Like thousands of Americans, the COVID-19 shutdown has forced me to work from home. As a small business owner, an extended shelter at home order terrifies me. Thankfully, technology has advanced to the point where many of us can work remotely at least some of the time. To help in my own small way, I created this list of the best tips and tools that I have for keeping your team motivated during this difficult time.
Meet Regularly With Your Team
Find a time each week or even each day that works best for you and your team to meet. Use this time to talk about the most pressing tasks, needs, and roadblocks that you can help with. No one wants to be micromanaged, so give your employees the freedom to make their own choices, set their own goals, and accomplish tasks their own way.
If you can no longer have in-person meetings, transition to video chats.
Use some of these tips to keep your meetings valuable:
- Keep them short
- Have an agenda
- Ask yourself “do we need this meeting?”
- Make sure everyone participates
You should also remember that official meetings aren’t the only time that you can check in with your team. Having a quick phone call or video chat instead of an email can help you all stay connected and will often save time.
Set Clear Expectations
If you don’t have clear goals and expectations for your team, then there will very likely come a time when something goes wrong. You might blame your employees for not executing a task correctly and they’ll blame you for not being clear.
Set aside time regularly to create goals and set reasonable time frames for when they should be completed. During these meetings, encourage your team to contribute and have an open conversation about what kinds of goals they think are worthwhile. This way they will feel more in control of their time and will feel much more like part of a team instead of feeling bossed around.
Create SMART Goals Using This Framework:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
Make Your Health A Priority
Working from home can make it really easy to become overly sedentary. If you don’t take precautions, you might find yourself with an aching back, strained eyes, weight gain, or depression. Share these tips with your team and ask them what they are doing to maintain their health.
- Take short breaks every hour to stand, walk around, and rest your eyes
- Stay hydrated
- Use the time you save from not commuting to exercise
- Cook nutritious meals in your home kitchen
- Invest in a home desk chair that will be good for your back
Create Work Boundaries
For those that are new to working remotely, you might find yourself working later than normal. Without the clear division between home and work, it’s easy to fall into the trap of working all the time. It’s important to set boundaries for yourself and your team to avoid burnout. If your normal work hours are 9-5, then stick to 9-5 or whatever works best for your team. Don’t send out tasks later or earlier.
You should also create a dedicated workspace in your home where you can leave your work when you’re done for the day. When I’m finished working for the day, I shut my laptop and put it away. You can close your office door or shut off your desktop to reach the same effect.
Choose The Right Remote Tools
Staying connected with your team has become a lot more difficult since the COVID-19 epidemic has forced so many of us to work from home. While there are more remote tools available today than ever before, choosing the correct stack for your organization will help you improve communication and productivity.
Working remotely doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, some members of your team might thrive under this new system, but it’s important to help your team stay motivated. Being proactive will help you increase employee morale and productivity during this incredibly stressful time.
Guest post courtesy of Molly Edwards