The question of how to motivate remote employees might never have been more topical than it is right now. Many industries that never even entertained the idea of allowing their teams to work from home currently have little choice in the matter, and have had to adapt in order to keep their operations running. Let’s be honest here for a second - nobody likes to be painted into a corner and it can be a major headache to lean into a brand-new way of working when pressure is already sky high, but at the moment, those are the breaks.
We’re all navigating uncharted waters.
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to motivate remote employees. Here are a few tried and tested methods you can put to the test. Let's get started:
1. Get your tech support in order
Remote teams need the right tools if they are to operate effectively. Fortunately for us, there has never been a greater selection of virtual tools to keep us all connected. In fact, there are many high-quality online collaboration tools that are free or relatively inexpensive to use. The main necessities your team needs when working remotely include:
- Reliable email
- Video conferencing tools
- A user-friendly direct messaging platform
- A file-sharing system
- Specialised tools like designing software, etc. for specialised employees.
Understand that at this time your employees will only be as efficient and effective as their internet connection. Encourage them to invest in high-speed connections, or better yet, fund it through the company if you can find the wiggle room in your budget.
SIDE NOTE: Don’t insist on a video call/conference when a normal voice call or email will suffice to get the message across or achieve the same goal. Many employees actually find this mode of communication distracting and fare better when engaged in a less ‘in your face’ manner.
2. Understand the unique challenges of working from home
At the moment, not every person who’s working from home is doing so voluntarily. In fact, they are not working from home; they are at home during a crisis trying to work. Try to be sympathetic to this fact.
Remote working can be very challenging at the best of times, and much more so when your personality may not be suited to it, and you don’t have the support systems in place you would normally have. For instance, in times of lockdown, parents of school-age children, toddlers and babies don’t have access to childcare during standard office hours. Domestic support is also unavailable. Keep this in mind when you dole out tasks and set up meeting times, and work with them to find ways to accommodate their odd working hours, which will most likely be in the dead of night or the crack of dawn.
PRO TIP: If you absolutely need your workforce to be responsive and engaged during certain hours, communicate that expectation clearly from the word go. Encourage your team to allocate calendar time when they’ll be online and available so everyone knows who is available when.
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3. Recognise and reward good work consistently
If there ever was a time to up the ante on employee morale, now would be it. To feel appreciated is one of the most important human needs. It shows that our work is valued and when this happens we are motivated to repeat positive behaviours to retain this sense of value or go beyond that last performance.
When employees feel appreciated you’re essentially investing time into their existence, and by virtue of that, they’re going to invest in you. This can take the form of increased teamwork or collaboration, that leads to a better employee experience that ultimately leads to a better customer experience.
If your team is new to working remotely, steer clear of micromanaging or rewarding seat time alone - there are better and more effective ways to keep a remote workforce on track. Right now, a better approach would be to focus on meeting collective and personal performance goals. Rather than emphasising activity, encourage achievement through accomplishment so the focus falls on the contributions your team members are making to the wellbeing of your business at a very trying time.
4. Check in on a personal level
Times of crisis affect people in different ways. Take the time to check in with each of your team members to find out how they are coping and if they could benefit from some added support at this time. You may find that you need to set up meeting times for employees from different teams to collaborate if there is a lag in delivery due to certain dependencies. Or perhaps one of your employees simply needs a little pep talk to ensure them that the sky will not be falling on their heads just yet. Whatever the case may be, you’re unlikely to know these things if you don’t check in.
Following these guidelines when you manage a remote workforce working from home will smooth the way for increased motivation and productivity at a time when this can mean the difference between a business that thrives and one that survives.
Our employee recognition and rewards platform is ideal for businesses who are innovating on the fly. In fact, we’re so sure it will make a difference in motivating your remote employees, we’ll let you try it for FREE. Simply click the button below to get started 👇