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Can you offer time off later for your team to spend with their families, to replace the time they're giving up for the project?
Depends on how long the 'short-term' period is. Agree with Eric, if short and the team is demotivated then a time-off after the sign-off of the project will be one way.
Like Eric, suggests, maybe a counter of moving the time-off to later so can still take advantage. Also, support the team members with supplied meals/allow to expense, etc. Sometimes if travel, I've heard of organizations allowing for family to come and share hotel room.
Say them the truth before the project started.
Walter - Good question. This is a relatively common situation in most of the projects.
In my experience to work with multiple remote teams, the understanding of local cultures and traditions has helped to effectively engage teams.
- The planning of schedule around 'general expectations of the team' reduces the unnecessary dissatisfaction. Every team is different, so knowing what's important to them is crucial.
- Few members who decide to continue support workload (while most of the team is away) is recognized for their contribution. I engage teamleads to personally chat with these members during such support duration to convey our appreciation. Also, arrangement for incidental expenses helps them to perform without worrying about food /late-night travel arrangement.
- Allowing the team to take day-off or, planning a get-together with the team (& family) to appreciate their successful delivery keeps them engaged.
- Organization culture plays an important role to keep them motivated and avoidance of unnecessary burnout. Rather than taking members for granted, it's always helpful to communicate with the right sensitivity. It's also important to communicate 'such plan' to relevant stakeholders & other remote teams (with differnt traditions), so they can engage working teams with a positive attitude.
Also, a calendar with such important dates helps everyone (all teams) in the project to plan their engagements with other teams and member's vacation planning.
Walter, 2 bits of advice in this situation:
First, if your team is working long hours and having to give up time with their families, you should be doing everything you can to help them be productive in the time they are spending at work. Working hard for nothing is very de-motivating, as is working hard from someone who is sitting back and coasting, so you want to be as invested in success as they are, and very visibly so. You are all in it together, and the team needs to know that.
Secondly, let them have some fun. I remember complaining to my manager one time that my team could be more efficient if they would focus on what is absolutely necessary, instead of nice to have things like flashy presentation materials. Thankfully my manager coached me that if people were voluntarily working 60+ hours a week on my project without complaints, don't worry about the fact that some of that is spent doing things that I don't see as essential. If having some fun along the way keeps them engaged, that is more essential than I had realized.
I agree with Keith, having the PM working alongside them during long hours is motivating. 'Working' could be many things but what it isn't is sitting around doing nothing. It is during times like this where the PM needs to roll up their sleeves and lead by example. BTW getting the pizza and coffee is also work ;)
But having said that, I always have concerns beyond motivating when we talk about sacrificing yourself for a project. The question is always - how often does this happen. If it is the exception then yes, it's life, we've all been there, but if it is the rule then something is wrong. Often people are offered on the altar of the mighty dollar. If it means making the extra $$ those that won't be doing the job overcommit easily and slowly it becomes the norm.
Without money, one thing that can motivate team is the important of the work that they are strugling and sacrifying for. People will not wait time or sacrify for nothing. Tell team members how important the project it is; make them feel that they are very important to company, their work will save company, they are only one team that can realize the company objective, they are unseparated part of the work, member will be honar when the works done, bla bla... With a great reason, people can even sacrify their whole live. You should have a greate reason to tell them. No one want to sacrify for a trivial work.
what makes them happy? prepare a list of those things or factors which make them happy and then plan for it.
Thanks for your advice, they are very helpful, to take them into account in future projects.
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