When companies went remote overnight, most thought it would last a month or two, but it has become clear by now that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed not only how we live our everyday lives but how we do our jobs.
While remote working has its benefits, employees struggle with personal issues like loneliness while experiencing problems when collaborating, communicating online. Such new challenges can decrease both the motivation and the effectiveness of teams.
In fact, emotional and economic pressure – two of the three indirect motives decreasing employee performance – have increased substantially amid health concerns, work stress, and financial problems with the fact that they are exhausted by the extended pandemic workday.
As a founder or team leader, you have more influence than you may realize over your team’s wellbeing, motivation, and performance.
But how can you motivate yourself and your team amid these uncertain times?
Research by Harvard Professor and Author Teresa Amabile has shown that tracking these small and incremental successes can have a surprising impact on a team's motivation.
This is also related to how our brains work. Every achievement — big or small — triggers our brain’s reward system and releases hormones that help us feel more energized, confident, and motivated.
Teresa Amabile from The Harvard Business School studies how everyday life inside organizations can influence people, their motivation, and their performance.
When Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer analyzed nearly 12,000 diary entries from 238 white and blue-collar employees in seven companies they found something very interesting:
Research has surprising results for 95% of the managers because they ranked “recognition for good work” as the most important factor in motivating the team, but “making progress” had the most prominent positive effect on the team’s motivation.
They published an article for Harvard Business Review called "The Power of Small Wins," on “progress principle”.
According to Amabile and Kramer, “if you are a manager, the progress principle holds clear implications for where to focus your efforts. It suggests that you have more influence than you may realize over employees’ well-being, motivation, and creative output.” According to them, knowing what “serves to catalyze and nourish progress—and what does the opposite—turns out to be the key to effectively managing people and their work.”
According to another HBR Article; “Rituals in the workplace can reinforce the behaviors we want, create focus and a sense of belonging, and make change stick.” Not only that, but teams become more motivated, resulting in improved ability to respond together to the challenges.
In their book, Rituals for Work, authors Kursat Ozenc and Margaret Hagan offer 50 rituals and states that “enhance performance by motivating and bonding people.”
Teresa Amabile also advocates keeping a daily diary of progress because it helps to reflect on the day and keep track of all those small wins that normally go unnoticed.
She writes, “keeping regular work diaries, which took no more than ten minutes a day, gave many of our research participants a new perspective on themselves as professionals and what they needed to improve.” –
Professor Teresa Amabile, Harvard Business Review
It's easy to be reactive, just responding requests, emails, messages. While this can be difficult to escape, a work journal – such as the Clear Habit Journal or the Self Journal – forces you to be more present on a daily basis.
The benefits of keeping a daily work journal is to identify the signals out of the noise. It helps to:
🧠 Organize your thoughts
Starting the day by setting clear intentions will boost your productivity,
📌 Capture anything
From small wins and learnings to the things that concern you in your workplace,
👀 Practice daily self-assessment
You can use emojis to keep track of your mood.
Slack breaks the record on concurrent users as demand surges for remote working. Some people praise it for enabling their work’s success, while on the other, people point it as a source of distraction and ruining their productivity. However Slack is a perfect platform to develop rituals.
For example, with Mitual’s new Slack app, you can implement rituals such as daily/weekly check-ins, feedback, to your team’s day to day workflow without leaving the slack. Mitual’s check-in module is always free to use with your team. Bring your team together on a channel where they can openly reflect, share thoughts, and appreciation.
You and your team get small wins almost every day, repurpose your team’s time spent on slack by building rituals that capture signals out of the noise and leverage them to create momentum towards your team's goal.