Product Managers: Motivate Your Remote Product Team Amid COVID-19

COVID Help Knowledge 6 min read, August 20, 2020
Product Managers
The motivated Product Team and the happy Product Manager thrive together.

In a time where it’s hard to resist signing off an email to a customer with ‘Stay Safe’, or making some vague reference to the current COVID situation on every team sync, more and more Product Managers like you are wondering how they can get their product team back on track as things start to settle down.

Product Managers and Product Teams who were not previously doing so are either

a. being forced to work remotely, or

b. being forced to stop working completely

Which means some businesses are thriving and others are dying.

That uncertainty in the overall health of the business threatens the remote team.

After all that has happened, how can effective Product Managers like you motivate their remote team after such devastation has ravished our otherwise normal lives?

Read on to find out how to motivate your remote team amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Set reasonable expectations

Product managers
The expectation doesn’t fit the reality.

How can a Product Manager encourage their Product Team’s happiness?

Product managers should set realistic expectations so that that their team doesn’t fall behind on deadlines or that their work does not pile up.

Once the work piles up so high that it becomes unrealistic to expect them to complete that work on time, it can be hard to recover.

The best Product Managers will not allow the work to be completely neglected and fall into disrepair and then expect the team to snap back into fighting shape overnight.

But, the Product Team’s focus should not only be on those tactical tasks that are urgent but not important.

The Product Team would also be encouraged to work on tasks that will allow them to be creative and come up with new solutions because creative work will help the Product Team feel more fulfilled and happy in their work.

Barring death, hospitalization, or severe disability, the Product Manager and the product team needs to keep the work going consistently throughout the crisis and beyond to achieve results that are not typical.

When the team understands that there is a plan in place to keep everything moving like a well-oiled machine, they will feel more confident about their own abilities, increasing their confidence.

Remember that happiness breeds success, and success breeds happiness, the best Product Managers will help their team remain happy so they will be successful.

Maintain a sense of “normalcy”

Product Managers
Product Managers can still maintain a sense of normalcy during this crisis

The recent COVID-19 global crisis presented a new normal for everyone including the Product Manager and the Product Team.

The best Product Managers understand that their team enjoys predictability, routine, and normalcy.

COVID-19 really did a number on us and we are still reeling and grasping for some sense of normalcy, peace, and happiness in our daily lives as well as our work routines.

Unless there has been a complete shut down of the business they work for, remote Product Teams and Product Managers may not be as disturbed by the recent global crisis and the remote product team should be able to withstand this crisis from home which means that they will at least be employed.

Product Managers who maintain that sense of normalcy amongst their team members will also maintain the standards they set with their product team from the beginning while also being flexible so the team can adapt the shock of the COVID-19 crisis.

When the Product team feels like the show can still go on they will feel more at ease that they will:

1) have a job and

2) be able to perform their job to the best of their abilities.

Allow the Product Team enough time for what is most important to them

Product managers
Product Managers and their teams need to remain safe during this crisis while completing their work.

Product Managers allowing their team time for taking care of what matters most includes taking care of their own health, safety, and the health and safety of their family.

When the team is distracted at work they become unable to do the job properly which leads to sloppy, halfhearted work results.

If the Product Manager and the Product Team are both allowed to go home, to the hospital, or on vacation so they can take care of themselves and their family or to simply take time to relax, then Product Team Members will not feel the guilt, strain, and distraction that they would feel if they simply kept working, ignoring what’s happening with their own health, their mindset, as well as the health and mental state of their loved ones.

As much as you can, ensure everyone’s safety

Product managers
As much the Product Manager might want to, Product Managers can’t force everyone to stay safe but you can do what is in your power to do to keep your product team safe.

Depending on the nature of your business it may, at times, be necessary for one or more of the members of your team to visit the office on some days.

Reasonable rules and regulations for the safety of all will be important for maintaining the safety of everyone involved including office staff, visitors, and other people so the Product Team will know that their safety is a top priority.

Some requirements for helping them to stay safe and healthy include:

1) required them to wear personal protective equipment such as masks and/or latex or latex-free gloves

2) require that they should remain at least 6ft distance away from one another, and

3) require that they should learn how they can isolate themselves for 14 days after contact with people outside of their immediate family who may or may not be asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.

4) they should also remember that if they are feeling sick that they should not report to the office for any reason and that they should immediately seek medical advice.

Help Product Teams comply with the new COVID-19 requirements

Help the Product Team comply with the new COVID-19 safety requirements

Some “nice-to-haves” that will ensure compliance with the new COVID-19 prevention requirements, so that the Product Manager, Chief Product Officer, or another decision-maker can provide to the Product Manager and the Product Team with, so they don’t have to rely on the Product Team to do it themselves includes:

1. Hand sanitizer and disinfectants

2. Disposable face masks

3. Latex and non-latex gloves

4. A required screening at the door that includes a temperature check and symptom check questions with notes and records for each person who enters, the CDC has offered guidelines for testing in non-healthcare workplaces

5. A list of company-paid testing centers to send Product Managers and Product Team Members so they can find out if they have COVID-19

Knowing that the Product Manager and the leadership are interested in their safety and that their company is invested in keeping them safe from COVID-19 will motivate the Product Team to keep working at top productivity.


That’s all I’ve got for today. Do you have some other ways that you are using that have kept your team motivated and productive during this COVID-19 crisis? Tell us about it.

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