How do you keep your team motivated during the corona virus ? 

You are already struggling because the outlook for your company is uncertain and might have some anxiety. But so does your team, they will have the same kind of anxiety, what happens with my job, how do i pay the rent if i loose my job, will i get sick, who will take care of my family etc.

Besides that, there is nothing so boring and demotivating than working without having customers.

And you are also have to work from home, from where its much more difficult to support and motivate each other.

Its super important to keep your team motivated, because as a leader you already have to deal with so much stress from the company but also your family, that is easy to get super frustrated with team members who get paralyzed by their own problems while you are trying to keep everyone above water.

Another reason is that team members who are best qualified and have the best opportunities in the market might leave the company because they see better "survival" opportunities elsewhere. Why you need their talent to help you overcome this crisis.

In the aftermaths of the earth quake in Nepal in 2015, i was involved in a multi building service apartment, where we also were forced to stop operating for a longer time. (Eventually about a year or so).

Create Goals & Plan to Survive as a company

A doom or negative scenario paralyses people. While after the first Earth Quake in Nepal on April 25, people were still optimistic and talked about a quick recovery, the second earth quake on May 16 paralyzed most. People were sitting in silence in front of their houses, staring in the distance not knowing what to do. We decided to not work for a few days or week while to take care of yourself and and your family.

When the team slowly returned to office we needed to paint a story with light on the end of tunnel, set goals and make a plan with a positive framing to keep energized.

A big part was to contribute / help victims of the earthquake. Small things as letting neighbors charge their phones, distributing water and giving team members time to be part of recovery projects organised in Kathmandu. Looking backwards i think this gave a sense of being able to do something in the middle of chaos.

In the beginning the plan was simple, clean the place, contact guest with future bookings and refund them, help others with survival. We also let all our team members note down how they went through the earthquake, as a way to council.

It was only after a while that we changed from " survival this week" to making a longer term plan.

What really helped was to focus on goals and let the teams and team members develop their own goals. Seeing together the bigger picture and knowing what you are working on and why gives energy.

I also believe that, being able to help others gave energy in a time you could not serve guests. Ideas that you see now to re purpose the role of the team in areas they can be useful for conquering the virus helps to keep the team together.

Crafting together a plan what to do during the different phases of the corona virus and how to bounce back better as a company helps a lot to keep everyone motivated.  

When making a plan together, its important that you are transparent, be open, especially about the cash flow, how can we divide the money ? Maybe some bigger earners are willing to cut down on salary, or exchange current salary for future benefits when the situation is better. Maybe even become a share holder.

My experience is that the team is very much able to make this decisions on its own, and maybe even in a better and fairer way then if you would have done that top down.

These discussion about the future also help you as leader to have a deeper understanding of the anxieties of your team and how they want to cruise through this period.

And most important a deep understanding for every team member what their role is. This also helps to share your stress. The burden to take care of a whole team and their families is heavy, but if you share that load, that becomes much easier to deal with.

We worked with self management principles (based on Ricardo SemlerHolacracy) and encouraged entrepreneur ship.

Let your team set their own goals, and tasks but guide, mentor and coach as a leader to make these goals and tasks in sync with the company goals. 

Planner tools like Asana and others can be very useful for this. And can help that everyone is aware of what is going on and what the bigger picture of the task they are working on is.

What was amazing that after a while we started not only to reinvent our company but we also started to make our lives better through continues learning and giving people opportunities.

The result was that room attendants turned themselves into team managers learning English and computer skills. Some even became CEO of a individual cleaning company that was a spin off of the housekeeping department.

Eventually the Earth quake turned the company into a place where people could work on their dreams and goals and where mentor and coaches tried to tie these individual goals and dreams into a bigger picture that could be turned into a company.

I think this period of crisis and the aftermath of growing out of it was one of the most rewarding times of my live.

If you have any questions or you like to share your experiences please do send me an email: