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Employee motivation when working from home: The top five tips

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Many employees are currently working from home. Having your workplace in your own four walls has both pros and cons. One major topic – employee motivation.

How do you as an employer increase the motivation of your team when they are working outside of the office and the company? A checklist with five tips from AXA’s HR experts: How to motivate your employees even at home to work efficiently and perform at their best.

Tip 1: Motivate employees individually

Even when working from home, the most important rule in motivating employees is to motivate them individually! Motivational support tailored to the various personalities of your employees will lead to the highest level of productivity and best results, even outside of the office and the company. The greatest drivers for motivation when working from home are as follows:

  • Emotional support from the manager
  • Rules and routines for communication
  • Direct point of contact for technical issues
  • Clear responsibilities and work instructions

Managers who are attentive to personal priorities, phases in life, interests, and personality types show genuine interest and understanding. Especially in challenging times such as these, this tangible closeness can be a key driver in motivating employees. For this reason, the following ideas on how to increase motivation are coupled with incentives for various types of employees.

Tip 2: For future-oriented employees – goals and rewards

You as a leader must define new goals for working from home with your future-oriented employees:

  • Work together to find new ways and opportunities to achieve the latest plans
  • Define clear guidelines and involve your employees
  • Show appreciation by praising achievements

Discipline and focus play an important role in spurring on goal-oriented employees. Thanks to clearly communicated deadlines and performance targets, your team members will also stay focused when working from home or remotely. Close exchanges with line managers reduce loneliness, nervousness, uncertainty, and boredom among employees in the workplace.

If the current objectives are too ambitious, they can be broken down into smaller, achievable milestones. Establish a review: Celebrate events resulting from well performed tasks together with your team colleagues. Use these successes as a basis for motivation for current projects and work. Reward the successes, new ideas, and effective achievements of your employees. Whether with praise, certificates, or small gifts, for example – genuine recognition does wonders and motivates people.

With fringe benefits, AXA offers your employees additional motivational incentives. Thanks to benefits platforms like Swibeco, SMEs also have the opportunity to additionally galvanize their employees with attractive fringe benefits.

Tip 3: For sensitive employees – empathy and communication

Loneliness and isolation are a challenge for many employees. Show empathy and create moments that give a sense of team spirit during work. This way you can create closeness even during virtual office life:

  • Listen to your employees in your role as manager
  • Strengthen cohesion within the team
  • Share good news with your employees

In times of working from home and online meetings, virtual presence creates closeness and trust. Whether for a one-to-one exchange or a team meeting – actively approach your employees and give them a safe place to open up emotionally. Give your employees time to process change. Show understanding and empathy, combined with words of encouragement. Sharing personal stories strengthens team spirit and sends an important signal: We are all in the same boat.

In addition, you can also improve the wellbeing of your employees with an external partner. AXA offers comprehensive solutions for promoting the health of employees. Among other things, these reduce psycho-social risks such as stress and improve productivity and rates of absences at the company. Your employees will feel secure in their jobs and produce better work.

Tip 4: For extroverted employees – activities and creative tasks

Extroverted people really suffer under the isolation of working from home. Employees who like to inspire their colleagues or develop new ideas can be supported by the following ideas:

  • Promote “private” talents
  • Establish creative brainstorming sessions and joint activities

What athletic or creative talents are lying dormant in your employees? Whether a yoga instructor or expert in hand lettering – let your employees take the lead and create remote team activities. Such virtual exchanges that don’t have anything to do with work have a positive effect on team spirit and create a shared break from daily home office life.

Digital creative brainstorming sessions are an easy and quick way to work together to generate exciting new ideas. What do you think, for example, about a project or a good cause? Small inhouse competitions such as tallying up walking kilometers get your employees moving. With a fundraising campaign, an amount can be donated to a charitable project or organization for every kilometer.

Tip 5: For structured employees – order and processes

Providing a sense or order in a chaotic situation makes your team members happy? If so, there is a lot that can be done:

  • Create time for your employees to archive, sort, and organize central data
  • Give them the task of creating, reviewing, and documenting processes 

This way you ensure more structure within the team and the company and improve interdisciplinary cooperation and communication. In long-established companies, in particular, there is usually plenty to tidy up. From sorting through the media archive to weeding out inactive email addresses. Let your structured colleagues take care of these jobs. The organization of old documents, both physical and digital, creates order and an overview. 

Here, too, team spirit will benefit. Not all like to structure and organize. Encourage your structure enthusiasts and organizational experts to bring order to the (digital) chaos. Supporting your team colleagues in these endeavors will spur on the feeling of togetherness and the newly gained overview will boost motivation. Ideally, the insight into the old documents will also provide your employees inspiration to make use of new content, tools, and opportunities.

Conclusion: Employee motivation – individual and positive

Keeping your employees motivated isn’t always easy. Your employees having to work in their own four walls represents an additional challenge in this regard. As long as you as the manager, in your leadership role, stay authentic, this will reach your colleagues even from afar. And if you also follow the basic rule of motivation – motivate individually – you will already be doing the most important thing right. When promoting motivation, focus on the positive:

  • Work with your team to create virtual or physical mood or future boards
  • Ensure that the employees take breaks and clock off on time (even if they have flexible work hours)
  • Your employees should concentrate on the tasks for which they feel successful, appreciated, and challenged
  • Focus time and energy on tasks that have real potential (and not on matters that you cannot change)
  • Communicate in the most transparent and proactive way possible

Discuss with your employees your short-, medium-, and long-term plans. Thanks to this transparency, your employees will feel appreciated and sense that they are taken seriously. Worries and troubles can be aired and discussed. You can work together to find solutions. All work toward the same goals – with motivation, focus, and dedication.

Your motivation: Becoming the favorite boss

Have we motivated you to become the new favorite boss? AXA supports you in this by taking the best possible care of your most important asset: Your employees. Attractive care solutions and free additional services simplify your everyday life, motivate your entire team, and make your business more successful.

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