Finding motivation when you are a remote worker might seem easy, but there are actually many people who struggle with this. If you are a business owner or entrepreneur, you may be wondering, “How do I keep my team motivated in a remote work environment?”
There isn't a magic wand to this question, but there are stepping stones you can do now to make life easier for everyone. You can follow these simple steps and start educating your employees about how to be motivated to work from home.
Step 1: Help Develop A Daily Routine For Team Members
First, your remote workers need to develop a daily routine for themselves. Before their workday starts and after their workday ends, they need to have a routine that they can follow to set themselves up for the job and to relax afterward. It's important to personally try to balance your days for productivity.
Help support your employees with the right tools to make setting a personal schedule easier. Encourage employees to use Google Calendar or whatever calendar tool your business uses to schedule both work tasks and personal tasks. Do they have chaotic mornings of getting the kids ready for school? Do they need to walk their dog in the afternoon? Do they have a doctor’s appointment? Whatever it is, they need to put it on a schedule and have it be a part of their daily routine.
In addition to that, encourage your remote workers to start with the essentials when their working hours begin. For example, they will probably need to check their email, prepare their to-do list, get in touch with fellow colleagues, and check up with you.
Step 2: Motivate Your Remote Team To Dress Up
Since we're on the topic of routine, dressing up like you are going to go to the office is a good tip! Encouraging your team to dress up like they normally would in a physical office will help support their mindset as well as their routine. It's the age old saying of "if you look good, you feel good." Plus, it makes you feel human after being stuck indoors for so long.
Step 3: Be Considerate Of Meeting Times
One thing many business owners forget when working with remote workers is time differences and the basics just like when working in an office. Be sure to schedule meetings that aren’t too early when they aren’t even awake yet (time zone differences) and don't run over employee lunch hours. You want to brainstorm that new website launch when your team isn't hangry.
Step 4: Help Reduce Work Distractions
Distractions can be a huge problem for anyone who is just starting out as a remote worker and doesn’t have much experience to know what they should be doing in such a position. This is why it is important to educate and offer some solutions to your remote team about distractions. Reducing distractions can and should be done in several ways.
- First, each of your remote workers should have a workspace for themselves (i.e. a separate room at home, a coworking space). You can help set your remote worker up for success with office items they need in order to be successful (chair, desk, computer, etc.).
- Second, they need to make sure that there is limited distraction from others as much as possible (kids, family, pets). A few good tips are to encourage your remote workers to communicate a daily schedule with their spouses/partners to help decide who can take care of the kids (if applicable) in between meetings so there is less distraction. If it’s a pet you can encourage your team to close the door during meeting times to avoid a cute furry face (for a little bit). If it’s roommates or family ask them to not disturb you during specific times. You’ll also need to be empathetic and flexible too.
- Third, they need to ensure that their devices aren’t distracting them (social media, phone calls, email notifications). A good rule of thumb you can offer to your remote workers is to check their phone in the morning before work and to set it aside until lunch. Then after lunch put it away (out of sight, out of mind) never to be checked again until the end of the work day.
Step 5: Outsource Part of Your Team Work
At times, some of your remote workers might be unable to do their jobs for one reason or another. Perhaps they got sick or they went on vacation. This is when you won’t have enough people to finish the projects on time. The problem could also arise when you get too many deals with not enough people to complete the projects.
Outsourcing can be a lifesaver in such situations. Basically, you can hire freelancers to do part of the tasks for a reasonable price. For instance, you can hire a professional writer from a writing services reviews site who will finish your written pieces. This way, you will save time, money, and complete everything in due time without demotivating your remote workers.
Step 6: Schedule Regular Breaks For Team Members
Though you will be providing a lunch break for your remote workers, you should also think about offering regular breaks for them too. Do you remember that Google Calendar idea in #1? Use it! You’ll know when they are taking breaks and they also can schedule that into their daily routines.
Some employees will use these small breaks to get a coffee or snack while others will just take the time to clear their minds a bit before they go back to that monster excel sheet. It’ll be your job to encourage regular breaks, but also set boundaries of the time frame of what is acceptable. You don’t want them to disappear.
Step 7: Set Achievable Goals For Your Team
Setting achievable goals may not seem like something important but it is actually fundamental for you as a business owner. You need to make sure that your remote team isn't overworking themselves and can complete their daily tasks and projects in time.
To set achievable goals, look at your past experiences. How much has your team been able to do in one day on average? Are the projects you are working on the same as before? How complex are the projects? What will be the challenges? What are priorities? Answer these questions honestly and set a daily goal that is realistic for your team. A good rule of thumb is to encourage your team to set (and you can help set these too) three to four tasks that are priorities and should be completed that day. It’s a good goal and some employees might be able to complete more tasks, which is awesome!
Step 8: Over Communicate With Your Team
Communication is one of the most common pain points among companies of all types and sizes. By communicating effectively, you reduce the risk of having errors, ensure that everyone knows what they are doing, and prevent possible disasters both in the team and with the project. A good place to start is having managers set up one-on-one meetings on a weekly or bi-weekly basis with their teams to check in as well as use bigger meetings for more complex projects to discuss the details as a team.
You’ll also need to have internal communication guidelines about when it’s best to use your communication channels with others.
For example, imagine Jane needs to ask a simple question to John, that’s what Slack is ideal for and you should encourage that channel in your guidelines.
Additionally, don’t forget to explain the use of emails for sending lengthier pieces of information and big files. For example part of your guidelines might include using email for outside vendor communication.
Step 9: Reward Your Team
Once the goals you have set are achieved, you need to make sure to reward your team. This doesn’t just mean telling them how glad you are at the end of every day this also means you need to provide them with valuable rewards. Some ideas include offering your remote team more vacation days, bonuses, gift cards, and so on.
Step 10: Find The Right Remote Tools
Last but not least, you need to make sure that everyone uses the right tools. This doesn’t just mean a good messaging platform but also any other software your remote workers need to complete their tasks correctly.
To sum up, working from home may be stressful sometimes and you might struggle to motivate your remote workers, but following the tips above will definitely help you find an effective approach to the situation.
Need Help Hiring A Quality Remote Team?
You can learn more about the most influential tips and tools to make working remotely work. Read A Complete Guide to Working Remotely.