Staying Motivated When Working From Home

Staying Motivated When Working From Home

The jury remains out if team members are more productive working from home. We have learned during the pandemic that working from home creates new challenges that can significantly inhibit productivity. Staying at home with limited access to entertainment, dining and other venues that provide variety is exhausting. Recognize that your fellow team members may be experiencing significantly more emotional and cognitive fatigue than normal, write Rebecca Zucker in a recent HBR blog.

Emotional and cognitive fatigue may adversely affect team members who are staying at home with children and have had the added responsibility of homeschooling and worrying about whether their children will return to school in the fall. Safety concerns are top of mind for most people, adding to stress levels.

Zucker claims another phenomenon contributing to people’s fatigue is the use of energy and mental resources needed to empathize with others who may be more adversely affected by COVID-19 than they are. You may know a team member who has a family member, friend or neighbor who tested positive or perhaps a loved one has died from the disease. Mental exhaustion contributes to physical fatigue, which saps productivity.

Zucker encourages managers to recalibrate their expectations of team members by:

  • Re-prioritizing projects and deadlines – determine what's most important and identify projects that can be placed on the back burner.
  • Re-assess the metric for success. Perfection is an admirable goal, but may not be realistic.
  • Re-balance workloads by understanding each team member’s personal situation.
  • Re-assess the level of responsiveness you expect from your team.
  • Recognize that team members will have different reactions to stress levels than you might have.
  • Don’t assume that your team will tell you that they believe they are overwhelmed or need help. Tell your team it’s okay to ask for assistance.

Zucker claims that this pandemic is like running a marathon. The environment requires managers to adjust their expectations of their team. Doing so will generate long-term benefits.

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