10 Ways to Motivate Remote Employees in 2021

October 25th, 11:44 am

10 Ways to Motivate Remote Employees in 2021

Motivating a workforce is an ongoing challenge for any manager in a high-performing organization. A motivated team is willing to put in the work and do what it takes to achieve the company goals. They are more engaged, happier, and supportive of each other. When you combine the high energy, skills, and knowledge of motivated team members, you and your team will accomplish anything you set out to do.

Unfortunately, the dynamics of remote teams have made motivating employees challenging for most employers and leaders. With reduced face-to-face communication and interaction with employees, managers are needed to go the extra mile to motivate remote teams. But before you put in any effort, you need to be conversant with the best strategies to motivate remote teams.

This article covers:

  • How to motivate virtual teams
  • Remote employee engagement
  • Team motivation ideas
  • Remote team engagement ideas
  • Virtual team building motivation activities

List of 10 Ways to Motivate Remote Employees

Mental and Wellness Perks

The last couple of years have hurt the workforce as far as mental wellness is concerned. The sudden shift to remote working has not improved this, with many routines and life structures changing. The isolation, intertwined work and personal life, and extra work hours ultimately increase stress, anxiety, and mental health issues.

With this in mind, it’s vital to prioritize mental health awareness and self-care. Remember, your employees are the soul of your business, and you want them to deliver. By helping your remote team take care of their health and mental state, you’re creating a more motivated and engaged team.

You can do this by offering self-care perks, health and fitness benefits, and signing up your team for mental health workshops and programs. One of the best ways to deliver mental and wellness to your remote workforce is using employee wellness activities

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Recognize Employee Achievements

Motivate Remote Employees

The remote workforce has proven more productive compared to its in-office counterpart. Unfortunately, most of the good work is not recognized. To an employee, recognition communicates appreciation and affirms that their work is of value to others and the organization.

The natural reciprocation is that they become more satisfied and productive. Knowing that their work will be acknowledged and celebrated makes virtual employees put in their best efforts. With that in mind, it’s best to take time to recognize and celebrate remote employee and team achievements—big or small.

However, with the nature of virtual meetings and their time limits, it’s easy to pass over opportunities to praise a team member. As such, it’s best to have properly planned employee recognition programs, such as employee of the month, staff spotlight in virtual meetings, or utilize the communication channels to call out the big wins. This is also a great opportunity to call on other employees to do the same.

Provide Constant Employee Feedback

It is vital that every company operating remotely asks for and gives feedback to its employees, whether bad or good. While most managers forget this, feedback is a key motivator for top-performing employees. Regular feedback not only engages remote employees but also provides avenues for growth within the organization.

Any feedback beneficial to the team and individual's performance should not be reserved. First, you want to give individual feedback to an employee, then to the entire team.

Communicate More

Lack of communication in organizations is a major reason why remote employees are unmotivated. Remote workers often feel isolated, both from the company and the team. If there’s no communication, they may lose touch with the company’s purpose and how their work contributes to the overall company goals. That’s why it’s better to over communicate and not communicate at all. Consider centralizing all of your organization-wide announcements through channels where everyone is in the loop.

Better yet, carve out one-on-one meetings for engagement and productivity purposes. This is a chance for the team members to ask strategic questions to complete their tasks. At the same time, they serve to bond with your team members. With this, remote employees will feel like part of the organization and its direction.

Equip Employees with Right Tools for the Job

Motivate Remote Employees

The wrong technology, even in the best hands, can be a nuisance. They make even performing the simplest tasks onerous. This can be especially difficult in the remote workplace where there’s no IT personnel to assist in the tools and technology hurdles.

That’s why the right tools are essentially vital for a remote workforce. You want to ensure the team members have the essential communication tools and technology for video conferencing, chat tools, cloud storage.

Beyond communication, you want to ensure the team members can collaborate on projects effectively with the right project management tools. Offer to upgrade their home office hardware to better their work. With the right technology, the team has the highest potential to produce quality work while enjoying the experience of working from home.

Create Time for Casual Facetime

Working remotely can mean working in seclusion, away from other humans. So just seeing coworkers will build motivation and morale. Only that, most companies switch to facetime for work-related meetings. But it’s worth finding time to have non-related talks on facetime.

Some organizations do this by carving their first few minutes of a call for non-work-related matters and checking up on their team members. Others organize weekly virtual team bonding events such as virtual lunches, virtual happy hour, or home meal delivery perks which the team shares remotely.

Check out more team bonding activities you can use to motivate remote employees.

Host Virtual Team Building Activities and Games

Motivate Remote Employees

Few activities match team-building activities in motivating employees. Virtual team building activities include games, challenges, and exercises played on video platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet. Since they allow for a face-to-face opportunity, which is rare for the remote workplace, these activities build relationships, improve employee communication, and boost employee morale.

These activities, also called virtual team bonding activities, allow remote teams to spend time together, learn more about their colleagues, and enjoy each other's company away from work tasks. As your remote employees engage in these trust-building activities, interpersonal relationships are developed.

But just how vital are positive workplace friendships?

They affect the turnover rates. Individuals with workplace friends are more likely to do their job passionately and feel deeply connected with their companies. Working with people you like is ultimately more enjoyable. It improves employee satisfaction and strengthens workplace culture.

A recent study concluded that positive workplace relationships come second in the factors that affect job satisfaction after physical safety workplace conditions. Remote employees with positive relationships are more likely to motivate each other, celebrate achievements, and have fun in their work.

To help you build such rapport with your remote colleagues, you can coordinate these fun online team building events:

Virtual Bingo: The game is familiar and a little nostalgic, making it a perfect team-building activity for any conference call.

Two Truths One Lie: The fun of this familiar game is in learning about each other. The activity is conference call friendly and can also be great when onboarding a new team member.

Virtual Trivia: Virtual Trivia is a fun and challenging game that uses smart clues to connect the team. While you can host your own Virtual Trivia, it’s more fun if facilitated and specifically curated to build your unique team online.

Here is a Virtual Trivia to try.

War of the Wizards: Your team will enjoy this simple storytelling game. The game challenges team members to develop stories, cast spells, and overcome challenges together in 90 minutes. You will need an expert host to play this activity to a successful conclusion.

Virtual Murder Mysteries: This game is designed to challenge the team to collaborate to solve a mystery. It’s effective in fostering communication and collaboration as the team hunts for the murderer.

Learn more: Virtual Murder Mystery Games.

Virtual Scavenger Hunt: A fun and fast-paced virtual game that challenges your team to hunt for an item, and the first person to bring it back wins. To make it even more fun, challenge the team to show and tell a story about the item.

Virtual Werewolf: Werewolf is all about speaking, listening, and voting to survive. The game is one of the best virtual team-building games your team can play in a conference call.

Virtual Escape Rooms: Escape Rooms are a popular game for remote teams because they add the social element, foster teamwork, and use problem-solving skills. These activities are fun, highly interactive, and feel good to win.

Find a list of Virtual Escape Rooms.

Pancake vs. Waffles: The game is a friendly debate that focuses on unanimous decision-making. In small groups, the host will announce the debate like pancakes or waffles, and the team has to decide what stays. Within the next rounds, you will find the game scaling to existential questions.

Team Building Icebreakers: Begin your video conferencing calls with a round of icebreaker questions.

We have some Icebreakers Ideas for your remote team.

Virtual Truth or Dare: Want some great laugh? This Zoom team-building version will give you that and more. It challenges the team to show or do or tell something that seems more challenging.

Find some more fun virtual team-building activities to motivate your remote team.

Some Care Goes a Long Way

Motivate Remote Employees

Remote work may have seemed like the perfect solution to the long commute and hours in the office. But now, anyone who has experience working from home knows it has its share of challenges, perhaps more than the in-office workplace. The long working hours, the challenges separating work and personal life, increasing isolation, and the constant distraction all make getting anything done onerous.

Worse than this would be an employer who doesn’t empathize with the remote team members.

As a team lead, you want to set clear performance expectations based on output, not working hours. But most importantly, you also need to be flexible enough to accommodate the unending challenges that come with remote work. You mustn’t expect remote employees to work all day and night. Give them space to operate when they’re most productive.

Find some awesome volunteering activities to unite and take care of the team.

Trust Your Employees

There’s a level of ownership that comes with a manager having faith in you and your work. The employees feel inspired to make every effort to perform their best beyond deadlines. To do this, first clearly communicate the requirements of the task. Then, show faith in them completing the task efficiently, and on time.

Instill a Collective Purpose and Culture

People and teams are more energized and motivated when they’re contributing towards a purpose and working towards a shared goal. Unfortunately, this sense of cohesion can be challenging to maintain with a distributed team. What makes it even worse is if there’s friction in an individual’s expectations and contribution their work has to an organization.

As a manager, you need to give clear objectives and metrics an employee and team can work towards. You want to ensure each individual understands how what they do fits into the team’s collective goals.

Bottomline

As a manager, it’s your job to create a motivating environment for your remote employees to go the extra mile, offer radical ideas, and give their best in their work. That starts by incorporating strategies that shape the conditions under which they work. Use the points above to develop a highly motivated virtual team.

FAQs

What are some unique ways to motivate employees on remote teams?

The most unique ways to motivate remote teams should be challenging and fun. They push remote employees to go beyond their comfort zones and foster an environment to give their best at work. Some of these unique ways are team-building activities such as Murder Mysteries and Virtual Trivia, Mental and Wellness Care, and casual face-to-face time.

How do you motivate work from home employees?

The best motivation strategy for remote workers ensures they build positive relationships with the rest of the team. They create a productive and positively competitive work environment. To foster such an environment, the manager must be intentional to engage the remote employees in building friendships, which can build accountability and team spirit.

Why is it important for managers to motivate remote employees?

Companies that have invested in employee motivation have a more engaged workforce. Consequently, they see lower turnover. It is even more vital to motivate remote employees who work in isolation and may struggle to maintain high energy and consistency while working from home. Motivated employees feel part of the organization and that their efforts matter and are valued.

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