their potentials. Instead, businesses should provide remote workers with the autonomy to keep them motivated.

Dedicate Resources to Motivate Remote Teams 

remote employee

In unprecedented times, businesses likely need to adapt their team motivation ideas. This may be especially pressing for employees working in new environments.

A virtual office service provider enables businesses to outsource processes and tasks. This offers employees more flexibility to pursue passion projects or take time to refresh. Either way, it’s likely to motivate.

It’s important that businesses maintain clear channels of communication to ensure organizational alignment and promote employee motivation in remote environments. A cohesive and motivated remote team is likely to effectively navigate this uncertain moment.

By engaging a variety of technologies, businesses enhance remote collaboration. More streamlined workflows and greater connection among colleagues helps to keep employees motivated.  

Businesses should provide remote employees with autonomy. By demonstrating trust in their abilities to perform, companies build motivated remote teams.

Kate Russell

Kate Russell is an Editorial Associate for Clutch — an Inc. 1000 private company that helps decision-makers determine the best B2B service providers to solve business challenges. She is also an HR research and content lead.

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