Stress across the UK’s workforce is at an unprecedented high, with worries over job security and finances.
For those of us who can, we’re adapting to working in isolation from home in line with the government’ social distancing instructions. Around the country, and indeed the World, workers are in back bedrooms, kitchens and home offices trying to carry on as the impact of coronavirus takes hold. Of course, for some, this is normal practise, but for many (us included!) it’s a total shift from everyday working life.
People are trying to work from home whilst juggling caring responsibilities and others are struggling isolating alone. Here are some top tips for motivating and managing your teams remotely.
Set a routine:
Discuss a working agenda with the team. Ensure everybody has a specific project and timescale that they are working to and can update you on. If they’re working reactively, encourage them to do some virtual filing and sorting of old folders. Anything to pass the time! However, ensure that they have a work:life balance and they remember to take a lunch break and only work their set hours where possible.
Try to arrange a catch up with the full team once a week. Don’t expect it to be at 9am! Aim for 9:30-10am to allow people the time to log in and all the other faffing about. If you can, promote the use of video calls – this will mean that your team will want to look presentable and get dressed. Working in pyjamas might sound like fun, but the edge soon wears off!
Keep in touch:
It’s important that you reach out to your staff during this time without seeming overbearing. Schedule one-to-one video or telephone calls. Even if they’re just for a chat and a catch-up rather than something more serious – this will help boost morale. Remember that your team are working to difficult schedules and you will need to be flexible with them.
Ask the question “how are you?” and we don’t mean to check if they’ve developed a cough! Create a culture that promotes honest dialogue. Be empathetic, understanding and reasonable. If people are stressed, suggest a tea break and have a chat over a brew via the webcam.
There are so many online solutions for working as a team collaboratively. Utilise them! This will stop your colleagues from feeling isolated or wondering where a project is up to. There are some great tools here.
Try to organise a “coffee room” chat room or a collaborative break once a week. Use it for the regular office chit-chat and not work-related stuff. Suggest an hour with your team where you can discuss the latest TV shows, do a quiz, share recipes etc. It’ll boost morale – especially for those isolating alone.
Whilst all of the above will help to keep your employees feel connected and supported, it’s important to look at motivation techniques too.
Set clear deliverables. Like we’ve said, people will be working funny hours and trying to balance their time effectively. By setting deliverables for the week, you’re giving people the tools to plan their workloads and time around the week.
Offer silly incentives. Perhaps you could say that the ‘employee of the week’ gets a lie-in on Friday morning, an extra long lunch break when it’s sunny or an earlier finish? It’s not easy to offer monetary rewards at this time, but little treats can go a long way.
We know that we don’t have all the answers and we appreciate that times are tough. We’re all going to be in for an unsteady ride over the next few weeks and months, but we need to try and support each other. Pick up the phone to a colleague, friend or family member. Remember those who live alone (they might not be elderly or vulnerable!) and have a chat.
If anything can come out of this horrible situation, it’s that we can learn how to adapt and support each other through tough times. Stay safe, stay home and look after yourselves.
If you need any help or advice from our perspective during these difficult times you are more than welcome to drop us a line on 0114 321 1873 or firstname.lastname@example.org