How to sustain staff motivation whilst working from home

Tim Scott: Director of People at Patient Claim Line, shares his top tips for keeping staff engaged and motivated while working from home:

It’s important that when things change suddenly, especially with little time to prepare, that staff are engaged and supported to maintain productivity.  Here’s the tips I offer to my line managers:

Promote natural and regular communication

“Wherever possible, I always prefer to communicate with team members personally, honestly and transparently. The key point for me is to enable and encourage as much normality as possible. 

Routines are still important: just because you’re no longer commuting to the office, this doesn’t mean you have to throw away everything that usually works for you and your team. 

I always do something to start a conversation first thing, as if we are all together in the office as usual. I recommend making sure everyone has access to the same comms platform, too. Whether that’s Microsoft Teams or another similar tool, by providing much-needed transparency you’re bridging the distance between your colleagues and their tasks.” 

Utilise digital tools to keep staff in the loop 

“We’ve found Microsoft Teams really useful. In the likely event your team members are working in different places, logging into Teams means you can access your work, share updates and keep everyone up to date with what’s going on. Also, if you need to discuss something face-to-face, you can quickly and easily video call with team members for live updates. 

If you need to communicate with multiple teams across your organisation, Zoom video conferencing is another ideal solution. Using Zoom enables you to send direct messages instantly and effectively. You’ve probably seen Downing Street use this to communicate with reporters during their daily briefings. The video quality is really good, as well. 

Don’t forget email. As long as you can access your work email, you have a direct line into normality. Create to-do tasks, flag emails by their importance and create structure in your email’s daily calendar.

If you’re daunted by the new-found reality of working from home, these are all useful and accessible tools you can get started with.” 

Keep morale high with motivational content 

“All of our team members are now working from home – including many who have never done so before – so it is very important that they feel engaged and motivated. We want everyone still to feel part of the Fletchers family. 

We have started using Microsoft Teams across the organisation so team members can chat to each other individually but also have team chats on there and we encourage team leaders to frequently engage with their teams through this platform. 

We use Workplace by Facebook for more social interaction and team members are encouraged to share their news and any tips – we’ve seen all sorts from photos of team members putting rainbows in their window, to pets guarding the laptops! 

Where Workplace has been really useful though is for our CEO, Ed Fletcher, to communicate with the team. He has been doing regular videos from his home office telling our team how proud he is of us and encouraging people to keep talking and doing a great job under the unusual circumstances we face.” 

Encourage staff to prioritise their mental health 

“We are using Workplace to remind people of the support which is available and to send out mental health tips. We have a team of Mental Health Champions who are available to chat to team members and can offer advice or signpost people in the right direction for further support. 

We are encouraging people to stick to a daily routine as much as possible – getting dressed and maybe doing some exercise in the house before settling down to work. We encourage them to work in a separate space to their living space if at all possible so they can ‘leave’ the space when the working day is done. We are also encouraging them to keep any holiday they have booked because although they won’t be able to go anywhere, it is really important to have down time. 

All team members have access to our Employee Assistance Programme so they can call up, anonymously if they wish, and discuss any issues that are affecting their health and well being. 

We believe it’s essential to keep lines of communication open, particularly with people who are not used to working from home or may be feeling a bit more isolated than others – talking, whether online or over the phone, is really important for staying connected.”