One of the major conversations and workplace issues to emerge out of the switch to remote work over the pandemic has concerned engagement and burnout. While remote work offers a host of benefits, including increased flexibility, the disappearance of often painful daily commutes, and the ability to work comfortably from one’s home, it has not been without its problems. It turns out, the office and on-site work have their benefits, especially their ability to motivate employees.
If you are a remote manager struggling to keep your people engaged, below are some ways you can ensure your team stays motivated throughout the week.
Break-up the Day With Stimulation
One of the tried and true ways to help people combat and stave off burnout is to provide them with activities that are cognitively stimulating and unrelated to work. It is ok to inject a little bit of fun into your team’s day even if it has nothing to do with work, especially when the objective is to replenish dwindling motivation.
One option is to play games that require mental engagement and can be played competitively among team members. Games like Scrabble are great for this because they don’t have to be completed in one sitting. You can have a running tally throughout the week that keeps score. If you or any of your team members are struggling to come up with winning combinations, there are tools that help unscramble words so you can more easily score big points.
Provide Regular Progress Reports
One of the biggest reasons people lose interest or motivation when doing something is because they can’t see its worth or purpose. In the workplace, this often comes down to managers and leaders failing to keep their team in the loop. You can either keep people up to date and plugged into what is going on during your scheduled meetings or you can provide written updates that they can view at their leisure.
If you want your people to stay motivated and engaged, show them that what they are doing matters, that they are getting results, and tie those in to the bigger organizational picture whenever possible. People are more incentivized to remain productive when they can see what they are working for.
Take Scheduled Breaks
Another motivation killer is continuous, inflexible work. If you want people to remain motivated and on-task, they need opportunities to recharge each day. The average human brain can only handle so much work before it needs to take a break. If people need to step out for some fresh air, or put in 20 minutes on the treadmill, allowing them to manage their breaks how they see fit will pay dividends in the form of motivation and productivity.
Breaks are ideally left up to the discretion of the employee, as different people need to unplug and regroup at different points throughout the day. Micromanaging breaks is a reliable way to make employees feel watched and controlled–two things that are antithetical to staying motivated.
A manager must walk a fine line between administration and facilitation. People need direction and management, but they also need leaders who help them maximize their potential. Part of the latter involves knowing when and where to rein in the push for productivity and output so that people can recharge and come back replenished and motivated. Keep the above weekly activities in mind and ensure your team stays high-performing and hard-working.
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