Insightful takes on scaling your business

Here’s how to keep you and your team motivated — even remotely

motivation-remote-work-gq
Yessi Bello Perez
Story by
Yessi Bello Perez

Senior Writer, Growth QuartersYessi leads the writing efforts at TNW’s Growth Quarters. Yessi leads the writing efforts at TNW’s Growth Quarters.

yessibelloperez

Are you feeling demotivated at work or worried that your employees aren’t feeling as motivated as they should? Do you even know what signs to look out for or how to boost motivation across your workforce?

We spoke to Emma V Jackson, a consultant and coach for the tech and creative industries, to find out what causes demotivation at work, what managers can look out for, and how best to address this.

So, read on to find out how you can motivate yourself and your team, depending on whether you’re a manager or an employee.

[Read: Here’s how to make your virtual meetings more efficient]

If you’re a manager

As a manager you have a responsibility to motivate not only yourself, but your employees as well — and there are identifiable signs that suggest when your action is necessary.

Aside from discrimination, bullying, or feeling alienated due to a lack of diversity, or some other serious breach of trust, Jackson says she’s observed two leading causes of demotivation.

One big factor is purpose, or lack thereof. Often, Jackson says the problem can be twofold:

“They might not be connected to the company’s or department’s purpose. Humans adore purpose; it’s crucial to a satisfying or happy life. Connect an individual’s sense of purpose to a company or product purpose (you might call it mission), and you’ve got an unstoppable force.”

Not having clear, achievable goals is another cause of demotivation.

“There is a sweet spot in everyone’s spectrum of comfort, between being very comfortable and mad panic that is called the stretch zone. This is the highly engaging and ideal learning and performance zone that won’t result in burn out,” Jackson explains.

So if you’re a founder or in a managerial position, it’s your responsibility to create this dynamic. To do so, the company as a whole will need to identify its purpose and communicate it as an engaging mission to staff, while also tailoring metrics and goals around this for employees.

Jackson says it’s always a good idea to retrospectively ask people what’s worked to date and why and this is even more important during the coronavirus pandemic.

If your team has nothing good to say, then you really do need to start worrying — Jackson says there should always be something to commend, even when times are tough.

Another symptom to look out for is seeing whether team rules — both spoken and unspoken — around meetings, breaks, courtesy, reporting, etc. erode. It’s important to address these issues because they can have a huge knock on effect on respect, team interests, and overall performance.

If you want to motivate your staff, Jackson urges you to:

  • Be authentic: show a bit of yourself and connect as human beings.
  • Demonstrate that you care deeply about your team‘s wellbeing: what makes them tick, prioritize physical and mental health, are they psychologically safe at work. Ask yourself what their personal pressures are.
  • Use data and logic to govern your team: remove bias, favoritisms, and create equal opportunity for everyone to shine.

If you’re an employee

Demotivation sucks and it can literally turn into a downward spiral of self inflicted pain: you aren’t motivated, your productivity falls, and you’re left feeling even more demotivated as a result.

So, what exactly can you do? Well, motivating oneself isn’t easy but it’s by no means impossible.

First, you need to convince yourself that you actually want to do a specific task or job. This can take some time, so just be patient, and if you’re really struggling figure out a way to reward yourself once you’ve completed the task.

Then you need to take control of your responsibilities and actions. Create a to-do list and work your way through it. Aim to get everything done by the end of the day — letting stuff spill over from one day to the next can make you feel even more demotivated.

If you can surround yourself with other hard working people. If you’re working from home and can’t do this, listen to a playlist that helps you focus or tune into this nifty office noise generator which will simulate the office‘s hustle and bustle to spur you on.

If you’re demotivated because you’re overwhelmed then break up your tasks into smaller ones and remember why you are doing what you’re doing. Purpose and objectives will help you stay motivated.

Tell your manager if you’re struggling to stay motivated. Your demovitation is often due to an underlying reason and speaking to someone else can help get to the bottom of this.

Stay positive but acknowledge that you can’t give 150% every single day.

Remember:

  • Convince yourself that the task or tasks are worth doing
  • Take control of your own actions and motivation
  • Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with work
  • Speak out if you need help seeing things in perspective
  • Be OK with having less productive days

How do you keep your team motivated? Share your experience with Growth Quarters community.

Published June 15, 2020 — 06:30 UTC

Pssst, hey you!

Do you want to get the sassiest daily tech newsletter every day, in your inbox, for FREE? Of course you do: sign up for Big Spam here.