Managers and employees alike are struggling right now. Being forced to work from home during this crisis has had a massive impact on employee motivation. Having passed the first hurdles of setting up at home and defining new processes, we now face the challenge of keeping employees motivated, inspired, and productive—no easy task.
Several factors contribute to a person's overall motivation.
To keep employees engaged and productive while working remotely, we need to understand both the internal and external factors employees face to help them navigate these changes with support and guidance.
Outside influences such as family responsibilities, financial and safety concerns, isolation, mental health, and new work demands are out of our control and demand our time and energy. It’s essential to pay attention to the increased personal and emotional requirements that are consuming energy from your employees.
We must work hard to balance these influences. Think of it as fueling your body with food. Some foods contribute positively to your energy levels, such as proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. While other foods with little nutritional value, lead to low energy levels and decreased output. Similarly, some daily tasks and activities increase our energy levels, while some leave us feeling drained.
Leaders who understand the impact of these increased demands and allow for “balance” will receive more focused attention, increased engagement, and commitment from their teams. Even if it is over fewer hours of the day than before, the output will be of higher quality.
Keep an Eye on External Influences: Do they add or take away from employee motivation?
Offer Support to Motivate and Engage Employees
Checking in with employees to understand what they are currently going through is paramount to increasing motivation and productivity. The following questions will help you demonstrate care, increase understanding, and drive engagement.
1. What are some of the specific challenges you are facing, and how can I help?
2. Do you have ideas on how to solve [a specific obstacle]?
3. Do you have suggestions that will help make connecting with the team more comfortable and meaningful?
4. Have you noticed anyone in the organization who went above and beyond?
5. What were you proud of this week?
6. What is your biggest challenge with balancing work and family responsibilities?
7. What’s affecting your motivation most while working from home?
8. Have you noticed any inefficiencies in our processes since working from home? And if so, do you have any suggestions on how to improve them?
9. How can I better support you?
10. Are there any additional personal pressures that I should be aware of right now?
During this crisis, for many, a decrease in positive motivators and an increase in taxing external influences are causing energy drain and additional stress. As employers, we must work hard to help our teams achieve balance and navigate a new normal. With the right support, our organizations can come out of this crisis intact.