Motivating Remote Workers

Even prior to the COVID-19 crisis, telecommuting has been gaining popularity as an alternative workplace arrangement. Flexible working hours, improved work-home balance and the ability to reduce commuting times & costs are all drawcards for working remotely. However, in spite of all the positive benefits of working remotely, managers face a challenge when it comes to keeping their staff engaged and motivated.

When your team is on-site it’s easy to foster enthusiasm through face-to-face interaction, pep talks or even with fun little incentives such as the ever-popular office pizza party and ‘casual Fridays’. When your primary communication with an employee is via a computer or mobile phone screen, motivating them calls for a more unique approach.

Here are some of the best ways to motivate remote employees whether it be temporary or permanent working arrangements.

1. Keep Communication Channels Open

Since there’s typically no routine daily interaction in a remote work setting, employees can end up feeling isolated and directionless. Meanwhile, managers are often left scratching their heads when it comes to figuring out ways to effectively keep their remote workers in the loop. While email is a nifty tool to have, it isn’t always reliable nor timely, emotion gets lost in translation and it’s often hard for teams to collaborate when for example, working in completely different time zones across differing schedules.

One way to keep communication lines open with remote workers is by utilizing emerging technology and making the most of the tools we now have at our disposal.

To keep motivation levels up and reduce feelings of isolation, managers turn to video conferencing for their face-to-face interactions. Platforms such as Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom and Google Conferencing are all great options for keeping those working remotely feeling like they’re a part of the team.

You may also consider adding instant messaging tools for important real-time correspondence or urgent enquiries and even think about hosting weekly virtual meetings to keep everyone up to speed and improve your organisation’s general communication capacity.

Having a social and collaborative environment, even in remote work arrangements, encourages staff to share ideas, concerns, and knowledge thereby increasing motivation and generating more employee engagement.

2. Keep Engaging Your Employees

While not all work tasks are meant to be enjoyable, you can help to make hitting targets and deadlines less painful for employees by keeping them engaged. It’s easy for remote workers to grow unmotivated or dissatisfied with their responsibilities when there are no clear guidelines or set expectations.

Keep the workload engaging by setting clear expectations. One of the most enticing facets of a remote work environment is having autonomy and complete flexibility over one’s schedule. If there are no expectations set upon the worker, it makes it difficult for them to instil the same sense of urgency into their work. You can help facilitate this by providing clear deadlines and goals. Let an employee know how often you want them to check in and encourage them to allocate a time when they’ll be online and available. Be clear about all relevant tasks and how/why it’s important for the workflow and organisation while providing clear deadlines which they can factor into their schedules.

Encouraging creativity is also a great way to motivate remote workers. Inclusion and actively asking for input/assistance or advice regarding ways to improve facets of the organisation will not only reap great benefits for you as an employer, but will further assist in making workers feel as though they’re an active, influential part of the team.

3. Reward Accomplishments

One of the biggest motivators for workers - especially those working remotely - is to be acknowledged. Without daily communication, it’s easy to neglect or forget about complimenting your staff on a job well done. In order to keep your remote workers motivated, you need to make it a priority to reward their accomplishments, either big or small.

You can reward remote workers through a simple email, expressing gratitude for their contribution or, by giving a “shout-out” to the employee via work communication platforms, LinkedIn and via social media channels. Employees receiving recognition tend to show signs of work satisfaction and motivation towards their roles. To boost morale even further, you can also offer additional employee benefits such as virtual awards or even a digital gift card or certificate.

These small acts of recognition can be the key to establishing a successful, remote working arrangement and ensuring your workers feel valued - contact us and let the team at EasyBenefits assist you in providing an easy, straightforward solution to giving your employees the appreciation they deserve.