604.724.0353 [email protected]
4 Ways to Motivate Your Remote Team

4 Ways to Motivate Your Remote Team

Remote work has taken the world by storm, whether we like it or not. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it forced organizations to find alternatives for employees working in the traditional in-person office environment. Enter in remote work; many workplaces implemented work from home procedures to quickly adapt to the changing times. 

While remote work holds many benefits (think flexible work schedules and casual office wear), it had many underlying challenges. Setting up the logistics was one of the first obstacles facing the transition, from ensuring team members had the proper equipment to learning new technology to stay connected. Next, more abstract challenges such as blurred boundaries between work-life balance, team collaboration, and decreased engagement and productivity became apparent. Little did we know, all these challenges contribute to a larger problem: motivation within remote teams.  

In a Harvard Business Review study, remote employees who had no say in their work environment were the least motivated, versus those who chose to work remotely. The most motivated employees were those who decided to work in an office. While remote work may be associated with low motivation compared to when we operated back in the office, there are ways to combat this. The answer? Emotional intelligence. Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the leadership superpower today’s managers need to boost productivity and employee engagement

Emotional Intelligence Motivates Your Remote Team

EI is the ability to recognize, understand and manage your emotions. Once you name your emotions, you can tame them; this can help support your everyday actions and overall mindset, from managing stress to having empathy for others.   

Motivation can be simple as a mathematical formula. When people feel connected to their team, appreciated for their efforts, and fulfilled in their job, it improves how they feel and perform at work. In order to stay motivated, it is crucial to master these three key areas. While it may be challenging to incorporate these critical areas while working as a remote team, we have compiled a list of activities that can boost team motivation even though physically apart!

1. Use Technology for Collaboration

While collaboration may no longer occur in the conference room, it’s time to stop reminiscing about the old times and begin envisioning how to recreate the same camaraderie. In a remote team, collaboration starts with a working wifi connection; we have many online tools available to us to kickstart teamwork and innovation. 

Picture this – you have a strategic planning session over Zoom this week. Add some flair into the meeting by incorporating interactivity. Use the Zoom Whiteboard feature or Google Jamboard to mimic writing out ideas on the whiteboard, just like how you used to in the office. Instead of having ten participants on the call throughout the whole meeting, use breakout rooms to allow collaboration among smaller units, then come together again as a large team to discuss the new ideas. 

Many leaders can leverage the tricks technology brings and start to see that there are far more options to online engagement. It can be as simple as voting anonymously in a poll to sharing thoughts and opinions through chat. Finding and utilizing new web-conferencing tools will keep your meetings engaged and collaborative.   

One of the perks of remote work is the minimal commute required. This may open the door for further collaboration; perhaps a team member is interested in planning social events but never made it to the prior committee meetings, as they always needed to leave early to beat the traffic. Now, they can join the discussion with a calendar invite in a few clicks. Keep this in mind and open up more collaboration opportunities; this can motivate your team as they try something new, work with different groups, and may even find a new interest or passion! 

2. Be Flexible Towards Needs

We mentioned that one of the challenges of remote work is blurred boundaries between work and personal life. Now that the office space has moved to your team’s personal home, everything connected to your personal life is also invited into the office space. Employers need to consider these conditions, whether that be caring for children or having a limited office space. Everyone’s office space looks different and is no longer as uniform as before. Have discussions with your team members to see how you, as a leader, can assist them in adjusting to their remote work environment. 

In Leading Effective Virtual Meetings, we discuss how empathy and flexibility can go a long way. Whether it’s accommodating longer breaks so that a team member can have time to make lunch for their children or purchasing an office chair so that the team member has an ergonomic workspace, there are many ways that leaders can support their employees. By tending to these different needs, leaders are investing in their greatest asset – their team. In return, team members will feel valued and more motivated to excel in their roles. 

3. Remember Your Core Values 

An aspect of the office environment that many workers miss is the in-person interaction. With remote work, employees are now no longer able to see their teams in person. If this is left unaccounted for, this can decrease team engagement. To remind employees that they’re not alone, leaders need to take the first step and continue cultivating their workplace culture remotely. 

Because your team is now remote, this does not mean you have to eliminate the watercooler talk that used to take place in the office. At the start of your meeting, you can ask your team members how their weekend went or their plans for the day. Even a simple question, such as “How are you feeling today?” can speak volumes; it shows that you genuinely care for your employees and want to strengthen your team relationship. 

Think back to your company’s core values – these are the guiding principles behind your organization. Are they reflected in your online work environment? If not, what can you do to implement them into your remote workspace? For example, if your organization values continuous learning and development, make sure that your employees know this and are dedicating time for learning in their schedule. To instill this into your team culture, why not host a monthly company-wide virtual show and tell? At the end of the month, you can host a dedicated meeting where your team members each take turns demonstrating what they learned. Alternatively, you can have 1-2 team members share what they learned at the start of every meeting. 

When transitioning to online work, we may have been too busy adapting to the change in our work environment that we dismissed our corporate values and vision. Remind your team members of the vision, purpose and core values behind the organization; it’s likely the reason why they joined the team in the first place! By reminding your employees of your shared mission and instilling it into your corporate culture, your team will be more motivated to achieve your common goal. 

4. Feedback: Listen & Offer

Providing regular feedback helps to cultivate a culture of transparency and growth. It is easy to hide behind the screen in a remote work environment and sweep your problems under the rug. As a leader, you need to minimize this by informing your team members that you’re readily available to listen and will support them if they are struggling. 

You may no longer have the ability to walk around your office and assess the room, but you can make it a routine to check in with your team. Set time for face-to-face communication when conducting check-ins, so you’re able to take note of their body language. Be intentional and set time for regular check-ins. Whether it be a monthly one-on-one meeting or weekly team meeting, a leaders’ feedback can be highly motivational to their team members; it shows that the manager acknowledges their employee’s hard work. A small gesture, such as telling your team member you appreciate them can go a long way. Feedback also allows employees to ask questions about their performance and pinpoint challenges and areas for development.  

However, feedback should go both ways; leaders need to be aware of their strengths and areas of improvement. When checking-in with team members, managers should also ask for an evaluation of their leadership performance. For instance, a leader could solicit feedback from their team by simply asking, “What am I doing too much of? What am I not doing enough of? What am I doing just right?” Feedback will help the leader recognize what their team members need and can even identify areas they never thought of before! Leaders need to share that they’re open to receiving input, especially as they steer and pivot through these times of uncertainty. Make it known to your team that navigating through the storm is a collective effort! 

The Checklist to Motivate Your Remote Team

In summary, here’s a checklist of activities that can help you motivate your remote team with emotional intelligence. These activities have been grouped under the three critical areas of Connection, Appreciation, and Fulfilment in order to boost motivation. Keep this checklist bookmarked! 

Connection

Leverage technology to find new ways to collaborate. 

Make time for connection – ask your team members how they are feeling.

Appreciation 

Show your team members that you care – send a message to a team member stating how you appreciate them.

Ask your team members if there’s anything they need from you. 

Fulfillment 

Provide feedback to your team members – set up a one-on-one meeting with a team member or a weekly team meeting. 

Ask for feedback from your team member on what is working well and what needs improvement. 

Looking for more ways to keep your remote team motivated? Check out our blog, How to Engage Your Virtual Team Using Emotional Intelligence, for tips on how you can keep your remote team engaged. You can also sign up for our Reconnect and Revive Your Team with EI package to help your team stay emotionally connected while physically apart.  

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, to keep up with more of our blogs!

How To Identify Your Strengths

Everyone has a natural aptitude for something.   What are your strengths? Working with numbers Detail-oriented Drawing pictures Teaching children Growing plants Problem-solving Caring for those less fortunate than you Music Athletics Empathy Writing Working with your...

3 Strategies to Find Your True Calling

Have you ever felt stuck working the grind every day, going through the motions, checking off your mundane daily tasks from your to-do list, just to make it to your weekend?   You know in your heart that the only way to get unstuck is to make changes in your everyday...

Take Your Company to the Next Level: Invest in the Right People

As a leadership and emotional intelligence training company that focuses on recruitment, evaluation, and developing employees, we understand that hiring and retaining is easier said than done. The maxim “many hands make light work”  seems like a no-brainer when...

The Art of Authentic Leadership

All too often, leaders believe that the key to success is to present a manufactured corporate persona. They believe they need to portray that they have all the answers, they don't make mistakes, and they can never let their teams see them sweat. But let's face it -...

3 Ways Mentors Can Change Your Life

Have you ever considered taking action in pursuing something totally different from where you are now, but were unsure if it would be the right move? Have you ever thought of how to make that move, but were unsure of how to do it? If your answer is yes to either of...
Leading Effective Virtual Meetings

Leading Effective Virtual Meetings

The dynamic of our workforce is continually changing. The current situation of COVID-19 has many organizations making quick, on the spot decisions. For instance, it is no longer safe for employees to work in their usual office spaces. So how are businesses adapting? Thankfully, many companies can offer remote work options – meaning that group operations, such as team meetings, are conducted virtually.

As companies navigate through these unpredictable times, at-home offices and virtual meetings have become the norm. The sudden shift from in-person meetings to virtual meetings require organizations to quickly find a solution – from finding a reliable platform to upholding productivity. Both employees and employers always need to be flexible and adapt. When faced with significant changes, it is crucial to utilize emotional intelligence. Using emotional intelligence enables one to empathize with others and is also the key ingredient in recognizing an individual’s own emotions to make better, informed decisions.    

Leading Effective Virtual Meetings

 

Whether virtual meetings are the favourite or most dreaded event in the workday, the question of “How to lead effective virtual meetings in times of uncertainty?” remains. Let’s be honest – when living in unprecedented times, it’s normal for employees to feel unmotivated and disengaged. To combat this, we put together our top three emotional intelligence tips to help kickstart productivity, engagement, and, ultimately, lead effective virtual meetings! 

1. Schedule Connection

 

The first step is to ensure that your employees are set for success for virtual meetings. Utilizing a meeting agenda is excellent at outlining purpose, updates, topics, and decisions. However, leaders need to ensure the schedule sets aside time for connection and collaboration. It’s easy to deliver a task over email, but purposeful conversation and direction happen face-to-face. Although teams cannot meet in person, leaders can put aside time each day for check-ins, recognition, and sharing positive news!

Set allotted time slots for each item to ensure employees are not losing opportunities to connect with colleagues. A leader can act as the gatekeeper to keep everyone accountable and ensure everyone gets a chance to be heard during the meetings. Even though there may only be one individual leading the discussion, that does not mean that it is a solo mission! 

Connecting is essential and helps employees build trust in the organization. When leaders can bring a level of trust in the organizations, they feel obligated to participate since they genuinely care about their opinions. Therefore, building trust is the most significant step towards effective meetings and a productive work environment.

Furthermore, your workforce likely spans across multiple generations, all with varying skill levels. Leading effective meetings means everyone has to participate. Leaders need to ensure all employees have the resources to participate in virtual discussions. Encourage younger generations to meet with older generations and help them through the challenges of setting up virtual meetings. By understanding the different levels of skill in the organization, leaders can provide the proper support to all generations. Leaders will eliminate stress and supply employees with the new skills and knowledge required for the upcoming virtual meeting! 

2. Flexibility and empathy go a long way

 

Working from home proposes a unique situation as professional lifestyles and personal lifestyles blend. You do not know what is happening behind the scenes of your employees’ lives. Therefore, it is critical to act and lead with empathy and flexibility.

When leading virtual meetings, remember that everyone has a different work situation. For instance, some employees may have a nice, quiet space, ideal for working, while others may need to prepare a meal for their kids first before attending the meeting. As a result, remember to be patient and kind towards all team members. Make it an effort to check in and learn more about their situation and then ask how best to support them. Try incorporating check-ins at the beginning of your virtual meetings to understand the team members’ emotions better even though apart. 

Once leaders understand the different circumstances each of their team members are in, they will adapt meetings to be more effective for everyone. For example, maybe before virtual work meetings were at 9 am, but now half of your workplace has to homeschool their children during that time. Leaders need to be aware of their team’s schedules, so they can make meeting accommodations that benefit the entire team. Not only do leaders need to improve on flexibility, but team members need to as well. It is time to be patient and understanding! If a team member is five minutes late to a meeting, invite them with open arms. Similar to leaders, team members also need to trust that their colleagues are doing their best.   

When leading virtual meetings, be empathetic and flexible. Remember, everyone is not in the same boat, but rather the same storm.

3. Set Rules but Be Open to Change 

As mentioned above, team members may be unfamiliar with virtual meetings; it may even be their first time attending one! To help the team ease into virtual meetings, layout the guidelines in an email and delegate time at the beginning of the meeting as a reminder. Examples of online etiquette for consideration include having cameras on, punctuality, and dress code. Once these norms are established, virtual meetings will become less intimidating as the team members know what to expect. 

In return, leaders should also be open to feedback regarding meeting structure and logistics. Encourage participation whenever possible to keep team members engaged. As team members are participants of the meeting, their opinions should be equally, if not more, valued like their leaders. Cultivate a culture of open communication. After the virtual conversation, discuss (if time allows) or send out a follow-up email requesting their thoughts and feelings on how the meeting went. 

Like acting with empathy, be mindful of how to tailor meetings to best suit employees’ needs. For example, if team members feel that they are experiencing screen fatigue, dedicate a few minutes throughout the session to take a quick stretch break. As a leader, do not be afraid to ask for help from your team members. While operating through times of uncertainty, take this moment to collaborate and learn together; leading effective virtual meetings are a collective effort!  

Benefits of an Effective Virtual Meeting

 

Leading effective virtual meetings allows people a chance to feel connected, appreciated, and fulfilled at their job. Right now, everyone is struggling to feel genuinely connected to their workplace, and productivity is at the lowest it has ever been. When leaders embrace the importance of connecting their employees, their productivity, innovation, and overall positivity will significantly improve. Emotional intelligence gives leaders the tools to communicate with their employees on a deeper level and run meaningful meetings for everyone in the workplace. 

If interested in learning more about leveraging emotional intelligence to lead remote teams in times of uncertainty, check out either of these workshops, Leading Remote Teams with Emotional Intelligence or Leading Effective Meetings. Also, check out our Virtual EQ Retreat, specifically designed to assess and develop a team’s emotional intelligence through a remote learning platform! 

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, to stay up-to-date with our blogs!