Three easy ways to motivate remote employees

Three easy ways to motivate remote employees

Remote working has proven beneficial for many companies over the past two and a half years.

But the lack of personal contact and interaction can lead to burnout and lack of motivation in some employees. In this article for Entrepreneur, Leanne Sheridan, entrepreneur, creative director, strategic business advisor, marketing expert, and manager of UPRISE Management, a marketing, branding, and creative development agency, offers a few tricks for sustaining a remote team.

We’re more than two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, and today it seems like society has returned to some semblance of normal when we’re not buying massive amounts of toilet paper rolls and making makeshift masks out of t-shirts.

While our social calendars once again fill up with appointments for in-person meetings, concerts, and dinners at restaurants, for many of us our professional lives remain online. Although for most people this is not mandatory, a large number of them choose to work from home.

Telecommuting offers numerous benefits for employees and their organizations, from better work-life balance to increased productivity. As I’ve learned over the years, however, motivating a remote team is imperative to reap these benefits and avoid driving your employees to burnout. These are three simple ways I’ve been able to motivate my remote workforce.

1. Communicate effectively

With fewer opportunities for face-to-face interaction throughout the day, there are more opportunities for important messages to get lost in translation. This is why improving communication within and between teams is vital to ensure optimal work performance.

Try adopting collaboration platforms like Slack, Teams, or to simplify and streamline your internal communications. Each team can have its channel that allows communication for collective deadlines. Individuals can identify potential collaborators or ask for advice, and each colleague will have some information on what projects are assigned to whom. Direct messaging and sub-channel features ensure that employees receive the information they need without getting bogged down by updates that don’t apply to them.

In addition to using a dedicated messaging platform, delivering information consistently and on a regular schedule can do wonders for team productivity and motivation. Reiterating current and upcoming projects, deadlines, and other critical information through a weekly update or summary is an easy way to create a reliable, central thread of communication. It also encourages employees to organize and plan better, as well as stay connected.

2. Encourage work-life balance

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the remote workforce was on the rise. The main motivation for going online-only? A healthier work-life balance and more flexibility.

Yet as working from home became a necessity rather than a lifestyle choice, drawing boundaries between professional and personal space became more difficult. When your work life is on a laptop in the other room, it can be tempting to send that last email or finish a little more of that task. In the long run, however, a work culture where professional responsibilities dominate employees’ personal lives leads to demotivation and ultimately burnout.

A workplace where workers are stressed, tense and exhausted is not conducive to productivity. To foster a work environment that provides balance and flexibility for remote workers, collaborate with your team to create a routine work schedule.

If possible, work with individuals to create customized schedules that accommodate work and personal commitments. Shared calendar features and automated email responses can also be used to maintain work-life balance, allowing colleagues to indicate when they are free, busy, or ‘out of the office.

3. Make team building a priority

Remote work can create a sense of isolation, and this is particularly detrimental to maintaining motivation. In a space where opportunities to build friendships and share laughs with co-workers are rare, taking the time to build a team is critical. These activities can take many forms, from planning 15 minutes to express appreciation for each other at the beginning of the week, to a longer social event after work. Whether in-person, remote, consistent, or sporadic, such an investment in the interpersonal dynamics of your workplace can turn a remote workforce into enthusiastic contributors who can’t wait to start the day.

Of course, managing a virtual workforce poses unique challenges—there are likely to be growing issues, such as communication mishaps and scheduling difficulties—but there’s no denying that working from home is here to stay. That’s why it’s key to be proactive and take initiative to avoid the common pitfalls of a remote work schedule.

Fortunately, by taking a diligent approach to communication, encouraging rest and recovery, and creating an engaging workplace culture, it’s possible to prevent burnout and transform your remote workforce. Ultimately, managing a successful remote team can be both rewarding and rewarding.

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