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Motivating Teams Working Remotely

"If your team members just clock in and clock out you can never expect them to go the extra mile"

There are two great pillars of motivation that are essential to consider. Especially in the climate of COVID-19. These two powerhouses are culture and clarity. One of the tricks to gain clarity that gets overlooked by leaders is that at one time or another you were in an entry level job. You were in one a team similar to that of the ones that today you find yourself leading. This can give you great insight. If you cast your mind back to that time and ask your younger, less experienced self, ‘What is it that motivate you, I mean me?’ Of course, this time with COVID-19 is different, however the same core principals apply as strong now as they did before.

Culture - what is the culture of your organisation? You can start with a slight side-step here and ask yourself, if you were to ask any one of your team members do they know your organisation’s vision statement, would they be able to answer it with clarity? As an example, Apple are so successful in their organisational culture because every one of their staff members are made to feel that they are essential parts of and have clarity on the organisation’s ‘cause’, the very reason why they exist, their ‘why’. It is not to make money, to provide great telecommunications or user experience, it is to revolutionise, it is to give everyone a voice and contribute toward the advancement of humankind. In short to make a mark in the world. Apple have done this to such a degree they even have a cult-like following in their clients never mind their teams. Their ‘why’ is that powerful.

If you are now scratching your head as to what your organisations vision is, it may be time to open up the folder you filed it away in, dust it off and give it a read. Ask yourself, is it still relevant? Doe sit encapsulate what your organisation stands for? If not, that is OK, it is just time to revisit it. When you get around to this, which you should do as soon as you can – not to rush it but to get it in place and when you do involve as many of your team(s) as possible. When people recognise their fingerprints, their DNA in something they see it as an extension of themselves, and commit.

If you have it in place and it does still resonate, share it with your teams and talk about the original energy and passion that went into it. Even if they know it already, bring it back to the table, remind everyone why they are there, why you are there. If you were not in the room when the vision was established turn to your seniors who were and ask them to share it with you. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than their day to day activities.

If your team members just clock in and clock out for their pay-check, you can never expect a spark in their minds, a skip in their step, to go the extra mile or become sales person of the month. If there is a semblance of any truth that resonates with you as truth, as it stands there is little chance you will easily motivate your teams working from home. All hope is not lost, do not start sweating all it means is that it is time to establish a vision and culture that is relevant, one that everyone can get behind. This process alone, as discussed earlier is a strong motivator in of itself. Establish a culture, what do you stand for? Why does your business exist and make sure that Sharon from accounting knows it, believes in it, adopts it and shares it with the world. You will soon see enthusiasm grow.

If you do have solid organisational vision and culture in place and you feel the whole team knows it and sharing it won’t help, setup regular get-togethers with the team. Zoom is perfect for this. Discuss the culture and work related topics by all means, but make sure you carve out time in that call or setup another regular one to just hang out. To discuss life and how they are doing. Being vulnerable, open and understanding toward your team members will allow them to do the same. Showing you care will garner you respect. Talk about why you are in your job, tell them the stories of how you got there, be open to laughing at yourself and sharing your mistakes, this is how we learn after all. Ask them why they are in theirs, discuss what you all want to get out of life. If you as an organisation are not helping your team members move forward in their lives, they will get bored, they will lose their motivation and will punch in and punch out for that same paycheck. Make your team members the heroes, give them responsibility and push them. Share a challenge to be taken on perhaps interact to give the first step but then step back and give them 51% of the vote. Trust that they, working together with their collective intelligence will do what it takes to meet the organisational goals and perhaps exceed them.

You can create fun and relatable ways to bring the vision and culture across

You can create fun and relatable ways to bring the vision and culture across too. Have a ‘Zoom Pub Quiz’ with questions about the company – throw in some funny ones too about team members, be nice! Make it fun, make people want to be a part of what it is they need to do. As with anything in life if we feel we ‘must’ do something we quickly lose interest. If we ‘chose’ to do it our enthusiasm, attention to detail and productivity are greatly increased. Make if enjoyable, show people how they are essential, share the vision, share the difference they make. Get their buy in and you will have their motivation.

These are some brief insights, tips and tricks that you can try, The reality is that there are a multitude of potential specific issues that you may have that differ from one leader to the next, however often it is similar life or business coaching principals that can help get us past the problems and reach the desired goal. It often takes an objective perspective to investigate and guide ways forward. This is my intent with this piece. I am very passionate about the subject of organisational culture and development. If you are struggling I do encourage you to set up a coffee break chat with me on the Motivate-Coaching website and we can work through how best to support you and your teams through this difficult time.

Don’t be afraid to share who you are. I cannot stress enough the power of vulnerability and trust when put in the hands of those who desperately want it, but may not have the voice, ability, experience will thrive. Identify the genius in each individual by focusing on their strengths, ask yourself ‘what is this person innately good at? Give them more of that to do, and they will flourish. You will find that the collective intelligence becomes more visible as a resource ready to support your organisations greatest objectives.

If you feel that you and/or your teams could do with some motivation and ‘getting back on track’ reach out to me through the website and let’s setup a coffee break session to talk it through and get both you and your teams motivated.

Suggested reading material:

Previews of each of these books is available on the resources page of the Motivate-Coaching website.

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