More and more businesses are discovering the advantages of a remote workforce. Whether employing some remote staff, or being a fully virtual team, a remote workforce means less overheads for the company, as well as meaning they can hire the best talent, regardless of geographical location. At the same time, increasing numbers of employees are been drawn to remote work because of the flexibility and freedom it brings.
However, as well as the many advantages for both companies and employees, remote work also has its challenges. Most of all, keeping motivated as a remote employee can be difficult to say the least. Away from the office setting and not being under the critical eye of colleagues and supervisors, remote workers need to keep themselves on track, and be highly disciplined to ensure tasks are completed and deadlines are met.
Here are some tips and ideas for keeping your remote team engaged and motivated.
Why it is Important for Workers to Stay Engaged
It is well known that engaged employees perform better, meaning that they are more productive and effective workers. This in turn means the business in general will perform better, with more output and greater profits at the same level of expenses. Additionally, an engaged workforce means less turn-over, so the business will not need to invest so much in recruiting and training new staff. Finally, an engaged team is one that is driven to help the business succeed, and may provide valuable ideas or go above and beyond to make the company reaches its goals.
Keeping your team, remote or otherwise motivated and engaged can be challenging, but this is not something you need to do alone. There are consultancies like Andinspireme which work with organizations to help them keep their employees motivated and engaged, making for a workforce that is not only happier, but more productive, and therefore better for the company’s bottom line.
How to Keep Remote Employees Engaged
Keeping a remote team engaged and motivated has its own particular challenges that require a specific approach. Here are some key ways to keep your remote team on track and motivated not only to achieve their goals, but to help the business achieve its broader goals also.
1. Involve Remote Team Members as Much as Possible
Remote team members can often feel out of the loop, and not part of the everyday goings on of the company. Most importantly, they can feel left out of decision making and strategic planning. This is in turn causes employees to become disengaged, because they do not feel part of the bigger picture. Be sure to include your remote team members in decision making through online meetings, surveys and other consultation, and be sure to keep them updated on any changes or developments within the company.
2. Keep in Constant Communication
It is also important to engage with your remote employees through constant and regular communication. Remote employees can often feel isolated and distant from the rest of the team, especially in a workplace where some of the team work from an office. Keep in touch with your remote team through regular virtual meetings over Zoom or Skype, group emails and tools for team communication like Slack.
3. Provide Positive and Negative Incentives
Just like a non-remote team, it is important to give remote employees both positive and negative incentives. Positive incentives are those that reward team members for strong performance. This could be a monetary reward such as a pay rise, recognition through a new job title, or a reward such as a voucher or bonus. It could even just be a shout out over email to the whole team, recognising the great work of a particular employee ion a specific project or in general. Equally, it is important to address poor performance. In a remote setting, there is a risk that under-performance, missed deadlines or similar can be let to slide. Rather, address these issues with the team member either verbally over the phone or Skype or through a message and email. If problems persist, it is necessary to put the remote employee on performance management just as you would a non-remote worker.
4. Include Fun and Social Aspects
One of the great things about workplaces, at least the good ones, is that the team bonds socially and has fun together. Water-cooler chats, jokes around the office, after-work drinks, and away days are all important parts of team culture and working together. It is important to replicate these kinds of activities in a remote environment so employees can have these same benefits. Of course, these will not be exactly the same as in a physical office, but there are ways to encourage the same type of social interaction in a remote setting. Encourage employees to chat with each other over slack or similar group communication tools, and in particular be clear that social chat is welcomed. Establish virtual getting-to-know-you activities over email or Skype, and try to get the team or parts of the team together in person from time to time with social meet-ups.