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How to motivate a team while working remotely – tips for Team Leaders

date: 2 April 2020
reading time: 1 min

Companies switched to a remote mode. For some of them it was easier, for some much more challenging, yet here we are. How to run a team when everyone works remotely for long time?

We asked our Team Leaders what are the good practices that help to strengthen the team spirit while working with a remote team

  • Schedule 

Home office often results in non-standard working hours. Especially when your team members take care of small children at the same time. Ask every week about their schedule and organise team calls when everyone is available.  

Make sure you all have time for the team’s weekly sessions. In case of some teams, it is a good practice to have short daily calls so that everyone knows what to do. Make sure that everyone has got time to talk during calls.  

  • Rules 

We are all working in a different environment at the moment. The rules that your team used before do not have to be adequate now when we work from homes.  

For some people, it will be useful to have special instructions prepared by TL connected to working remotely.  

  • And the aim is… 

What are we doing right now? All team members should know the aim of their work and feel that they are needed. Share the broad picture with your team and a long-term plan so that everybody knows what they are working on. Make sure that every team member knows what and why is she/he doing right now and have a good number of tasks.  

  • You are a part of the team 

The sense of being a part of the team is very important. As a Team Leader make sure that your team members feel as important parts of the group and the whole company.  

If it’s possible to make sure that every junior has got a mentor who helps her/ him now as it is much more difficult to onboard someone remotely. Ask a mentor about her/his availability and if this role is accepted.  

  • Information 

Inform your team about a situation in the company (if you are allowed to do so). What are the plans? Lack of knowledge often leads to wrong assumptions.  

  • Equipment 

Make sure everyone in your team has got needed equipment. As it seems obvious it may be omitted. Ask if they need anything like a webcam or additional monitor. Make sure that all technical issues are taken care of so your team can work as efficiently as at the office. 

  • Coffee? Why not! 

Rituals are important as they build relationships and strengthen the sense of belonging to a group.  

Think about all the rituals your team used to have. Maybe it is possible to move it online? Drinking coffee together or Friday beer after hours? Still possible! 

  • Small talk not so small 

Spend some time on small talk, anecdotes, share some funny gifs or mems on teams’ channel (if you don’t have a “fun” channel for the team, start one). This talking, even though sometimes seems to be about everything and nothing, is crucial when it comes to building relations.  

  • Calls, calls, calls 

Writing on communicators or sending e-mails are important, but sometimes it is much easier and quicker to call. What is more, there are situations when writing leads to misunderstandings as one can interpret words differently. Call your team members and use webcams. Emoji is not always enough.  

  • Just ask 

Working remotely influences one’s motivation. Ask your team members about their moods and draw conclusions regarded to individuals and the team. In terms of any conflicts in your team – respond quickly and make sure everyone can share their voice. Organise some 1:1 calls with webcams, appreciate one’s work and responsiveness. Ask your team about any ideas when it comes to improvements. 

Do not act awkwardly. You know your team members. If they may find this asking a little bit “too much” adjust it to the relationship you had while in office. 

  •  Have fun 

We’re working remotely but it doesn’t mean that all the team’s fun moments are out. Did you use to play table football together? You can still do it here: 

Some teams have special quizzes while working remotely. Team leader asks a question every day (general knowledge) and the team has got 10sek to give an answer. There are points for every good answer ranking. The one with the most points gets a prize while getting back to the office.  

Do not forget about the sense of humour. Some team members have e.g. wigs or funny sunglasses during team calls. Why not? 🙂  

  • Don’t panic 

The first rule in action films and life: do not panic! In terms of Team Leaders, it is a golden rule. Show your people that working remotely is fine. Try not to complain as working can only have a positive influence on your team and the company in a difficult time.  

  • Stay in touch 

You’re a Team Leader. Make sure that even though your team members don’t sit next to you, they feel that you are present in their everyday work. Be responsive, use the webcam and listen to your people: what is important to them right now, what they talk about.  

  • Don’t interrupt 

Everything’s fine? People know what to do, there is no change in work’s efficiency and team spirit is on? Perfect! Stay as the captain, but do not interrupt too much. The ship is sailing in a good direction.  

We all know that motivation is extremely important when it comes to working efficiency. It is much easier to look after your team while sitting together in the office, but it doesn’t mean that it is impossible now. We hope you will find our article helpful!   

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