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Keeping the motivation of your remote development team motivated is a challenge enough, let alone having to do that with the current reality of COVID-19. Here are a few ways to keep the team's spirit high:
Meaningful and challenging work
First and foremost, have meaningful and challenging work. Talk to each of the team members to understand what drives/motivates/excites them. Having this understanding helps make better decisions on assignments and projects. And while it not always possible to get 100% alignment between what team members would like to work on and what they are currently working on, being transparent about the decision making will establish trust with them.
Take the opportunity to provide input/feedback. Having a platform or avenue for team members to voice their feedback is a great way to embrace the "one team" spirit. These sessions can be extremely insightful in understanding the challenges faced by team members and collaborating on possible solution as a team. In the agile world, these sessions are referred to as "retrospectives."
Reward and Recognition
Defining goals as a team not only helps strengthened the "one team" spirit but also allows the team to celebrate when these milestones are achieved. This is an opportunity to recognize the team and even individual team members who went above and beyond. One crucial aspect of recognition is to know what the team values, both intrinsically and extrinsically.
Allowing team members to set aside some of their time to work on a project/technology that they are passionate about is essential to keeping them engaged. Having this autonomy, comes with defining the scope of their project, establishing timelines, and demoing to the team — all great skills for their personal and career growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic has turn everyone's lives upside down, so it is important now more than ever to give team members the flexibility they need to get their work done. As long as there is clear communication of expectations and deadlines, team members should be given the flexibility to work their activities based on their schedule and working styles. This allows team members to be in control of their work, keeping them engaged and motivated.
It is important to remember that team members come from a variety of backgrounds, so an approach that might motivate one team member, may not work for the other. It is key to keep the lines of communication open with your team members to gain an appreciation for what they value. When working with remote development team, keep in mind:
■ It is better to over-communicate
■ Be transparent
■ Provide a non-confrontational space to collaborate
■ Allow for autonomy and flexibility