Working from home this past year has underscored how crucial it is for teams to learn how to effectively collaborate and engage remotely. And for many businesses, remote work is here to stay.

New research shows how virtual environments foster better team productivity, engagement and overall confidence. A study conducted by Canva that surveyed 2,000 people across the U.S. who worked from home during the pandemic revealed 50 percent of Americans think their personal productivity has improved since working from home. Almost half (46 percent) said that remote work has improved collaboration with their colleagues and 52 percent want a full-time flexible arrangement this year. With so many companies exploring a hybrid form of work, we may be on the verge of new and improved workplaces.

For managers leading remote teams, now it is even more important than ever to recognize and understand what motivates people in order to succeed. The research coming from Canva shows there’s been an interesting shift toward how teams can solve bigger problems together.

The majority of Americans (60 percent) admit the most successful way to motivate themselves and others in a remote environment is to identify and solve problems. While almost half (47 percent) say they were motivated by setting individual timely goals and targets. Meanwhile, 45 percent used a combination of goals and problem-solving tactics.

Here are the top tips on how leaders can successfully manage and motivate remote teams and adapt to the various communication styles from home.

Provide Opportunities to Collaborate

One of the biggest concerns leaders have when everyone is working remotely is that they’ll lose moments of collaboration, brainstorming, ideation and problem-solving with their team members.

One way to overcome this is by leveraging technology to create more opportunities for collaboration – virtually, in person and asynchronously. For example, I love using Canva because they offer a suite of digital collaboration templates including brainstorming documents and live presentation templates, empowering teams to simultaneously collaborate and achieve their best work. Zoom calls, on the other hand, are always effective to recreate in-person collaboration.

It’s important to remember technology is only as useful as we make it and as a leader, it is your job to set the tone for how a team connects. Take the initiative to reach out to your team members first and help them understand when you are available and how. It is also important to schedule regular touch points with your team and those you collaborate with to ensure there is always a forum to discuss the work done weekly. This ensures everyone is clear on the workflows in place for virtual collaboration.

Inspire Individually, Yet Together

Canva’s research identified some shifting changes in workplace motivations, from being goal-oriented to a focus on problem-solving. You’ll likely see a mix of both within your team, and therefore, adapting your style to suit both individual and collective motivations is vital for inspiring everyone to move towards the same desired outcomes.

For those motivated by problem-solving, you can harness this strength by focusing on risk management or strategic planning tasks. Whereas those who get fired up by goals will gain more motivation when you highlight the company objectives and how they can contribute to them.

While everyone has individual ways of working and being inspired, don’t forget that a team still needs some collective way of being rallied together. This can be done by ensuring everyone is on the same page about common goals even though each team member’s way of attaining this may be different.

Identify Preferred Communication Styles

To ensure that messages are heard and understood correctly, it is crucial to increase the quality of your communication and to take the time to learn how each of your team members express themselves.

Some people also draw energy from in-person communication and will appreciate the flexibility of hybrid work environments eventually. While others might thrive under solo work settings and using online communication tools almost exclusively.

The point is to understand what works for your team and adapt your environment and digital tools to increase harmonious and effective communication. To help understand your team better, you can try our free Fingerprint for Success (F4S) tool. It’s able to identify communication styles along with more than 40 key workplace motivations and traits that are essential for collaborative success.

Lead the Way to Successful WFH Collaboration

This past year has been incredibly challenging for many and also transformative for the workplace as we know it. To be successful at work today means learning new ways to be productive and collaborative. By blending a successful work from home model with intuitive leadership, employees will feel more confident as they continue to work in these virtual and hybrid environments.

Michelle Duval is Founder and CEO of Fingerprint for Success, a people analytics and coaching platform that assists startups, scale-ups and enterprise teams to map and develop innovative and entrepreneurial talent – based on 20 years of scientific study. She is a pioneer in new forms of learning, helping found the field of professional coaching and developing the world’s first artificially intelligent personal coach.

Duval has helped found the field of professional coaching in Australia in 1997 and became a leading voice forging developmental and transformational coaching worldwide; working with leaders of billion dollar companies like Canva to Bathurst race car drivers, helping them discover their path forward. Having developed coaching psychology models used by professional coaches globally, Michelle’s coaching methodologies and training programs have certified executive, business and personal coaches in more than 60 countries.



Fingerprint for Success (F4S) is a professional and personal development platform on a mission to empower individuals and teams to work better together. Featuring a simple user interface and a vast range of tools for wellbeing, happiness, performance, diversity and inclusion, plus a huge library of AI and human coaching programs, anyone can set goals and achieve amazing things at work and in life.

Remote work stock image by fizkes/Shutterstock