Need to learn how to motivate your team as they continue working from home? While some employees have thrived during shelter-in-place, others need a little more encouragement as the weeks and months go on. There are advantages and disadvantages of remote work, but as it becomes the new normal for many organizations, it's important to ensure that remote employees are as happy and productive as possible. Help boost motivation in project management with the following tips and tricks. Learn how to tackle project motivation head-on as well as the reasons behind why motivation and productivity are linked. 

How to motivate your team when working remotely

The best way to motivate your team when working remotely is to adopt the best tools, foster the right culture, and provide professional and emotional support as needed. Use one or more of the following motivation tips to help your team regain motivation at work.

As you try things out, keep a record of what your team does or does not respond to over time. Because every team is unique, you will have to adapt and find tactics your work from home employees genuinely like. 

1. Use apps to your team’s advantage 

Productivity and work management apps can help employees feel more motivated by freeing up their time and energy with improved workflows and streamlined processes.

For example, Wrike’s task dependency feature can automatically notify the rest of the team when a remote employee finishes a particular step, which eliminates unnecessary emails back and forth. 

Wrike can also be used to visualize goal progress, showing the direct connection between your work from home team’s efforts and the success of the entire project.  

2. Find ways to support team members experiencing burnout 

74% of employees who experience burnout don’t tell their managers that they’re having difficulties. This is often because they feel disconnected from traditional workplace culture and experience a lack of support from leadership. Help remote employees regain motivation at work by holding virtual office hours where they can address these issues without fear of judgment or negative consequences. 

Or, keep a dedicated email or instant message thread for employees working from home. Invite them to ask questions, make suggestions, and have honest conversations about those days when it’s just plain hard to stay focused for whatever reason. 

3. Get creative with a study or focus playlist

Music can be a huge mood booster, but can it also help you stay focused? In 2007, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine “showed that music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions, and updating the event in memory.”

Recommend Spotify stations for focused studying or make a custom, upbeat playlist for work from home employees. Not only will it help boost the listener’s mood, but it will also drown out common work from home distractions such as noisy neighbors or loud toys. Classical, ambient, and nature sounds are proven to be among the best music to listen to while you work

4. Provide relief 

There is a lot on your employees’ minds right now — economically, socially, and maybe even medically. Although there is still a lot to feel hopeful about, it’s unrealistic to expect your work from home staff to prioritize job-related tasks over their own wellbeing. 

And the good news is that they don’t have to! Send an email, host a meeting, or share a video explaining what expectations you do and do not have for your staffers at this time. Making this information available will keep employees from feeling undue stress and imaginary pressure to be perfect or perform at their best right now. 

Encourage work from home employees to use their vacation or mental health days during this time. And, if you can afford it, offer to add a few more days of paid time off to their benefits package. Or announce decreased office hours for work from home employees over especially challenging periods. 

What to do when there is a lack of motivation at work

When there is a lack of motivation at work, managers need to creatively problem solve and find customized solutions for the individual and the team as a whole. 

  • Assess the issue. Record direct employee feedback about the lack of motivation. If there isn’t any, consider the reasons why. Do work from home employees feel safe expressing themselves? Do they believe they will have support if they do? Check in on your teams' mood with a Niko-Niko calendar Agile teams can utilize from home. Use data from this, project reports and weekly task documentation to see if productivity levels are in line with expectations. 
  • Create a plan. Outline a one- to three-month strategy and remember to be flexible because this will change over time. Use short term tactics for daily progress and quick fixes but remember to keep the ball moving on long term motivation solutions too. 
  • Get feedback. Let work from home employees in on what you’re doing. Make sure this is a collaborative effort by sending out polls, creating a free anonymous suggestion box, or hosting individual meetings. Apply employee feedback to your plan and continue to monitor progress. 
  • Experiment and revise. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try new ideas out as you go. The individual makeup of your team should ultimately determine what motivation tactics stay or go. 

How motivation and productivity are linked

Motivation and productivity are linked by the human need to see a purpose in one’s work. There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Together they cover the entire range of reasons why an individual feels compelled to complete a given task. When a work from home employee has a strong reason for why an assignment is important to their manager as well as why it’s important for them as an individual, they have a much higher chance of actually completing their work. Their motivation will also fuel the quality of their work. 

Help employees learn how to be more productive working from home

We’ve covered some of the top productivity tools, workplace culture tricks, and mental health practices you can use to boost motivation in project management. Now that you know the what, how, and why of project motivation, it’s time to get started. Use Wrike’s free trial to save your work from home employees some time and inspire them to keep going no matter what’s thrown at them.