how to motivate remote employees

How to Motivate Remote Employees with 12 Motivation Hacks

Remote work has become the new normal for many businesses, big and small.  While the flexibility of remote work has […]

Mark Jackson

President at SwagDrop

Remote work has become the new normal for many businesses, big and small. 

While the flexibility of remote work has its advantages, it can also be challenging for managers to motivate remote employees who can’t receive the usual face-to-face inputs and perks of an office environment.

That’s why, in this article, we bring you 12 motivation hacks to help keep your remote team engaged and productive.

Table of Contents

1. Offer Flexible Working Hours

2. Schedule Regular Check-Ins and One-on-One Meetings

3. Use Tracker Boards

4. Encourage Virtual Socializing

5. Set Clear Goals and Expectations

6. Promote a Growth-Oriented Mentality

7. Implement Employee Recognition Programs

8. Offer Time Management Training

9. Measure Employee Motivation with Surveys

10. Focus on Passion Projects

11. Show Empathy and Understanding

12. Form Personal Ties with Your Team Members

1. Offer Flexible Working Hours

Offering flexible working hours can greatly impact remote workers’ mental health and overall job satisfaction. 

According to a survey conducted by FlexJobs, 65% of respondents would prefer to work remotely all the time.

In addition, 77% of an OWL Labs survey participants mentioned that working from home (WFH) post-COVID-19 would increase their happiness.

By giving employees the freedom to choose their own working hours, they can create a better work-life balance, reducing stress and burnout.

Flexible working hours can also increase productivity, as remote workers are able to work during their peak hours when they’re most alert and energetic.

When it comes to flexible working schedules, it’s essential for employers to trust their employees and allow them to manage their own time rather than micromanaging their schedules. 

This level of trust and autonomy can improve remote workers’ morale, motivation, and loyalty.

2. Schedule Regular Check-Ins and One-on-One Meetings.

As a manager or HR professional, it’s crucial to stay connected with your remote employees to understand how they’re feeling and what they need to be productive and motivated. 

Regular check-ins and one-on-one meetings are an excellent way to do this; a report by McKinsey discovered that remote workers who have clear and frequent communication with their employers are five times more productive and three times less prone to burnout

During these sessions, you can ask how they feel about their work, discuss any challenges they may face, and get feedback on how you can support them better. 

It’s essential to schedule these check-ins and one-on-one meetings at regular intervals, such as once a week or twice a month, to ensure that you’re consistently staying in touch with your remote employees. 

You can also use video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet to conduct these sessions.

3. Use Tracker Boards

Remote tracker boards can help boost employee motivation by showcasing their performance. 

Publicizing a team’s scorecard can encourage team members to aim higher and exceed their goals as they strive to perform their best in front of their peers. 

This can also spark friendly competition among colleagues with a competitive edge.

To create a remote tracker board, build a scorecard using a spreadsheet platform such as Google Sheets, with team member names on one axis and tasks or categories on the other. 

Share the document with the team and track their performance metrics over a set period, such as a month or quarter.

The purpose of these tracker boards is to celebrate wins as a group and provide opportunities for team members to support each other’s success.

4. Encourage Virtual Socializing

Remote work can sometimes lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can negatively impact a worker’s mental and emotional well-being. 

To combat this, companies should encourage virtual socializing among their remote employees. 

For example, leaders could organize virtual coffee breaks, online game nights, or virtual happy hours. 

According to Nicole Miller, the director of people at Buffer, maintaining connection and teammate engagement in a remote work environment requires twice the effort compared to in-person workplaces

Miller emphasizes the importance of orchestrating opportunities for virtual meetings, discussions, and even fun activities to foster a sense of community among remote workers. 

Following this, a 2020 survey by Buffer found that remote workers who felt a strong sense of community with their coworkers were happier, more productive, and more likely to recommend their company to others

The survey also found that remote teams who felt a strong sense of community were three times more likely to report high job satisfaction levels than those who didn’t.

5. Set Clear Goals and Expectations 

Establishing clear goals and expectations is crucial for the success of remote teams. 

According to a 2021 survey, difficulties in collaboration were one of the top challenges faced by the remote workforce. 

When telecommuters need clear guidance, they may need help to produce high-quality work and can become disengaged. 

To prevent this:

  • Make sure the goals for your team are written down in a way that everyone can easily understand. 
  • Set important dates and milestones and let everyone know how you’ll communicate these goals and progress through regular meetings or calendar software.
  • Use tools that make it easy to manage projects and deadlines, such as Trello, Airtable, Asana, or any other suitable platform.

These tools allow you to use custom tags, color coding, and other features to keep everything organized. 

Not all goals have the same deadline; you may want to achieve some goals by the end of the week and others by the end of the year. 

It’s important to differentiate and define these goals, so everyone knows how they contribute to the overall mission and goals of the company.

By understanding the big picture and company mission, team members can align their daily tasks with these goals.

6. Promote a Growth-Oriented Mentality

To keep a highly skilled remote team motivated, managers can set both personal and performance goals. 

This growth mindset approach believes everyone, from entry-level positions to top executives, can improve and expand their capabilities. 

Managers and their remote teams open up to new possibilities by focusing on potential rather than just performance. 

What’s more, embracing failure as a learning opportunity is essential to a growth mindset. 

Accordingly, handling mistakes can be a delicate situation, but it’s important to approach it with empathy and support rather than harsh criticism.

Help your employees understand what went wrong and how they can improve, providing any additional insights that might aid their understanding. 

This personalized attention may take some extra time, but it can significantly impact your employee’s engagement, loyalty, and overall well-being. 

By fostering a supportive learning environment, you can encourage growth and success.

7. Implement Employee Recognition Programs

Recognizing and rewarding employees’ hard work, and accomplishments is a key factor in increasing employee engagement and motivation.

A study by SHRM found that 79% of employees would work harder if they were better recognized. 

Implementing recognition programs such as an “Employee of the Month” award or personalized notes of appreciation can boost morale and build a positive company culture

To maximize the impact of recognition programs, consider tailoring them to individual employees’ interests or strengths and involving the entire team in the process. 

This can promote a growth-oriented mentality and foster teamwork among team members.

Author’s Tip: This is the perfect opportunity to give your virtual team customized gift baskets. You could give away a blend of headphones, smart desk organizers, wellness kits, and snack bags to show your appreciation.

8. Offer Time Management Training

With the rise of remote work, time management has become an even more significant challenge for many employees. 

According to a report by OWL Labs, in 2020, 74% of remote workers felt like they had issues dividing their tasks and work schedules with colleagues. 

This statistic highlights the growing need for time management training and tools in the remote work landscape.

Tips for effective time management can include training, setting clear goals, breaking down tasks into manageable chunks, and finding a workflow that works best for each individual. 

Encouraging project management tools and apps can also keep employees organized and on track.

9. Measure Employee Motivation with Surveys

Creating a survey with questions to understand what employees like and dislike about their current work environment can provide valuable insights.

Encouraging employees to be honest about the reasons behind being motivated or unmotivated through these surveys can help organizations make necessary changes to improve motivation. 

The survey results can be used to have one-on-one discussions with employees to gain further understanding and implement solutions.

That’s why it’s important to regularly assess employee motivation through surveys to track progress and make necessary adjustments over time.

Remember to:

Make it easy: Use survey tools that are user-friendly and accessible for all employees, regardless of their technical expertise. This will help ensure a high response rate and valuable insights.

Use a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions: Include multiple-choice and open-ended questions in your survey to gather hard data and personal perspectives on employee motivation.

10. Focus on Passion Projects

Following a Deloitte survey of over 3,000 full-time U.S. employees, only 13% were passionate about their jobs.

That’s a big no-no, and you can definitely take some action to avoid that and let your team feel like they can do more!

Offering support to employees in their personal pursuits outside of their job responsibilities comes with numerous benefits for both employees and employers:

  • Reducing stress
  • Increase energy levels
  • Providing a clear separation between work and personal time

This enables employees to return to work feeling refreshed and reinvigorated.

The dos and don’ts of passion projects:

  • Commitment: Management must commit to the passion project to inspire, develop, and retain talented staff. Otherwise, it’ll be seen as a meaningless effort.
  • Reporting: Project management and reporting are crucial to ensure the project stays on track. The project’s outcome should be evaluated and, if successful, potentially monetized. In addition, the results and process should be reported to the entire company, highlighting the takeaways for future reference.

11. Show Empathy and Understanding

As a manager, it’s important to recognize that every team member has a unique work setup. 

This may include varying family situations, work environments, and preferred locations for work. 

Being mindful of these differences can help you lead remote teams with greater versatility and empathy.

According to a recent employee experience survey, 26% of respondents don’t feel like their organization really cares about their mental health.

Therefore, understanding team members’ circumstances, particularly those dealing with illness or personal crises, is essential. 

That’s why empathy and concern for their well-being demonstrate your humanity and strengthen team morale.

Empathy is also critical in building strong relationships and boosting productivity, even when working remotely. 

By showing genuine concern for your team’s worries and seeking their constructive feedback, you can demonstrate your empathy and build trust.

12. Form Personal Ties with Your Team Members

Boost employee engagement and loyalty by showing that you value your remote team as individuals, not just as employees. 

While professional relationships are important, don’t forget that your team members are human too, with personal lives, celebrations, and ups and downs. 

So get to know your team members’ strengths, weaknesses, and interests to build stronger connections with them.

Express your care and concern with small acts, such as sending a personalized gift for a birthday or checking in on how their day is going (not just about work). 

A study conducted by BetterUp shows that a sense of belonging in the workplace can lead to a 56% increase in job performance and a 50% decrease in employee turnover, as well as reducing sick days by 75%.

Surprise Your Remote Team With Joyful Gifts

So there you have it, 12 motivational ways to keep your remote workspace members connected and engaged.

But don’t just take our word for it!

Put these tips into practice and see the results for yourself. 

And for those who want to take their remote team building to the next level, we invite you to work with us to get thoughtful gifts for your remote teammates.

Whether it’s boosting morale, or simply showing appreciation, our team is dedicated to helping you reach your goals.

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