Keeping your remote team motivated

Keeping your team motivated while they work remotely is a widespread concern of many companies. We have all heard about the benefits of remote work for employees and employers. Better work-life balance, less time spent in traffic, more flexibility and less money spent on overhead fees are some of the important advantages. However, with all its benefits, there are some drawbacks to remote work as well. With no direct face-to-face communication, it may be much more difficult to build a strong bond with your team members.

If you’re wondering how you can successfully keep your remote team motivated, here are a few great ideas to try out.

Make work engaging

The most powerful way to do this is to give people the opportunity to experiment and solve problems that really matter. Make sure that every single person on your team feels like they have a challenge that they can help solve. First, you need to show to your employees that you care about their motivation. Have a discussion about what drives their motivation up or down, and what helps maximize it. Second, make sure that your weekly routines include a blend of planned work and adaptive performance where experimentation plays an important role.

Maintain effective communication

Ineffective communication is one of the main reasons why employees get frustrated with their work. While email is effective for most business functions, it has some downsides when comes to internal communication in a remote work environment. To be more efficient, you should pick a functional platform that makes it possible to communicate and share information in real time and do everything from a single app.

Set clear goals and communicate them

Managers must make it a priority to establish clear goals with remote employees and track them. Instead of expecting employees to spend certain number of hours per day, set goals that they have to achieve for a certain work period. You will not have to keep looking over their shoulder to see if they are really working. All you need to know is whether they have achieved their goals.

Reward and recognize employee efforts

Positive reinforcement can be a great way to motivate your employees. This will show employees that their hard work is paying off and they’re not working on something that will go unrecognized. There are plenty of ways in which you can reward deserving employees; bonuses, raises and promotions to name a few.

Maintain and cultivate culture

Make time for water cooler moments. Continue with team-building activities like happy hours, team lunch, coffee breaks, and team games. Except that now you will need to do them via video call. This will drive enthusiasm across the company while you are all working remotely. The bottom line is that your remote team needs to have ways to bond about things unrelated to work. 

To motivate your remote team it is vital that you keep these strategies at the forefront of your business plan. Keep in mind that you can not force employee motivation and it does not happen overnight. However, if you continually utilize these engagement strategies you will likely drive remote employee motivation during these turbulent times.


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Keeping workplace safe during pandemics

Keeping workplace safe during pandemics can be very challenging. Businesses operating during these unprecedented times should take measures to ensure utmost safety for all involved. A thorough infection control program in place that includes policies and protocols for prevention and containment communicated in a clear and timely manner should help mitigate risks for employers while reducing many employee concerns.

Consider the following steps to help maintain a safe workplace:

  • Arrange an orientation/education for your employees to raise awareness about a pandemic emergency. Post tips in your workplace on how to stop the spread of virus. Encourage good hygiene habits such as washing hands regularly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Create a policy not to leave personal items like phones on shared surfaces.
  • Consider installing automatic soap dispensers to prevent transferring germs to the pump. Station adequate supply of alcohol-based hand sanitizers throughout your facility. Have a designated employee sanitize all common areas and workstations regularly.
  • Provide remote work option where possible, for those whose performance will not be affected by not being physically present in the office. Encourage employees to stay home and not work when they are sick and advise them of the COVID-19 symptoms for which to monitor such as fever and cough. Identify whom they should contact if they need to be absent for a COVID-19 related reason.
  • Make sure your employees are informed of the Government of Canada advisory to avoid any non-essential travel outside of Canada and requirement to self-isolate after returning from abroad. Cancel work-related travel, particularly to areas in which infection rates are high or where a border may be closed.
  • Implement social distancing measures, including modifying the frequency and type of face-to-face employee encounters, establishing flexible work hours or work sites.

Keep your employees up to date on the mitigation measures you are employing to both reassure them and to gain their buy-in for managing disruptions to the business. It is crucial to establish a clear chain of command and rapid response process to ensure swift, decisive action. Communicate to your employees that your response team is in place and evaluating the situation on a daily basis. 

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Keeping workplace safe during pandemics takes well-thought policies and measures and due diligence. Check out Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Magazine and a great read here for more insight.

Protecting Mental Health During Pandemics

Protecting mental health has become as equally important as taking care of our physical health. Pandemics such as the one we are currently grappling with often trigger fear and anxiety. It is very normal to feel worried and anxious. We are nervous for survival and so our natural stress hormones are activated when we face with a threat. The good news is that there are a number of things that we can do to keep our spirits up.

Reduce news and social media intake

It is now harder than ever not to spend extended periods on your phones and laptops. However you can limit your exposure to the news, consume only what you need to know and what is most relevant to you. Customize your social media feeds by following more accounts and pages that make you feel good.

See the glass half full

Do what you can and leave the rest in the hands of authorities. Keep in mind that most people who contract COVID-19 will only experience mild symptoms. Work is being done to help the most vulnerable.

Keep yourself busy

Create an at-home routine and schedule for remote work. Engage in activities that distract you from current events. Watch your favorite movies and TV shows, pick up a new hobby, join an online fitness class, enroll in a free online course to upgrade your skills.

Stay connected with family and friends

Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. Include video calls in your daily routine, play online games with friends and take virtual tours together.

Stay physically active

Physical activity helps reduce stress hormones such as adrenaline and releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. Also keep in mind that deep breathing or meditation are great ways to alleviate stress and anxiety.

It is now more important than ever to maintain good health and spirits. So make your mental and physical health a priority and remember we are going to get through this. If you notice symptoms of stress and anxiety worsened, seek help from a mental health professional and check out tele-therapy or online therapy services.


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The Changing Work-life Balance

Work-life balance is an important aspect of a healthy and happy work environment. It can be seen as the budget of your hours and how you spend it. As the term work-life balance is transforming, companies can also go with the trend and work towards integration and alignment than balance. With the concept evolving, it is important to understand the direction and what it will be like in the future.

Work-life integration is the new work-life balance

Employees and employers have talked about the importance of work-life balance for years. Separating employee’s work from outside activities has been the dominant concept. The goal was to make sure work did not take too much of the employee’s time outside office while ensuring they performed at employer’s needed level.

While using the term balance creates an opposition between work and life, integration seems to offer an approach with less friction. In today’s progressive market the merging of work and life is inevitable. Therefore, employees are encouraged to align their goals and experiences to create the path that is desired to them.

The generational effect

Every generation has been addressing the concept differently. Some have focused on finding the balance by remote work options and paid time off to spend quality time with family. Millennials however who are said to take up to %75 of the workforce by 2025, seem to have a different perspective. They are leaning towards finding a career that suits their lifestyle which means life outside work. This is quite a change from the traditional ways such finding a job and then building a life around it.

Burnout is real

Isolating and sustaining an identity for each aspect of life can be challenging. The demands of our work combined with our personal and social lives means we need to learn to wear more hats and manage a portfolio of multiple identities. All the effort put into achieving satisfactory work-life balance seems to create even more stress when employees fail to accomplish it. On the other hand, moving towards integration seems to help employees with a less stressful approach. It allows them to focus on what is important to them and what suits their personality and abilities, and then build on that to create a unique career path.


HR professionals are encouraged to follow the shift in perspective. They should help businesses move towards a flexible work environment that supports employees at all life stages. They should foster the type of culture that promotes what is important to current and potential future talent pipeline. This can be employees’ interests, abilities and personalities. Also they should make sure company is investing in the right technology that realistically strengthens the integration.


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3 Ways to Perk up Your Commute

Having to commute to work is a drag. Last year, BlogTO brought awareness to the fact that us city-dwellers in Toronto spend an average commute time of 84 minutes each day. Whether you drive or take transit, it takes a lot of time to get around this city.  

There have been many studies on the negative health effects caused by long commutes. Mercer reported in 2017 that people with longer commutes are found to have higher rates of depression, financial concern and obesity. So, what can you do to avoid falling into the negative thinking yourself? Aside from moving, below are 3 ways to perk up your commute.

  1. Create a Routine

Turn your time spent commuting into enjoyable time by creating a routine. Now, this doesn’t have to be cumbersome, it could be as simple as picking up a coffee from your favourite coffee shop, listening to a podcast or catching up on social media. Build something into your commute time that turns it into something you look forward to.

  1. Plan Your Day

One very helpful, stress-relieving tool to Perk up Your Commute is to actively think about how you will structure your day or week. On your way to work, reflect on how your plans will help to achieve personal and professional goals. And, on the way home – make personal plans and family commitments. By implementing these mindful exercises, you may find that it’s easier to improve your work-life balance as well.

  1. Socialize

Look for people at work who also live relatively close to carpool. If you take transit, maybe a friend of yours has a similar route where you can meet and catch up during your journey. Or, use the phone and call someone. Chances are, there’s someone in your contact list that hates their commute too!

Dressing Appropriately for Work

Dressing appropriately for work is rather a subjective area where there can be a lot of room for confusion. Work wardrobe depends on many factors including the industry, company and the department you work in.  There is no one-size-fits-all type of formula, so you should be flexible and adjust your professional style accordingly. Here are some general guidelines that help you look your best in any environment.

Company culture

The one most important thing to remember is the company culture. You get to know what is appropriate in your company by observing what employees at different levels are wearing. Try to find something that fits in and is a reflective of your own style. If the dress code is distinctly different from your wardrobe, slowly modify yours to come as close as possible.


Having a good understanding of the level of formality goes a long way to ensuring you are dressed appropriately. While business casual is the preferred level of formality in many companies, casual itself has different levels. Business formal dress code on the other hand, is still norm in industries such as law, accounting, consulting and in locations such as corporate headquarters.

The basics

This might sound too obvious but wearing clean and properly fit clothes is a must regardless of the environment. Clothes that are too big, too small or dirty, can look inappropriate, can be a distraction, may look sloppy, might be a job hazard or even violate the company hygiene policy.

Cologne or perfume and accessories

Avoid strong cologne or perfume, a scent that you like might be unpleasant or cause allergy to others. Also, make sure your accessories do not make loud noises every time you walk and there is nothing offensive, controversial or obnoxious on your clothing.


Wearing rich and dark colours usually convey a stronger impression than lighter ones. Be cautious with bright colours and try to avoid overly flashy ones. Also, it is a good idea not to wear the same colour as the background behind you. This comes into play wherever you sit for prolonged periods.

Beware of your attire once you start with a company and you will gradually become accustomed to the culture and dress accordingly without much effort.  If you are ever unsure about the appropriateness of a particular clothing item, skip it. If you really want to wear it, first discuss it with HR and find out whether or not it would be appropriate.


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