When organizations in every industry put together their 2020 plans, none of them could have predicted the current state of the world. For many of us, our routines, schedules, and plans have all flipped upside down, leaving us in an entirely different working environment. With so much change happening at once, teams around the globe are currently operating in ways that before never seemed possible. 

In this new normal of virtual meetings, workshops, and presentations, staying motivated and focused can be a challenge. With everything from Zoom fatigue to taking on additional tasks like childcare and virtual learning, every day brings a change of events, tasks, and priorities. With all of this going on, it’s no surprise that 60% of employees feel less connected to their teams while working remotely.

So, what can you do to help yourself and your team stay motivated and connected when things seem so disjointed and out-of-sync? Here are a few tips to keep the momentum and camaraderie going within your company.

For yourself: Assess your current state and manage expectations

Before you can encourage others to stay motivated, you need to assess how you are feeling. Step one is taking a good look at your calendar and to-do list. This will help you see if you are being realistic about how much you can take on. And a thorough analysis of your schedule allows you to identify areas where you can reduce your own burnout. 

From there, be open and honest with your team about expectations. Make sure employees feel safe talking about their scheduling concerns with regard to things like childcare, or just general feelings of stress during this time. Lead by example by talking through how you are feeling and doing. Don’t forget to communicate how your schedule might look different these days. The best way for the team to feel comfortable being honest about their current state of mind is to see that you are doing the same for them. 

For your team: Schedule less frequent but more meaningful conversations

When work-from-home orders went into effect back in March, many teams began scheduling regular happy hours and events on Zoom to stay connected. But after a day full of work-related meetings, it’s hard to have the energy to talk about how you are doing outside of work. Rather than acting as a useful teambuilding exercise, these virtual get-togethers tended to turn into just another task. 

Instead of setting up a regularly-scheduled time to connect, ask your team about how they’d like to touch base with each other. Consider written updates or once-a-month virtual events. These different opportunities to chat can provide your team with an informal outlet to share how they are doing. Plus, they’ll have something to look forward to.

For all: Encourage PTO and time away from screens

Remote work makes it easy to get so focused on your routine at home that you forget to take time away. But studies show that breaks from work both improve your outlook and decrease burnout. With trips no longer on the horizon for many, taking time to get out of the house just go for walks and get outdoors is more essential than ever. Encourage your team members to take time when they can, and lead by example by taking time off yourself. 

With all of this in mind, remember that each team operates differently. Aligning your ideas and plans with your team’s values will help them see that you are prioritizing their happiness. This in turn will help them to stay focused and motivated and pass that feeling on to others inside the organization. After all, we’re all in this together. 

About the Author

Kim Blight is the product operations lead at Sprout Social. She’s passionate about product teams, advocating for parents in the workforce, and women in tech. When not hanging out with her son and family, she can be found writing or watching the NBA.