Recruitment• 3 Min read

31st March 2020

COVID-19 – 7 ways to keep employees motivated while they work from home

COVID-19 is providing challenges for every aspect of life. Something businesses are having to adapt to is entire workforces working remotely in order to protect their staff and the wider community. Remote working can present challenges, especially when it comes to workforce engagement and team morale. Here are our top 7 tips on how to best engage a remote team.

Stay connected and communicate frequently

It’s important to keep in touch with your employees while you all work remotely, whether that’s via email, text message, Whatsapp group or video conferencing. The added benefit of video conferencing is that you’re seeing the person on the other end, which in times of isolation could benefit the wellbeing of individuals who are spending a lot of time alone. Without the usual office interactions of shared cigarette breaks or meeting in the kitchen to make a coffee, individuals can feel like they are stuck out on a limb and that their professional progress is stagnating. This can make people feel incredibly demotivated and is easily counteracted with a solid communication stragety in place for remote workers. Connecting in different ways can be extrememly positive as it fosters a ‘we are all in this together’ mindset.

Regular check-ins and debriefs

There’s a fine balance mastering how often you should catch up with your employees while working remotely. As long as people have clear goals and plans for their days/weeks and know they can come to you for support, advice or guidance on tasks, there’s no issue with you leaving them to it. At the end of the week, get everyone in your team on a video call and run through how the week went, how they’re finding working in isolation and discuss plans for weekends! Why not bring your team together once a day by holding a ‘tea break’ together via video chat or host a quiz or challenge!


Instead of creating a regimented day plan like employees might have in the office, why not set expectations of tasks that need to be completed by the end of the day or week. That way, the power is on the employee to get the tasks done – however they want to it done. Some tasks are obviously more vital to keeping a business running than others and there should be a system in place to ensure these tasks takes priority.


Foster a growth mindset

Whilst working remotely, many of the usual facets of every day office life can be forgotten, and this can often include recognising personal and professional achievements. If your workforce are used to being motivated via incentives, weekly meetings or regular performance reviews, it’s vital to keep those elements in place, even if they have to be approached in a different way. Even well-established teams require both challenge and recognition to prevent lethargy and demotivation from setting in. Fostering a growth mindset can come in incredibly handy in preparing for unprecedented situations. Viewing each new challenge as an opportunity to stretch outside of the comfort zone can make the experience a learning one. Encouraging thinking outside of the comfort zone and focusing on potential means the team will be less afraid to take risks, and more likely to break free of the usual processes, maybe even finding new and more efficient ways to achieve the same goal. There is more information on the growth mindset here.

The Growth Mindset turns failures into positives as seens them as an opportunity to learn and grow. Enabling individuals to try new things that might fail, stretches their boundries and encourages out-of-the-box thinking, which are essential in overcoming new challenges posed by the current situation. Make sure the team know they won’t be penalised for trying new ideas.
Although being stuck at home for a long period of time could be frustrating and lead to a lethagic and demotivated workforce, approaching team management with a growth mindset allows staff to take advantage of the opportunities to develop new skills, both personal and professional. You could even end up with a more connected and successful workforce.

Manage accomplishments not activity

Most managers who have been trained in the Growth Mindset and current ways of working know that micromanaging your team, whether in the office or remotely, is a surefire way to demotivate them. Working from home has many more distractions than the usual office environment, and there may be a temptation to constantly check in with team members to make sure they are are on task. Micromanagent has proven over and over again to have negative implications for both long and short term motivation. Enable autonomous working by setting group and individual goals and schedule time to catch up on progress. Once team members are free to plan and deliver work on their own schedule, they are able to implement their own, individual ways of working which could have a long term impact on overhauling business processes. Being given the freedom to work at their own pace and chose when to switch between tasks can be highly motivating for individuals and it’s essential to tap into that enthusiasm when you are keeping a workforce motivated for a long period of time remotely.


Without the group location of a central office, workers can easily become isolated. Managers must find new ways of keeping in touch with their employees without the formalised work environment to facilitate. Managers should seek out opportunities for colleages to interact throughout the day and with scheduled catch-ups. Arrange video conferences for group meetings, and encourage the use of work-focused chat apps such as Google Hangouts for informal interactions. Build time into your own schedule to recognise achievements in a group setting, this could be an ongoing email thread or a group video conference.


Once you have schedules and plans in place, it’s important to step back and watch how the team manage the situation themselves. This is a time where every individual at any level of employment will be forced out of their comfort zone and into the unknown, share the concept of the Growth Mindset and how it can benefit individuals. Keep dialogue open so that issues can be raised as they occur and not be allowed to fester and cause worry or resentment. Times of crisis can be excellent opportunities for individuals to shine – be sure to recognise and reward those who rise to the challenge!


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