How to motivate your teams remotely

The government-imposed isolation is having myriad effects on the UK workforce. Some companies are choosing to furlough their staff, while others are adapting to working from home.

Paula Bates, Managing Director of Toucan Telemarketing, knows all about handling remote employees. She runs a Congleton-based telemarketing company whose aim is to be a ‘remote arm’ of its clients – training sales teams to secure crucial meetings.

With this in mind, the whole Toucan team is used to engaging with people remotely. One of the key challenges this poses is maintaining morale. Paula believes that communication, structure and empathy are the best places to start.

“My advice would be to talk, talk, talk to people!” says Paula. “It’s a huge concern for business owners, especially if they have team members with records of ill mental health. Isolation takes its toll on us all, so it’s up to us to keep in contact with our now remote teams to keep up team motivation.”

Start your day right

Paula suggests that maintaining a structure is the best way to keep people motivated. While the home will never be an exact replica of the office, technology allows us to carry on our meetings as usual.

“Your staff still need to feel like they’re part of something, in a work environment – not sitting at home in their pyjamas. I would start every day with a video call, using a tool like Zoom or Google Hangouts. That way everyone is up, dressed, and ready to accomplish their goals for that day.”

These meetings can also be one-on-one catch-ups – whatever would best mimic the office environment. They give teams a day to day schedule to follow and can help them remain organised over this period of remote working.

Get settled on tech

The whole nation is letting out a collective groan with communications tools right now. Paula suggests agreeing on a method of communication with your teams, and sticking to it. This may include some remote training, for example links to how to download Zoom/set up webcams, but it will save hours in the long run.

“The last thing we want to do is lose the message in a jumble of communication streams. Don’t mix email, phone calls and video conferencing. Decide one method amongst yourselves and stick to it. You can even record video calls so there’s always a record of what was agreed and when.”

Encourage learning

With some teams cutting working hours or dealing with client losses, your staff may find they have more time on their hands. “One of the best ways to keep employees engaged is to encourage personal development. Where possible, we should use this time to build up our skills for long-term resilience.

“There are tons of resources out there – particularly people looking to promote themselves with free webinars. By learning new skills, we can emerge from this stronger,” she adds.

Respect their privacy

Paula concludes with a key pointer about work life balance. “Just because we can connect 24/7 now, does not mean managers should use this as an excuse to pester their staff at all hours. Respect your employees’ need for downtime, and they’ll come back refreshed in the morning.”

For more tips on how to engage your staff remote, contact Toucan Telemarketing.