Last year we published an article on Non-Financial Methods of Motivation which outlined why motivation needs to be seen as a priority.

The fact is, that whilst almost everyone works for their salary or wage, the problem with money is that it forces us to work rather than making us want to work. 

We thought it was time to do an updated article focusing on how to support and motivate employees returning to work. Why? We’re all in uncharted waters at the moment.

There have been, and still are, unprecedented challenges since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Following the recent announcements about the easing of lockdown there is, and will be, a return to work for many people who have been furloughed.

So picture this…

It’s 28 degrees and sunny. You’ve been for a run, walked the dog, the kids are happy and all your jobs around the house are up-to-date.  Who’s eager and motivated to go back to work? 

Of course, we’re all different. 

Not everyone will have had this idyllic experience during lockdown.

Some will relish the challenge and structure provided by their daily work routine. Others will have missed the social interaction of being at work. For some, the financial impact of being reduced to 80% pay whilst on furlough will be starting to bite. 

However, the reality is, we have all established new patterns of behaviour during lockdown. The prospect of returning to work will be disruptive in one form or another, which may result in a lack of enthusiasm. 

As an employer or manager, what can you do to motivate your team?


Start a Dialogue

Firstly, recognise the situation everyone has been in and start a dialogue with your people.

This is to understand how they feel, what do they want the ‘new normal’ to look like, are there any aspects of the last 3-months they would like to hang onto, what are they looking forward to and what’s worrying them. 

Once you understand this on an individual level, you’re in a much better place to plan, act and respond. This is a good starting point to motivate your employees returning to work.

Flexible Working

Some colleagues may really value the flexibility they’ve enjoyed over recent months. Could you accommodate this, for example by allowing them to work from home for some of the time? Or maybe let them adjust their start and finish times?   

Family Friendly Policies

Also, think about the ‘whole person’ and their situation. 

How will they cope if schools and nurseries don’t fully re-open? Refreshing your Family Friendly Policies and being clear how your team can balance their family and work commitments will be a really positive and mutually beneficial step. 

Refocus on Exciting Goals for Everyone

Next, why not take the opportunity to take stock of and refocus the business, it’s purpose and set some exciting goals that everyone can get behind and work towards?

Making work meaningful is hugely rewarding and motivating. 

Read more about this in our article on Vision, Mission, Values and Culture

And having an exciting goal or ambition can really help to galvanise the team and drive focused effort. Getting people behind the business can really help to motivate employees when returning to work.


Communication and team meetings will also be another essential area to focus on.  Consider that your team won’t have been at work for several months. There’s a lot of readjusting, familiarisation and refreshing of knowledge that needs to take place, and that’s just to do the job in the way it was being carried out before the pandemic. 

There will be a huge range of new policies, procedures and processes to understand too, lots of which will be part of the business’ approach to risk assessment e.g. social distancing, hygiene procedures etc. 

All critically important stuff and it’s vital that everyone fully understands and is on the same page. 


Training may another factor that will help motivate your team on their return to work.  Taking on board the change to their daily routine will be challenging enough but taking on board a large amount of new knowledge and processes, without proper training and support will make it even harder. 

There may also be an opportunity to offer some personal development as an added incentive; it doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive face-to-face training either, online courses can be just as beneficial and much more cost-effective 

Read our Returning to Work? A Complete (Re)Induction article

Non-Financial Methods of Motivation

And finally, why not consider other non-financial methods of motivation, such as an employee benefits scheme.  Benefits Cloud is a great example of a really cost-effective solution.

It provides a range of money saving offers, great discounts and deals on an online platform. It is simple to set-up and easy to use, all of which will be welcomed at the current time in particular. 

To Conclude

One thing this pandemic has taught us is that the old norms and working practices may never return to how they were.

Companies and work forces that can think and adapt in innovative ways will be the ones that will be able to come out the other side more focused, engaged and resilient.  

For More Advice

If you need any further support or advice on returning to work, please get in touch!