How to Motivate Employees in the Workplace & Those Working from Home in 2023

A motivated workforce can work wonders for any company. As employees are more engaged in work, they are equipped to deal with any challenges and are determined to attain favorable results for your organization. The only problem is that fostering employee motivation is no walk in the park. A Gallup survey on re-engineering performance management reveals that only 2 in 10 employees are motivated by the way they are being managed (Lew, 2019).

Demoralized employees were once motivated employees who have exhibited great potential or had actually performed their best at work (Murphy, n.d.).

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The article will help a leader or manager increase team morale with simple but effective ways to motivate employees. The tips are practical for teams working on a project half-heartedly or for keeping highly engaged employees from losing steam down the line.

How to Motivate Employees Table of Contents

  1. How to Motivate Employees As a Manager
  2. How to Motivate Employees As a Leader
  3. How to Motivate Employees Without Money
  4. How to Motivate Employees During COVID
  5. How to Motivate Employees to Work Harder
  6. How to Motivate Employees in the Workplace
  7. How to Motivate Employees to Come to Work on Time
  8. How to Motivate Employees Working from Home

Causes and Signs of Employee Demotivation

Many companies think that hiring employees who exemplify motivation and engagement will do the trick. They expect that these employees are ready to work, do not need coaching or enrichment, and will not suffer from demotivation and disengagement. Little do they know that motivation and engagement levels among employees easily decrease right after the onboarding process (Eisenhauer, n.d.).

Demotivation can be caused by:

  • Boredom
  • Lack of confidence in the management
  • Too many workloads
  • Unpleasant working environment
  • Lack of career advancement programs
  • Lack of recognition
  • Personal issues

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Some signs of demotivation are:

  • Arriving late for work or taking too much time before starting work
  • Changed behavior toward coworkers
  • Absenteeism
  • Lack of concentration
  • Inappropriate or rude comments
  • Lack of insight in meetings
  • Mediocrity with work

How to Motivate Employees As a Manager

Employees experience motivation differently; hence, not all motivation schemes suit everyone (Murphy, n.d.). Learn how to motivate employees as a manager.

Remember the Basics

Switch+Shift CEO and “The Optimistic Workplace” author Shawn Murphy dismisses managers who say that they do not need to motivate employees. He argues that kindness, thoughtfulness, and being human is as relevant as ever in the workplace (Murphy, n.d.).

Moreover, GrowBiz Media CEO, president, and founder Rieva Lesonsky explains that managers who remember that they were once employees might motivate employees better.

Source: McKinsey & Company, 2020

Have a Strong Why

WorkStride Marketing Director Ingrid Catlin observes that managers have this habit of only telling employees what needs to be done but not explaining to them why they need to do it. Knowing the reason behind every directive will motivate employees to take action carefully.

Create Respectful, Honest, and Supportive Relationships

Respect, honesty, and support are strong motivators in a manager-employee relationship. In a survey on how managers can meet employees’ needs, employees recognized respect as one of the most essential behaviors of a manager.

Encourage respect, honesty, and support among employees when holding meetings, sending emails, providing feedback, and resolving problems (Stobierski, 2019).

Recognize a Good Job Performance

To recognize a good job performance means building an emotional connection with employees, which is always a key factor in employee engagement. Recognition satisfies employees’ self-esteem and sense of belongingness within the workplace (Murphy, n.d.).

Identify the Breaking Point of Employees

Employees have their own attributes, have various phases in their lives, and get inspired by various things. Therefore, do not impose a one-size-fits-all motivation idea on a diverse team.

For TaskUs President and Co-founder Jaspar Weir, it is the manager’s responsibility to evaluate and adjust to each employee. Meanwhile, Zoomshift Co-founder Jon Hainstock campaigns to identify the breaking point of employees and align their individual and career goals with their job roles. In this manner, managers can understand their feelings and the reason behind them. Listening to employees boosts trust and provides insight into making the organization a better place for them.

Give Employees a Sense of Ownership in the Company

Give employees a sense of ownership in the company by making them company shareholders. Work will eventually feel transactional if employees see that they are just working in exchange for income. On the other hand, if they feel a sense of ownership in the company, they will begin to care about it and be more inclined to exert more effort.

How to Motivate Employees As a Leader

Former White House fellow Charles P. Garcia strongly links motivation to leadership development. In his book “Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows,” he and more than 600 American leaders state that employees value strong leaders who inspire them to be at their best (Zwilling, 2012). Know how to motivate employees as a leader.

Set Stretch Goals

Stretch goals refer to the goals that are set beyond the current capabilities of a team. These goals will push employees to exceed expectations and their limitations, which can result in major business milestones. When employees are able to achieve goals, they will keep going and will be even more encouraged to contribute something to the company.

Make Major Goals More Attainable

“Smarter Faster Better” and “The Power of Habit” author Charles Duhigg discovered that one of the most efficient means to succeed is to divide work into a mix of huge goals and Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timeline (SMART) goals. The huge goals will keep employees focused on the output, while the SMART goals will serve as their guide (Murphy, n.d.).

Allow Employees to Have Autonomy

Employees value autonomy because it shows how their leaders trust them. Giving a team a real sense of ownership over their tasks, schedule, and rest days is one of the most excellent pieces of advice on how to motivate employees.

Always Remind Employees about the Company Vision

Let employees know where their efforts are headed to. 15Five Customer Success VP Shane Metcalf emphasizes that without vision, employees will only have short-term motivation and deteriorating morale in the end. He insists that vision builds aspirations within employees (Murphy, n.d.).

Express Appreciation

Appreciation is different from recognition. Recognition deals with acknowledging employees and their outputs, while appreciation is thanking them for their attendance at work, competence, and so on.

Expressing appreciation establishes a calm, safe venue in the brain, allowing the prefrontal cortex to function at a higher capacity. Appreciation has also been revealed to boost mood by releasing the chemicals dopamine and serotonin.

Visualize and Share Positive Results

Leaders visualize success so that they can achieve it. This technique improves the motivation of all types of professionals. Help employees understand what would happen if they achieve goals. Then, share the results with them to motivate them even more (Dickson, 2021).

Practice Fairness

Having double standards in the office destroys employee morale and devalues the efforts of those who are fair and competent. Deal with disputes in an impartial and just manner. Do not give perks to the undeserving and motivate all employees equally (Spectrum Business, n.d.).

Source: CompareCamp, 2020

How to Motivate Employees Without Money

Princeton economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman support the idea that money has its own limits as a motivator. Here are some ways on how to motivate employees without money.

Pay Attention to Intrinsic Rewards

Joy Inc. author Richard Heridan believes that companies using job titles, pay, stock options, and incentives as motivators is a mistake. Delivering Happiness CEO and Co-founder Jenn Lim also said that intrinsic motivation matters the most and makes motivation sustainable and long-lasting (Murphy, n.d.).

Promote Friendly Competition

When competition among employees becomes uncontrollable, employee morale and workplace culture may get negatively affected. Promoting friendly competition among the team members requires undivided attention to ensure that they think only of fun and nothing else.

Build a Path for Development

Employees who feel that they are stuck in a directionless job will certainly get demotivated. Motivate them with a learning and development plan even if it means that they will leave their positions someday.

The current economy gives more importance to graduation than retention because business growth relies on employee growth. It is only inevitable that employees will grow out of their positions and move on to other companies. This is a good thing, and it only means that the plan is working (Murphy, n.d.).

Foster Novelty

If tasks become too typical and familiar for employees, they would get demotivated in the long run. Add something new to their tasks by introducing new projects. Research indicates that change seems like a break for the brain. When one does something new, the brain becomes energized by all the newness of the information and gets challenged.

Take Employees to a Company Retreat

Since it has been confirmed that human brains get excited over newness, taking employees to a company retreat is worth a try. Take them somewhere far from the office and real life.

Source: TINYpulse

How to Motivate Employees During COVID

Now is the best time to actually step in, look after employees, and make them feel a part of the family (Clark, 2020). Find out how to motivate employees during COVID.

Be Visible and Easily Approachable

Visibility and accessibility build trust and encourage forgiveness. Employees appreciate it if they feel that they are being heard even if their problems have not yet been solved, especially in these tough times.

Communicate Well

Employees must feel that they can make a difference inside and outside the company. They must be perceived as partners in the company, informing them what is going on early on and on a regular basis. Getting updated prevents them from guessing, overthinking, and spreading rumors. It also helps them remain focused and understand their roles well (Clark, 2020).

Be Transparent

Transparency boosts a company’s credibility. It also prevents employees from misinterpreting companies’ practices of withholding critical information.

Prioritize Their Well-Being

Be as concerned with employees as with their work outputs. Start cultivating a culture of care in the workplace by looking out for each other. Companies may extend their personal assistance services (PAS) to others like part-time employees. They can also remind employees about the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which provides services for personal and professional care.

Help Employees Prepare for the Future

Even if employees have been consistently working, most of them do not have something to use during emergencies. Help employees prepare for the future by teaching them how to save money in the middle of an economic crisis like what the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about. Take it from UPS’ paywall or Alorica’s SaverLife program (Clark, 2020).

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How to Motivate Employees to Work Harder

Without a skilled workforce, businesses would not thrive. Focusing solely on business plans and strategies is not enough: business owners must also learn how to motivate employees to work harder (Wealthy Gorilla, n.d.).

Offer a Competitive Salary

A competitive salary lets employees know that they are being valued and appreciated. Offer it to those whose performance deserves it (Celarity, n.d.).

Celebrate Success

Nothing gets employees motivated like a celebration of success. This celebration can be as small as a group lunch, happy hour, or coffee break. Celebrating success does not only motivate employees, it also helps them maintain positivity.

Be specific when applauding employees as well. A “Good job!” is simply not satisfying to hear. Let them see the bigger picture by telling, “Good job on the new policy. It will surely broaden our community and improve our customer service.” (Dickson, 2021).

Explain the Bigger Picture

A major part of having employees understand the purpose of their work is realizing how they fit into the bigger picture. Ensure that they understand how they affect the company, clients, customers, and community.

Finishing a task makes employees feel accomplished, but knowing how their work helps others resolves demotivation (Dickson, 2021).

Train Employees Regularly

Through regular training, employees will feel inspired and learn that their employers are determined to help them become more competent at their jobs. Training them about something unrelated to their roles also counts as it can expand their skills. Training offers guidance, especially to new employees who need to gain confidence (LumApps, n.d.).

How to Motivate Employees in the Workplace

Employees who are excited to go to the office are rare. Read the following tips on how to motivate employees in the workplace.

Gamify Major Tasks

Turn an elaborate task into an enjoyable game. Gamification promotes some competition in the workplace through the introduction of gameplay elements to a team’s tasks (Murphy, n.d.).

Establish a Pleasant Work Environment

Mood greatly affects one’s energy, concentration, and well-being. An Ohio State University study on how surroundings affect mood reports that employees working in buildings with low roofs and noisy air conditioners were more tensed than the ones working in environments with natural light and open spaces.

Create a relaxing atmosphere in the workplace to motivate employees, lessen distractions, and get employees to look forward to coming to the office every day.

Implement an Open-Door Policy

Be open to suggestions and ideas. Let employees voice out their complaints and criticisms, too. Those who feel that their opinions matter gain confidence about their roles in the company and receive something more significant than just a salary (Pozin, 2015).

Invest in Technology

Technology is becoming more and more necessary in the modern business environment. Equip employees with the right tools so that they will get motivated to exhibit a good job performance (Eisenhauer, n.d).

Build a Play Area

Let employees have fun by giving them time to stroll around, play team building games, or anything that can relax their minds even just for a few minutes (Bond Collective, n.d.).

Make Healthy Food Choices Available

Employees will stay motivated when they are well-fed and hydrated. Having healthy food choices readily available can maintain employees’ energy levels for the entire day (Dickson, 2021).

How to Motivate Employees to Come to Work on Time

Employee punctuality must be taken seriously as absenteeism costs companies billions of dollars annually in lost remuneration, productivity, additional management time, and low-quality work. Companies may have already see tardiness as the norm, but it should not be. Discover how to motivate employees to come to work on time (Buddy Punch, n.d.).

Offer Positive Reinforcements

Offer cash bonuses, gift certificates, extra rest days, or early out on some days to employees who come to work ahead of or on time. Choose meaningful incentives that employees will find interesting and useful.


Talk to employees who are always late and find out the reason behind their actions. If they have important matters to attend to before work, consider adjusting their schedules. A part-time or full-time work-from-home arrangement may also be an option (Buddy Punch, n.d.).

Address Improvement

If an employee’s attendance improves, address it (Jerkins, 2017). Doing so will inspire employees to continue what they are doing and, most probably, prevent themselves from being late anymore.

Source: Investopedia, 2019

How to Motivate Employees Working from Home

Work-from-home arrangements have already been a practice by most companies even before COVID-19. Some have completely remote setups, while others have only partial ones. Companies relying on virtual settings should also figure out how to motivate employees working from home.

Have Regular Breaks

Do not let employees dwell too much on an issue; instead, let them take a moment to think. This practice will help them become motivated again and prevent any health risks.

Having short hourly breaks can be beneficial to the mind and body, especially for work-from-home workers. Ask them to stand up, play Zoom games with each other, and get some fresh hair every now and then (Dickson, 2021).

Nurture Teamwork

Teamwork is one of the most effective motivators among employees. Knowing that their coworkers are around is a wonderful feeling for them.

Harbor Work-Life Balance

Tell employees to take days off from work even if they are already working from home. This practice will increase their productivity and workplace happiness (Pozin, 2015).

A generous vacation policy or options for flexible hours or work-from-home arrangements can, in fact, save companies money in lost efficiency, absenteeism, and suboptimal engagement (Dickson, 2021).

Be Hands-On

Do not be that boss who just appears to give orders and then disappears. Interact with employees regularly to understand what they do and help them if needed (Wealthy Gorilla, n.d.).

The Importance of Having a Motivated Workforce

Employee motivation remains a vital element in almost any type of company. It results in skills improvement and the achievement of professional goals. Consequently, employers reap the benefits of higher work efficiency, having excellent solutions to any problems that may arise, and healthy office culture. This kind of motivation steps up the overall standing of a company and leads it to victory (Indeed, n.d.). Needless to say, motivating employees should always be a part of business and organizational plans.



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Get personalized degree recommendations that will help you find a program that will match your goals and dreams.

The website is funded by advertising. All school search, finder, and match results, as well as featured or trusted partner programs, are for schools who pay us. Our school rankings, resource guides, or any other editorially impartial content on our website are unaffected by the compensation we receive.