Are you wondering how to motivate remote employees? The issue of remote team motivation has grown as a result of the challenges and opportunities created by remote working phenomenon. We know we need something beyond work as usual. Let’s assume that your staff already have the right communication, video conferencing tools, and project management tools to remote work properly. What specific strategies can you employ to motivate them?

Employ the Tactic of Gamification

Gamification is the application of game techniques to non-game contests, such as business. Competition and fun are a potent combination when it comes to motivation. The basic elements of games – points, badges and leaderboards – are perfectly suited to the online environment of remote working. Many companies already are leading the way in showing how to gamify remote working.

Provide Frequent Feedback

All feedback should be constructive, timely, and carefully worded. In the world of remote work, it needs to be both regular and spontaneous too. Check-in with your team frequently, without going all Big Brother. Don’t allow your feedback to become fragmented. The more you can connect their tasks and projects to the larger purposes of the company, the higher their motivation will rise.

Create Surveys to Gauge Motivation Levels

Make your surveys quick and anonymous. Otherwise, they’ll get in the way. The benefit of staff surveys is that you wont have to guess how motivated your team actually is. You don’t need to invest in serious surveying software. Simple 1-10 scales to rate moods, productivity levels, and help is sufficient. Also, you can use surveys to ask employees if there’s anything specific they needs, in terns of equipment or information.

Embrace Autonomy, Warts and All

The question of how to motivate remote employees can can impact managers as they strain to show they’re on top of the tasks. Such micromanagement can squeeze out the experimentation and risk in involved in allowing your team agency in their own problem solving. Give them latitude to make their own decision without the feeling of fear that they’ll get in trouble if they try. Make procedures and processes clear without piling them on.

Start or Amp Up an Employee Recognition Program

If productivity increases due to remote work (which studies show it does) don’t just take this for granted. Celebrate big and small wins. Let the whole company see and join in. Identify what values or behaviours you want to reward. Make the criteria transparent and selection open to all. Add in occasional surprises. And make the reward something they’ll actually want. Maybe make it unique to the recipient.

Foster a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is learnable. Your team has potential as well as performance. This is a time to invest in their skills and development. Online learning has never been more apt. The opportunity to master a topic or task is one of the fundamentals of intrinsic motivation. However, to really drive it on, link growth not only to training but promotion within the organisation.

Be More Available

You’ll have less direct contact with your staff when remote working than before. So, if they take the initiative to contact you, treat it like the valuable opportunity it is. It doesn’t have to be formal or serious. Allow staff to let off steam and work through issues. Let them know there’s a green light for them to make contact and keep in touch. Include yourself in office banter and casual chat.

Experiment with a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE)

Manage accomplishment, not activities. Place the emphasis on what they produce rather than when they produce it or what hours they work. Let them enjoy the flexibility of remote working to work when it best suits them, not you. Turn a necessity into a benefit. They can work from home, wear their shorts, and get tasks done quicker!

Crank Up the Personal

Remote working can make things less personal, not more so. It can make team members feel a bit like castaways and strangers. You as their manager need to counteract this with deliberate measures. Ask yourself how well you really know them. For instance, you can find out and celebrate birthdays and personal milestones. Have your team take personality tests. Facilitate passion projects – tasks an employee wanted to do for a while but didn’t have the time, until now. Use humour as a management tool.

Built Boundaries and Respect Them

Allow them proper work-life balance. In fact, encourage and insist on it. Remote working can easily blur the line between work and life. This leads to the trap of overworking and mental exhaustion. It also makes the time taken to perform tasks longer, as proper rest hasn’t been taken. So, don’t expect instant email replies or midnight meetings. And, as a manager, model this behaviour yourself.

Do You Have Any Stories on How to Motivate Remote Employees?

I’d love to hear from any managers out there what your most successful tactics are for motivating your team and staff while working remotely. What works? Why did it work? What has surprised you? Let us know!

Remote team motivation isn’t a new problem. If you want more ideas, read 18 Ways of Motivating and Managing Remote Teams.

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