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Tips : Motivating Virtual Teams

It's not difficult to foresee a future where most people work from home. The Coronavirus outbreak has given us all an unexpected glimpse of our home-based workforce. The shift from onsite to virtual production has many challenges. Some issues will be solved by technology or by the acclimatization of remote employment. Still, one factor is likely to confound many employers. How do we motivate our teams?

Establish focus and perspective goals.

Many see the implementation of long and short term goals as an obvious answer. Nevertheless, leaders have been guilty of ignoring it or poorly implementing goals. We've heard over and over the value of creating “SMART” goals. Following this approach is applicable to online teams as well. The difference is in the level of detail. With an online team we need to be more specific about exactly how the goals are reached. The leader and team-members should collaborate to clearly describe the steps required to meet the final goal. Involving each member fosters a greater sense of “buy in” while helping them grasp performance expectations. Once intermediate checkpoints and goals are in place, each participant should have a greater understanding of whats expected of them and how they can meet this expectation.

Avoid the grind by moving people forward.

Initially it may be easy for team-members to stay focused and producing. After all, everything is new and challenging. Eventually, they will settle into a performance routine. That's when “the grind” sets in. Things are getting done, but the team member's motivation is ebbing away.  Work becomes repetitive and progress goes unnoticed. This problem can be mitigated by staying focused on employee development.
Use existing tools. If your organization has a training protocol established, take advantage of it. You can enhance it's effectiveness by giving token gifts for completion( like a coffee gift card).
Cross train. If you're starting a new project, it might be a good time to mix things up. When possible shuffle the roles of your employees. Let someone else take point now and then. Cross training allows for the development of wider skill bases and provides relief to members who have grown tired of their roles.

Need  Some Help?

Keeping remote employees on track can be challenging. When done correctly the organization can expect to gain increased productivity while controlling costs. Simultaneously the employees gain greater autonomy and work-life flexibility. Balancing individual needs versus organizational objectives can get complicated. If your team needs additional help, I'll be ready to assist.

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