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How to keep your team motivated remotely

By now, most organizations have worked through the challenges of transitioning into remote work. You’ve set up processes and procedures, made sure employees have the necessary technology and connections, and have likely coordinated countless video conferences. As your team settles into this new model, it may be time to tackle the next challenge: keeping your employees motivated while working from home.

While some employees may flourish from their home office, others may struggle with this change of environment. Discovering what motivates employees can guide leadership decisions no matter where your team is working. According to Psychology Today, peer camaraderie, leader encouragement and getting the opportunity to do something positive are among the top motivators for engaged employees. With an understanding of what truly engages and excites your team, you’ll see projects move forward smoothly.

In fact, some employers may start to see remote work as a long-term option, even when the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us. Studies from Global Workplace Analytics estimate that 25-30% of the workforce will work remotely multiple days a week by the end of 2021. Explore the strategies below to find the solution for your employees to be at their best while working remotely.

Find an interesting problem.

To ignite a spark in your employees and motivate them to thrive, give them an interesting challenge to resolve. One powerful way to get your team motivated is to enable, equip and empower them to solve problems that matter. At our core, most of us want to make an impact — your team included.

Your employees have an intrinsic desire to do something good. By framing tasks around the problem they’re working to solve, your management can show employees the significance of their work.

For your management to engage your people, take the time to paint the bigger picture, so they’re aware of the importance of the problem they’re solving right now. Encourage your leadership to communicate why no task is too small to make a difference.

Communicate availability.

Without a commute or in-person meetings, your team may wonder when they should be online. Flexibility is one of the greatest advantages of remote work, but for flexibility to work well, some structure is also necessary. As your team continues to push projects forward, pay attention to when you need everyone online. Clearly communicate the hours you expect employees to be available, and the hours that are more flexible.

Taking advantage of schedule flexibility can be a great benefit to employee satisfaction. Make sure to regularly evaluate when team members are needed online and when things are flexible. You may want to seek your employees’ input and set parameters from there.

Offer encouragement.

Are your employees only hearing from you when things are going wrong? Because encouragement is a key employee motivator, it’s something your organization’s leadership will want to work into your weekly routine. Consistent, intentional praise is a proven method to boost employee motivation.

Encouragement is valuable in a face-to-face environment, of course. But it gains greater importance in a remote environment. More than half of communication is nonverbal, which is significant to keep in mind when it comes to in-person interactions. Some of your message can get lost in virtual communication, which makes words of encouragement matter even more.

Take encouragement on a test run. Ask your leadership team to set weekly reminders to send a message of praise to employees for an entire month. Then, see if you notice anything different. Feeling greater appreciation for their work will likely have your team ready and motivated to take on challenges.

Start knowledge sharing.

Remote work means your employees can’t casually share insights while passing by in the hallway or catching up over a coffee break. But that doesn’t mean learning should end. As an organization, be intentional about cultivating opportunities for knowledge sharing.

When your team is learning and growing, they’re likely to feel motivated in their work. Consider a virtual “lunch and learn” through video conference. Encourage team members to view a webinar together and then share reflections on a chat or instant message platform. Using these tools, you can create different channels for your employees to add their knowledge, thoughts and ideas. Wherever you enable knowledge sharing, you might find a gold mine of inspiration.

By using these strategies, your organization will be able to keep your employees motivated during any circumstance. Understanding what motivates your employees at a deep level will help you see exactly what kind of leadership they need to thrive. By choosing one or more of these strategies, you will help your team perform better than before.

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