Remote Team Morale

Woman in front of laptop

The importance of team morale for remote teams.

A demoralized team affects not only your business but also the mental and physical health of your team members. Team morale affects many aspects of the work environment, including:

  • Employee satisfaction. Unhappy employees become less likely to share ideas or come up with creative solutions because they don’t get a sense of satisfaction from their work.

  • Retention. Disgruntled employees start looking elsewhere for work as soon as they can. If your workplace becomes a revolving door, you lose additional time and money in recruiting and training new people. 

  • Productivity. Lack of morale leads to a lack of motivation. When employees don’t feel inspired, productivity falters.

  • Health. Poor morale can lead to mental health issues as well as physical health problems among employees.

To create a productive and positive workplace, managers need to foster positive team morale. And in a remote work environment, where workers may feel even less connected to each other, keeping an eye on morale becomes especially important. 

Never underestimate the power of recognition.

Being recognized for contributions, particularly any that go above and beyond, can make a big difference when it comes to morale. People want to know that what they do matters and has value. A sense of purpose is a great motivator.

In a remote work environment, it’s easy for employees to feel like they work alone and send their work products into a void. To help address this problem, make it company policy always to acknowledge receipt of items and thank people for their contributions. 

In addition, you should recognize the employees who do great work anytime you can. You should make this type of recognition public whenever possible, since this both honors the recognized employee and motivates others to do excellent work as well. 

The more people feel like their contributions are seen and valued, the more they strive to invest in their work. 

Personal connections.

When employees feel disconnected from their coworkers, that lack of engagement can lead to low morale. Consider setting up regular meetings or coffee chats to check in with team members and see how they are doing. 

These check-ins should not feel the same as a regular business meeting with an agenda. Instead, employees should view these gatherings as a space to relax and share their personal lives. They can discuss their children or the latest episode of their favorite TV show, or perhaps share frustrations they’re experiencing at work. 

Providing this kind of forum gives people the space to connect and also allows you to get a sense of your team’s emotional state. This knowledge can then inform your future decisions about how to improve morale. 

Collaborative virtual spaces.

Reliable and functional collaborative virtual spaces keep remote work running smoothly. When employees focus on the project itself instead of getting frustrated with a slow platform or hampered communication, productivity improves—and so does morale. 

Most remote teams have experienced frustration with technology that isn’t working properly or intuitively. Often, teams want to access a function that is really helpful, except that their current platform doesn’t offer it. Make sure that you’re using a highly versatile and functional work management solution so employees can seamlessly connect to other applications and access all of their tools in one place.

The ability to effectively collaborate in a virtual space can give employees the sense that they aren’t as separated by time and space. When they can work with each other as freely as if they were in the same room, both productivity and morale will see a boost.

Encourage breaks and work-life balance.

When employees work from home, it may seem they are always at the office. Some remote workers fall into a pattern of doing work all day long, which can soon become overwhelming. The last thing you want is for them to feel like work has bled into every part of their daily routine, and they’re never able to escape it.

Encourage remote workers to set aside time when they do not check emails or answer work-related calls and tell them to avoid work altogether during the weekend unless absolutely necessary. When work no longer creeps into every aspect of employees’ daily existence, their moods improve, and they feel more rested and relaxed. They can then hit the ground running during their designated work time with increased focus and clarity.

Virtual water cooler.

A virtual water cooler provides a place for employees to connect as people. Companies often set up virtual water coolers in the form of discussion threads or similar communication tools that allow for asynchronous communication.

In these forums, employees can talk about their lives, current events, or discuss their families, just as they would around the water cooler in a non-virtual office environment. Just because employees can no longer run into each other in the break room doesn’t mean they can’t bond in meaningful ways in a virtual setting. 

Growth and development opportunities.

One way to increase team morale for remote teams is to create an online environment with opportunities for growth and learning. Employees don’t want to feel like their career is in a holding pattern. Such stagnancy can quickly foster a sense that nothing they do counts because it never gets them further up the ladder.

Providing opportunities for advancement—including online courses, seminars, and training events—allows employees to broaden their skills by working on different parts of a project and creates more capable and happier employees.

Support local causes.

Companies can also improve morale when they express care for their employees and their community. Remote workers may not reside in the same city or state as the business they work for, but they still want to feel connected to their local world. 

Donating to causes in your employees’ hometowns can help workers feel more connected to the company. You can also create opportunities for employees to volunteer or participate in community service activities on a local level, which also boosts morale. 

Challenges at home.

Even before the global pandemic, remote workers faced challenges at home. Some people chose to work remotely because other responsibilities in their lives necessitated a flexible work environment. Other employees opted for remote work due to health issues or other limitations. 

Those who are now working from home while homeschooling children or caring for aging parents may feel particularly stressed as they shift to a new work reality.

Being aware of and responsive to your employees’ needs outside of the workplace goes a long way toward boosting morale. Consider offering company perks that not only help people but also show that you are aware of their challenges. You could offer a subscription to online tutoring for children or even send a simple newsletter addressing the current circumstances and how you’re working to make their lives easier. 

Building team morale in a remote work environment is a challenging but worthy goal. endeavor When employees feel connected, heard, and understood, as well as valued and respected, they are more likely to be happier, healthier, and more motivated. 

The virtual spaces that connect remote workers are critical to morale and success. A work management platform that allows for seamless collaboration  without frustration enables people to focus on their work—and each other. 

See Workfront in action

In this interactive tour, you will get hands-on experience using Workfront. You will learn how Workfront enables the enterprise to:

  • Connect strategy to delivery
  • Iteratively plan and prioritize work
  • Collaborate across teams and divisions to get work done
  • Streamline and optimize processes
  • Measure and report on progress
  • Deliver against your strategy