Ian Edwards, COO and Co-founder of Beeliked, shares top tips to manage and keep remote teams engaged and how to motivate your employees to work effectively.
With many office-based employees likely to be working from home for the foreseeable and remainder of 2021, it is important for businesses to keep their teams engaged
Recent events have provided amazing examples of how successful remote work can be and technology has played a huge role in making that possible. Yet in spite of this success, organisations still find it difficult to address socialising, team building, and networking challenges. If you want a highly motivated and effective workforce though, management should start now to engage with remote teams in different and meaningful ways.
Here are 15 tips as a good way to start:
- Define goals
Nearly 75 percent of employees say they put in more effort than is required when working from home. But in order for that to happen, employers must set clear and measurable goals about their duties and responsibilities. Establishing structured timelines for check-ins, creating realistic expectations, and defining cultural norms helps remote workers envision success—and achieve it.
- Strong and effective communication
Poor communication delays projects, affects revenue, and decreases employee engagement. Strong managerial communication skills can prevent remote employees from feeling unclear and/or discouraged. Regular, scheduled communications that focus more on results, not employee activity, is empowering for people who work from home. While there will be the occasional employee who needs more oversight, most people perform best when they feel trusted to get the job done.
- Promote a cohesive company culture
It’s natural to feel disconnected when working from home. Virtual communities can go a long way in increasing productivity, engagement, and retention. And when employees are fully aligned with a common mission and goals, they remain motivated and focused on the task at hand. Culture is the heart of an organisation. Building and maintaining it with remote workers is challenging, but it’s key to keeping your business moving forward.
- Provide positive recognition
Recognition and praise are vital components of a successful remote workforce. Along with frequent communication, it’s important to make sure employees working from home also feel recognised and valued. Simple things like a quick email, text, or public shout-out can go a long way in keeping them engaged. Regularly providing positive reinforcement ensures remote employees put their best foot forward in terms of delivering exceptional work quality.
- Provide consistent feedback
Feedback is different from reinforcement in that it’s a two-way street. Effective feedback for remote employees should be consistent and reliable, regardless of how a team member is performing. Structure is key to providing feedback that results in greater productivity and improved results. To keep the working relationship healthy and productive, management should arrange set times for meeting with remote team members to hear suggestions, get updates, and offer support. Some organisations find success by encouraging employee-to-employee feedback and/or assigning mentors for new hires or workers transitioning to a new position.
- Quickly address technical problems
There’s always going to be technical issues employees need to deal with, but remote workers can feel they’re left to their own devices to solve them. When problems do arise, make sure employees are kept in the loop.
- Equip employees with the right tools
Video conferencing, communication, and project management tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, as well as HR tools like Slack, keep remote employees engaged not only with the organisation but each other.
- Encourage knowledge sharing
Vital for both employee development and an organisation’s success, knowledge sharing ensures everyone is using the same information to perform their tasks. Employees should be encouraged to share their learned experiences so others can profit from them.
- Be present
Good remote management is more than tracking work progress. Periodic video calls that cover work and personal topics such as how an employee is coping with remote work are extremely motivating.
- Promote health and wellbeing
Physical and mental health are key to making sure remote employees stay motivated. Wellness apps, motivational meetups or newsletters, and regular check-ins keep employees focused on their own well-being.
- Encourage creativity
What’s effective in the office doesn’t always translate to working from home. Allow remote employees to experiment with new ways of doing things; they may just come up with a better approach that works in the office, too!
- Encourage continuous engagement
Modern communication tools make it easy to instantly share information and updates within the organisation. Encourage remote employees to stay engaged with their co-workers through these tools.
- Use surveys
As opposed to feedback sessions, surveys can be anonymous, and employees may share more honestly. Surveys should be relevant to and include questions specific to working from home.
- Offer career growth opportunities
Even remote employees need to know there’s an opportunity to advance within the organisation. Giving employees who work from home a fair shot at career advancement can be as simple as management developing a strategy for noticing the impact a remote worker has on the organisation’s success. It’s also important to remember that advancement is not always about office management positions. Many remote workers want the opportunity to advance in their particular field, say from the customer service manager to director of customer service, a position with more responsibility, input, and compensation.
- Embrace gamification
Virtual team-building activities give a sense of belonging to employees. Gamification is one of the main strategies organisations can use in multiple ways to recognise, reward, and motivate remote employees to reach higher performance goals. It’s important to align recognition with rewards with performance. Use things like employee incentives, too, to acknowledge employee accomplishments.
About the author
Ian Edwards is the Co-founder and COO of Beeliked, a software company based in London assisting organizations to engage, inspire, incentivise and reward their employees using interactive gamified promotions.