Organizations worldwide are adjusting to new work trends, and remote working is the new norm for some businesses.
Presently, 70% of workers work from home full-time, partially in some parts of the world. Though it is proving to be a successful work module, there are some difficulties in managing and motivating remote employee groups.
Given the unpredictability of things, many companies need to develop a definitive method of managing everyday problems while running a business remotely. In addition, they need to find new and innovative ways to keep their employees motivated and focused amidst the constantly changing work trends.
How do you keep your employees focused remotely?
To keep your employees focused and motivated even in a remote setup, as a manager, you need to provide them with the necessary tools to create a nurturing work environment and keep them productive.
It's no secret that keeping employees motivated has a considerable impact on the organization's success, and even more so in a remote setup where you are not physically present in the same office.
We've listed down some of the key tools and techniques that will help you keep your team on track to being more productive and motivated while they work remotely.
Make the most of digital tools
If you are a small business, it may be possible to keep tabs on what project every individual employee is working on and at what stage the project is currently.
However, when you're dealing with a large number of employees and multiple projects simultaneously, keeping track of everyone's progress can become difficult.
A great way to streamline your projects and keep track of deadlines is using the different online project management tools. Most of these software's are cloud-based and do not require you and your team to be in the same place to use them.
These tools can help track deadlines, check which projects are currently running, and check every team member's contribution and progress to its success. These tools also allow for transparent communication and coordination between teams so that everyone is on the same page regarding projects.
Check out this list of helpful productivity tools and software for remote teams.
Have a Determined Mindset and Goals
The only way to grow a company is to know your goals clearly. Otherwise, you may often feel like you don't know the direction in which your company is heading. In a remote company, especially, it is vital to determine company goals, so everyone is on the same page, working towards the same goals.
Additionally, it's crucial to inculcate a growth mindset in your employees, which inspires them to strive to progress in their careers and contribute to the company's growth.
Damian Grabarczyk, the co-founder of PetLab Co., says, “Clear goals provide a sense of purpose and direction, helping remote workers prioritize tasks and manage their time effectively. Well-defined goals enable regular performance evaluation, feedback, and recognition, which can further boost motivation and job satisfaction among remote team members.”
“Ultimately, setting and communicating clear goals is a fundamental practice for remote work success, ensuring that employees remain driven and committed to achieving their objectives.”
Implement Employee Reward Programs
Remote working can often make employees feel like their hard work is not recognized, which leads to them losing motivation as they think their efforts are not appreciated.
Introducing an Employee Recognition Program will not only make them feel their efforts are recognized and rewarded, but it will make them feel valued, happier, and more productive.
Another considerable risk with remote employees is that they often leave their jobs because it's hard to feel like part of a team while working from home. But applauding their achievements will make them feel seen and want to contribute more to its success.
Trust is Key
Managers can often keep track of their employees in the office by going on mini rounds of the office and chit-chatting with different teams. However, these mid-day check-ins are not possible in a remote working environment. Hence, it's common for business owners and managers to micromanage their employees.
Instead, we recommend trusting your employees with managing their work and letting them approach you if they need your help. You hire remote employees for a reason, and you need to trust that they will deliver the results you need without constant supervision.
Instead of micromanaging, try to build a solid relationship with them. Inquire about their family and life outside work. If your employees feel like they can connect with you, they will be less hesitant to approach you with questions or ask for your help if necessary.
Invest Time In Communication
Working with people in the same office space makes it easy to understand their characters, personalities, and body language. Therefore, it's easier to communicate with them. However, in a remote office, you need to put in the extra effort to understand your employees without spending time with them physically.
As much as possible, schedule group and individual video meetings to ensure a clear communication channel, as sometimes, with written communication, things can get lost in translation. In addition, there are many free video conferencing software out there, such as Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet.
If possible, try to get everyone to have their videos on during these meetings, as actually seeing someone will help you build a better rapport, and try to understand your team better through non-verbal cues.
We also suggest setting aside some time in these meetings for non-work-related conversations. Better yet, schedule a weekly/monthly meeting where your remote team can bond outside work.
Take Your Employees’ Opinions Into Consideration
You want to create a comfortable working environment for your virtual workforce in the long run. Therefore, it's also essential to take your employees' opinions into account while making decisions regarding its work culture.
Encourage your employees to reach out to you at any time with their ideas, opinions, and feedback they might have. Also, make it clear to them that they can communicate any problems they might be facing with you.
Suppose they feel uncomfortable discussing these things with you openly. In that case, there are many private and public survey tools available online, which you can use to collect feedback on how you can improve the quality of work for your team.
Not only will this make your employees feel valued, but creating a work environment they feel comfortable working in will increase their productivity.
Conduct Performance Reviews
Having regular performance reviews is beneficial for your employees and the company's growth. A quarterly or bi-annual review of their progress can help you understand where they excel and which areas they need to improve.
Having this information in hand will help you guide your employees in the right direction. For example, if they lack some skill, you can invest in upskilling them. Or if there's some area of their work they are perfect in, you can entrust them with more responsibility in that area.
That helps them utilize their time in the company more efficiently and effectively.
Provide Constructive Feedback
As we mentioned earlier, performance reviews matter.
However, while managing remote employees, you must know how to convey feedback without hurting your employees' feelings.
While feedback is critical to improving the quality of their work, if not delivered correctly, it can make your employees feel undervalued and unmotivated to produce better results.
Instead of focusing on the negatives, try to point out areas where they've done well. And instead of blaming them for the things they haven't done, work together to create a strategic plan on how they can improve in those areas.
Additionally, let them know that you appreciate them whenever they do a good job, as this makes them feel like you care about their work.
Create a Sense of Purpose
Try to install a sense of purpose in the minds of your employees to make them feel like they are working towards a bigger goal. Try to communicate the company's values and the positive impact their work will have on the world.
Include these themes in regular communication with your team, so the message of the company's values is instilled in them and reflects in their work ethic.
"You don't build a business. You build people, and then the people build the business."
Remote work is the future, and the sooner companies adapt to it, the better. It's crucial to remember that motivating your employees is a process that can't happen overnight. Implement these simple yet effective steps into your managerial style, and you'll see positive results.