Companies are beginning to embrace the idea of having their staff work remotely. Workers are required to adapt to the changes and learn to work in a completely new environment. Managers and leaders need to do more than ever to ensure their remote employee’s well-being and job motivation.
Industry leaders are realizing they need systems in place to keep their workers motivated and in good spirits while they are working remotely. It can take significant effort to make the changes needed to create an efficient remote workforce, but there have been clear trends that can be seen in top-performing companies over the last several months.
Many organizations are finding an increase in productivity from implementing a work-from-home strategy, but a recent survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review indicates that working from home lowers your workers’ overall motivation in their job. These findings take into account people who choose to work from home and people that have no choice in the matter. With those that have no choice, their motivation dropped a further 17 points compared to those that had a choice.
When reviewing this data, it is clear there is a problem with motivation when it comes to working at home. How can organizations effectively motivate remote workers?
Develop a Remote Work Culture
According to a report done by Glassdoor, 56% of workers say that company culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction. With this in mind, how can you create an efficient culture for your remote workers?
Identifying Different Hurdles
There is no doubt that working remotely has serious challenges. Begin by identifying the hurdles that may challenge your organization and its infrastructure. Talk to employees to figure out the top problems they are facing from working at home. The most common problems according to Buffer’s annual report of remote work are:
- Not Being Able to Unplug
- Time Zones
These are problems you need to identify in your workforce. Do you have workers in different time zones? Are there easy channels for employees to grow friendships with each other that can decrease loneliness and increase job-satisfaction? These problems should be addressed specifically to your organization and their hurdles.
Setting Clear Objectives and Company Values
Your company values and objectives need to be clearly stated. This is a best practice in building a company culture, but it is even more important (and difficult) when you are dealing with a remote workforce. You need to define your values and main objectives and make them easily available to employees through email, on-boarding, group chats, and virtual meetings. Begin improving your remote work culture and motivation by writing these down and defining your goals for the month, the year, and the next five years.
Creating clear objectives and company values create a foundation for your remote team to build relationships and feel motivated at their job.
Improving Your Onboarding Process
Onboarding remote workers can be tricky. You need to set up dynamic systems so your new employees can easily adapt to the work they will be doing. You want your new workers to feel welcomed. Have your staff members welcome their new colleagues and encourage your employees to help new remote workers get used to the job. It’s a good practice to set-up meetings with everyone that the new worker will be engaging with for their remote job to build the team by incorporating remote workers with everyone in the company.
Hiring remote workers also lets you create systems using Google Forms to automate tests for new employees to see if they are ready for the job. You can send examples of work and sample tasks, and see how they perform to skim down the interviewees to just workers that are likely to be right for the job.
Have Productive Virtual Meetings That Motivate
Holding virtual meetings through video conferencing will foster better working relationships between colleagues. If you want a great report at the end of the week, regular discussions about how they are doing with their work is crucial. Having personable and professional meetings will keep everyone aligned with the core objectives and feeling they are a part of a group that is moving towards important goals.
These meetings also provide a great avenue for your staff to continue learning from each other. It is important to note that your workers need to keep adding to their growth and potential. The growth they experience when they learn something new will keep them motivated to keep working to implement what they learn. Have everyone tell the team one thing they’ve learned this month to encourage a learning environment where your employees feel they are growing as people and experts.
Virtual meetings can also be a great way to unwind and promote games among your staff. Have them engage in interesting activities that will help draw them closer together and boost individual performance.
As a manager, you could also participate and discuss the milestones reached by the company. Doing this will give your employees a chance to evaluate their progress and encourage them to keep going.
Utilize Team Chat Apps and Email
To keep your remote workers motivated, you need your employees to stay in touch and keep the team updated with tasks and progress, and even with just what they are passionate about this week. Business chat apps are a great way to connect your organization in a remote environment and create a closer team. These offer a lot of functionality, from organizing tasks and to-do lists to fun group chats for your employees to grow closer and start to connect their social life to their work life.
You already use email every day, so why not create consistent team updates and make email a place for positive communication. You want to be the middleman between different people and departments in your organization to start them in a dialogue that will connect your organization, even between remote and non-remote workers.
Measuring Employees Performance and Offering Growth Opportunities
Conducting monthly performance reviews will help you provide the right opportunities for your employees’ growth and development. Doing this is important because, without a challenge and growth potential, your employees will cut back on their performance. It may lead to a complete lack of motivation and reduce your employee’s productivity. To avoid this, it is important to ensure that your staff members are constantly advancing in their abilities.
For an accurate performance review, here are a few things that should be considered;
- What your employees would like to improve.
This will give you a better understanding of what their struggles are and help you find ways to help them work to get past them.
- Where they have improved compared to the previous month.
Here, your employees will get a better understanding of how far they have come and encourage them to keep on improving.
- Their best moments in the previous month.
This will help you understand what motivates your employees.
- Their worst moments in the last month.
You’ll understand which parts of the job a certain employee finds challenging and work to help ease the burden. This will help them focus more on the tasks that they are good at and can deliver 100% quality.
Paying attention to what makes your employees perform at their peak will help you streamline their tasks. Speak with them and find out what they enjoy and what discourages them. We’ve had an employee who loved classic Parker Pens, and sending them a set as a gift for a good review increased their performance over 20% for that next quarter. Having personal and interactive performance reviews for your remote workers will set you apart and significantly increase remote workers’ motivation.
It is also necessary to set up systems that help you track your return on investment (ROI). This will help you evaluate what works for your business and where you need to improve. This is also a good way to introduce goals for your employees to ensure they work toward their attainment.
As an organization, it is also important for managers to recognize work well done. Compliment an employee who has outdone themselves and delivered the best on their project. This will be a motivator to keep working toward more achievement. It will also motivate other employees to improve their performance.
Utilizing Breaks and Work By Assignments
As an organization, it is important to find a way to incorporate breaks during your working hours. When it comes to working remotely, you find that people tend to completely lose track of their work-life balance. Work tends to take up most of their time, and unwinding is the last thing on their mind.
The best way to encourage your employees to take some time for themselves is to lead by example. Develop a routine where after your meetings you get to relax or catch up on anything that is not work-related. This will help your employees embrace taking time out and focusing on something relaxing after completing an assignment.
Making your employee’s work assignment based is also a good way to keep them motivated. Seeing that they have completed one assignment will make them excited and ready to work on the next and complete it.
Create a Visual Scoreboard
Having a visual representation of your goals and the activities each employee needs to undertake is a step in the right direction. It will help each employee track their progress and stay on task to ensure they deliver on time.
This is also a perfect way to encourage healthy competition among employees. Marking a certain task as “done” has a very satisfying feeling. It will encourage your employees to keep going and get more done.
You can create your scoreboard using a spreadsheet to give everyone an easier time when using it. Focus on simplicity to make it more accessible and digestible for your employees. Include your primary business goals and update them as you progress towards your goals. This is a visual representation of the progress they are making for themselves and the company as a whole.
Allow Your Employees to Choose Their Working Hours
When working from home, it is a good practice to let your employees determine when they’ll be working. Since the work being done is assignment-based, having your employees work at their convenience is a great way to increase motivation.
For this to work, you will need to attach deadlines on each assignment to ensure they are done and delivered on time. If you need to have any meetings with your team, you must schedule them in advance. This will help them keep that specific time open for the meeting and be fully present without distraction.
This does not work for every organization, but it has helped many companies increase their bottom-line. If you have not, this is definitely something to consider for your team.
Trust Your Team
Now that you’ve set up all the necessary tools to help your staff work online, it is time to let them be. Trust that they will be punctual in their assignment delivery and that they will not compromise on quality.
Stick to the set meeting schedules to ensure that you give your team ample time to work without constant supervision. Putting your trust in your team will allow you to focus on other aspects of the business that require your attention.
The Bottom Line
It is up to you as the manager of a remote team and leader of an organization to keep your employees motivated and on their toes. This is easier said than done. But if you put in the right amount of work and utilize technologies that connect people, you will find a remote workforce can become your organization’s secret weapon.