5 Ways To Keep Your Team Motivated While Working From Home

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woman on her computer at home

Do you find yourself and your team devoid of motivation while working from home?

In the midst of unseen and unimaginable times, the standard way of doing things has suddenly changed.

For human beings, any significant change surfaces fears, anxiety, and discomfort like nothing else. People are afraid of whether they will still have their jobs and incomes in the next couple of months.

The tendency is to naturally fall into survival mode. The focus of the entire world at the moment is on the lower band in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Any stressful situation can be leveraged as an opportunity to elevate your leadership to the next level. Instead of just getting by and existing, use this opportunity to thrive.

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As the game has changed, the way to play the game must change too. What you're used to doing in the past will not work anymore in these pandemic times.

A common concern I'm hearing from executives is how they can keep their teams motivated and engaged during these times.

The usual water cooler chats are not happening anymore. Most people are used to only discussing work during the scheduled virtual meetings. The connection that people felt seems to be intangible and less real now.

Different people deal with work-from-home scenarios in different ways.

A particular director, who's usually very high strung, seemed uniquely relaxed while working from home, while another typically cheerful VP seemed extremely stressed and wound up.

With that in mind, here are 6 ways your team can keep up the motivation while working-from-home.

1. Accept the situation and empathize with your team.

It cannot be business as usual. Even if you're resilient enough to keep going at past levels of productivity, you must recognize that that kind of pressure can break a few people.

One of my clients complained that his manager is single and is using this time to push others and work extra hard.

However, my client has little kids at home and both he and his wife are finding it very difficult even to get basics done.

Empathy must be practiced by the bucket load right now.

2. Keep yourself at maximum mental health.

If you're not feeling great, how do you expect to inspire others? Try a few things with yourself. You can then share those tips with your team.

The stress energy that used to get automatically expended may now exist in your body as these uncomfortable emotions.

Letting go is extremely important in whichever way you choose to release — exercising, meditating, reading, or other hobbies, talking to people, or even sleeping it out.

Start by empathizing with yourself. Extend kindness to yourself first.

3. Check in on your team.

Know that each person is handling this situation differently. Ask open-ended questions to understand where each team member is at.

What are their particular strengths and challenges in the current environment?

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4. Organize optional virtual happy hours or coffee chats.

Some teams are getting everyone together and talking about topics other than work, being vulnerable, and sharing more personal tidbits.

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5. Reach out for short unscheduled water cooler chats virtually.

Pick up the phone and reach out to a co-worker to connect with them — just like running into them in the break room.

Some companies have even assigned a virtual room where people can come to hang out if they feel lonely or have some free time.

Exercising together could also be a good stress buster and bonding activity.

Feel free to share your real self. With many people working from home, they have kids and families around that become part of the calls, whether we want it or not.

Instead of being embarrassed about it, own up to the situation.

For example, if your child barges into the room, feel free to take a few minutes to get them settled and then come back to the call. Trust people to understand.

Some leaders are restless and feeling that they are not doing enough to help solve this at the team, organization, or at a global level.

I had this experience personally and had to remind myself that every little thing helps. The most crucial thing is to stay focused and do what you do best.

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Bhavna Dalal is a Master Certified Executive Coach MCC ICF, speaker, and author of Checkmate Office Politics" who helps people develop their leadership skills such as executive presence, strategic thinking, influencing and networking, women leadership, and so on. To know more about her work, visit her website or find her on LinkedIn

This article was originally published at Forbes India. Reprinted with permission from the author.