Implementing change with your team can be difficult for leaders at the best of times. And today, you certainly don’t have the luxury of walking your people through the various steps and stages to make it more acceptable. Many of us have been thrown into this virtual working situation. But fear not – here are a few tips to help keep your employees motivated.

  1. Identify priorities and cut back on non-essential work.
    • Pause and look at the big picture. Priorities are shifting, so focus on the key projects needed to keep everything moving forward and eliminate anything that can wait.
    • Task each employee to identify one corporate process that is stopping them from getting their work done quickly and ask… do they have a way to eliminate or fix it?
  2. Provide flexibility.
    • Recognize that “work from home” is the new norm for everyone, and you need to allow for flexible work hours.
    • Encourage “me time” to help employees balance work with family, home, and exercise. Appreciate they may have to attend to family during normal work hours, and then work during evenings, etc.
  3. Ask for, and listen closely to feedback.
    • Check in with each employee frequently to see HOW they are doing, not WHAT they are doing.
    • For some social distancing will be a mental challenge, especially the longer it goes on. Help employees to see the benefits of keeping in touch with friends, peers and family.
  4. Use team activities to keep colleagues connected.
    • Use chat tools like Slack, Twist, Zoom, Skype or Google Meet.
    • Host a team “water cooler” for everyone to share what is happening in their home, and with their family.

Looking for an icebreaker to start your virtual team meeting? Consider:

Send an email before the meeting to ask everyone to prepare to show one item from their desk or work area, and explain why it is meaningful to them.


Just as the meeting starts, ask each person to show the shoes they are wearing on camera. Someone is bound to be wearing an interesting pair of slippers, boots or flip flops - if they’re wearing anything on their feet at all!


Just as the meeting starts, turn up some music and do one dance move. Now explain that you’re going to rotate through the group with each person repeating your dance, then adding another move. Expect laughter to follow!

Let’s try to make the best of this situation. We’re all in this together.


At WATMEC, we’re doing our part to help you manage through the COVID-19 crisis. Visit our homepage for our complimentary online learning opportunities.

About Dale

Dale Wilcox is co-owner of WATMEC. Dale is a respected board member, former volunteer of the year, and inaugural Chair of the Canadian Society for Training and Development.