5 Actionable Tips for Motivating a Remote Workforce

Nov 10, 2021       Remote Work

Remote working has been a hot topic ever since COVID-19 forced nearly every company to close its physical offices. There were months last year when almost everybody was a remote worker, and with so many people adopting this approach, companies quickly understood that it comes with its own unique set of challenges.

For some, remote work has become the new normal, and those who resist the idea get bombarded with foreboding headlines asking if we'll ever see physical office spaces again.

If you're looking to continue with hybrid or remote work at your company, implementing these five ideas can help you make the most out of this unexpected arrangement.

Trust Them to Get the Job Done

Trusting remote employees might prove more challenging because you can't see them working, but that doesn't mean they're not doing their job.

If you can, try giving remote workers flexibility outside of scheduled meetings.

There are as many working styles as there are people, so along with the usual 9-5 workers, you're likely to find a handful of night owls enjoying days off and working away past midnight. Others could be skipping Fridays, opting to work on Saturdays instead because it fits their schedule better. No matter how strange or surprising their ways might seem, it doesn't really matter how they choose to do things. What matters is that everything you expect of them is done well and on time.

Micromanaging employees while they look after their kids or help their partner unpack the shopping (alongside whatever else remote working can bring) will only lead to annoyances and stress.

Motivate Remote Workers - Outside

On the other hand, freedom and flexibility empower your team to be creative, which is incredibly motivating all on its own.

Reward Individual Success

If someone does something outstanding or takes a big project through to the finish line, it might be time to reward them for it. Our best advice here is: "praise in public, critique in private."

It's good to remember that it doesn't always have to be about money. People who respect their manager will be happy to hear that they've done a fantastic job or get something simple like an extra day of vacation as a reward.

Recognizing employee successes is the #1 way to keep them motivated.

The only mistake would be to ignore it or take it for granted because if something that big isn't recognized or rewarded by the team, they might start asking themselves if it's even worth it.

This is a dangerous crossroads where employees might quickly do away with any extra effort in future projects because you've just shown them it won't be recognized anyway.

Recent studies show that frequent rewards are the golden rule for motivating any employee, so get creative with it and see what you can come up with!

Make Room for Weekly Video Calls

If everyone works remotely, it's easier for them to disconnect from the company and its projects. Spending weeks or months with a Slack tab as the only point of contact is not a good idea. This is why it's essential for team leads to arrange a weekly meeting where everyone can laugh together, touch base, and remember that they're still part of a real company with other motivated people behind it.

A team spirit is difficult to let down, and meetings like this help highlight how everyone depends on each other.

With the right atmosphere, you could make your weekly video calls into mini team-building events as well. Think of fun activities like an online escape room, a virtual murder mystery, or even Pictionary!

With the right atmosphere, you could make your weekly video calls into mini team-building events as well. Think of fun activities like an online escape room, a virtual murder mystery, or even Pictionary!

Create an online space where people can celebrate each others' successes or team up to find solutions; your reward will be a team instead of something that feels like working with "disconnected" freelancers.

Encourage Personal Development

Actively encouraging personal development shows that you're on this journey together with your team.

Give people plenty of opportunities to grow, and you'll soon find that it doesn't just motivate them⁠ but also makes them far better at their job.

If you want to integrate this process into Slack, we recommend using Spock to create a new leave type and give everyone 7-14 learning days per year. This way, everyone will feel that they have the necessary space to realize their potential fully.

If you're stuck for ideas, initial courses can teach things like:

  • Google Analytics
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Time-management

You could also pair this up with the usual one-to-one feedback sessions to help each team member identify their weaknesses and improve on those areas during their learning days.

Give Them a Break

Hybrid and remote work can make people feel guilty about taking a break during work hours. If flexibility isn't an option, it's a good idea to make room for these spontaneous breaks.

The typical office is full of them—whether it's the usual exchange of "how are yous" in the morning, informal chats by the coffeemaker, or people pacing around the place while solving a problem.

With remote work, you get a lot of mini-breaks that pop up randomly and last anywhere between 5 minutes to half an hour, which is especially likely for people with families.

Motivate Remote Workers - Break Time

Giving people the option to make coffee or tea is a great way to encourage regular breaks for employees who might be reluctant to take them.

By making breaks okay, you stop remote workers from second-guessing themselves or worrying about having to respond to messages on Slack instantly. It really makes a difference when a person can take a quick breather to refresh their mind.

If you want to go the extra mile and introduce a novel concept, use Spock to create a "rest day" leave type alongside your regular vacation time. This would give your team one day every year to simply say they need to sleep in and aren't signing on to work.

Combine all of these, and you'll feel the atmosphere get lighter with each meeting because your employees will feel that they have enough breathing room to be themselves. When you hire someone, you're hiring all of them—including their habits, likes and dislikes, opinions, etc.

Sure, it's complicated, but with enough hard work, you'll be left with a brilliant collective to help the company on its way to success.