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How to Motivate Remote Workers

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, Jack Dorsey announced that Twitter employees would be able to work from home indefinitely. An announcement like this speaks volumes to what the reality for most employers will be as we adopt a new kind of workforce in what is, and will be, our new norm.

COVID-19 might’ve forced the workforce into a mandatory remote work situation, but working from home isn’t a method that appeared out of thin air. Companies have been implementing remote work policies for years. And although it provides great flexibility for employees, and when done correctly, can significantly benefit productivity for the company, it can still be challenging to manage from afar. So how can you motivate a remote team?

  1. Make yourself available

Your direct reports don’t have the luxury of an open-door visual. Hence, you need to make sure they know you are accessible and approachable whenever they need to connect with you. There’s nothing more defeating than when a manager isn’t there to help guide, assist, and… well, manage.

  1. Encourage their development

Investing in an employee’s development is an incredible retention driver. Doing so generates internal champions for the company, and by helping workers improve or learn new skills, it gives the company a more complete employee. And what a great benefit to tout to potential new hires.

  1. Create virtual water-cooler

By nature, we are social beings. With that in mind, it’s important to give your direct reports the opportunity to work out their social muscle. It’s been proven that casual conversation amongst employees can make work more enjoyable, and encourages a collaborative work environment. You can create a virtual water-cooler through video presentations or simple webcam hangouts.

  1. Trust them

No one likes a micro-manager, but it’s also essential to set clear expectations and check in with your employees. Chances are your direct reports were hired for a reason, and it’s key to let them breathe and do what they were hired to do. Not everyone is built to be a remote worker, though, so it doesn’t mean you should stay completely hands-off. Keep them engaged and hold them accountable. The right type of employees will thrive.

  1. Set up effective communication tools

Leverage technology to keep your team connected. Schedule regular calls or meetings meant to touch base and to help make your employees feel included. Zoom is a great tool for face-to-face group meetings. It’s also a good rule of thumb to use a platform that allows for more personal, one-to-one conversations, such as Slack or Skype.

  1. Recognize accomplishments

Sharing in each other’s wins, completion of projects, and even potential new opportunities being worked is a great way to boost engagement and light that competitive fire. Scheduling recognition meetings consistently not only gives the virtual tap on the back employees deserve but also provides insight to other employees about how the workers being recognized for their accomplishments got there.

  1. Share a visual scoreboard

Implementing this tool creates a culture of accountability and spells out goals in black and white. Having this document accessible to all employees allows them to view key metrics and performance indicators at any time, while also motivating employees who have any type of competitive bone in their body. As a manager, having a visual scoreboard is a great way to track progress over time and have a place to go for data whenever needed.

What other ways do you think managers could motivate remote employees? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out What to do When Workers Don’t Want to Return to the Office.