Even before the COVID-19 pandemic situation forcing many companies to implement work-from-home policies, there are already more than 4.7 million remote workers in the U.S. alone. With the quarantine periods throughout 2020 and early 2021, we can certainly expect this number to grow even bigger. 

This situation has created various new challenges for managers in managing their remote teams, and one of the biggest challenges is ensuring your remote workers stay motivated. 

In an office situation, we have an easier time seeing who is currently struggling, but it is much harder to do when people are working from home. This is why motivating your remote team can be tricky, but in this guide, we will share some actionable tips you can use right away to improve this situation.

Without further ado, let us begin with the first one.

  • Clearly Communicate Objectives and Goals

Your team will be more motivated in achieving their objectives when they know why they are doing it. If you can clearly communicate your objectives and vision and let them know exactly how they are making a difference with what they are doing, you can encourage them to be more driven in finishing their tasks. 

While this might seem simple enough at the first glance, in reality, this is often neglected in a remote working setting. It’s also important to note that this is not a one-off thing but will require continuous nurturing. 

A simple thing you can do is to send a weekly email reminding your team members about the importance of their work and how they are making a difference. Provide individual feedback for the tasks they’ve performed, and show appreciation whenever appropriate. 

  • Have a Proper Work Management Infrastructure

It’s very important for a remote working setting to have a clear work management infrastructure in place. 

If, for example, it’s difficult to comprehend who is working on what and when the next task is due, remote workers can easily get demotivated due to the confusion. 

This is where a work management solution is required in ensuring your remote team can stay motivated by maintaining a clear schedule and transparent communications. Managers can easily build a business workflow to communicate the objective and intended workflow of a process, so everyone involved in the project can clearly understand their tasks and deadlines. 

Remote workers can also use the Timesheet function to easily log time against tasks, so we can effectively reduce the number of confusions and disputes regarding which tasks have been completed and how many hours a worker has logged. 

You’ll be surprised how clarity alone can significantly improve your team’s morale consistently. 

  • Set Remote Workers With Appropriate Workspace

Besides a work management solution that we have discussed above, it’s very important to provide your remote workers with the right tools so they can effectively finish their tasks on time. 

When they feel that their needs haven’t been provided by the company, they can easily get demotivated. 

Invest in the right software infrastructure, like deciding on a convenient video conferencing software like Callbridge and other communication solutions. Also, you might want to consider setting up each remote employee with the right equipment like a laptop, mouse, keyboard, noise-canceling headphones, and so on. 

When you set them up for success, remote employees will feel more invested in, which can improve their motivation and productivity. 

  • Help Them With Time Management

Maintaining good time management is always one of the biggest challenges for many remote workers, and when you have issues with time management, it’s much harder to maintain your motivation. 

Besides having a proper work management solution to help with scheduling, as discussed above, you can also help your remote workers with any of their time management issues by: 

  • Providing useful training regarding time management, including education about the benefits of time management
  • Set goals together with your team members so they can also voice their concerns
  • Focus on the quality of the tasks, not quantity
  • Help them identify what’s causing their time management issues so you can find the ideal solutions together
  • Show appreciation and reward their success, even if it’s a small reward like a simple thank you email 

An important thing to note in this area is not to micromanage your remote workers (i.e. by constantly monitoring them via their webcam), as in most cases it will be counterproductive instead. On the other hand, encourage achievements through accomplishing tasks rather than emphasizing the activities. Give them freedom in executing their tasks. 

  • Build Trust

Once you’ve properly defined your objectives, roles, responsibilities, and deadlines, it’s important to establish trust between yourself and your team. By showing them that you trust them, you can go a long way in improving their morale.

It’s important to find the right balance in your approach: on the one hand, you don’t want to be too invasive and respect their privacy. On the other hand, in a remote working setting, it’s also important to go the extra mile in staying connected. 

Consider celebrating milestones together (i.e. via video conferencing), or making announcements about recognition in your daily video conference or even a chat. Keep your interactions fun while staying appropriate to help in building connections and trust. 

Conclusion

Managing and motivating a remote team, on the one hand, requires the same basic management practice as in a traditional working environment. However, you will also need some unique approaches in motivating remote employees, like using the right technologies to create connections, maintaining transparent communication, and effectively managing performances. 

By following the tips we have shared above, you can ensure you are more aligned with your remote team, encouraging them to stay motivated and productive.