7 Ways to Effectively Manage and Motivate a Remote Workforce

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Smriti Rajan comes from a political science and literature background, having an immense passion for writing across varied topics. She has written several articles and blogs for diverse audiences worldwide. She has produced several research publications, policy frameworks, and opinion pieces for think tanks, government institutions and corporates. Alongside this, she writes for a large Fortune 500 clientele and is a key contributing writer for Wikistrat on their EMEA desk. Currently, she resides in India.

2020 is the year for remote workforce as Remote Working has become the new reality today. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has revolutionized the remote workplace and resulted in a mandatory shift to Work from Home. Many businesses, small and large, have adapted to remote working during this global health crisis and added it to their policies as well. 

This mandatory switch to remote working without much transition time has proved to be challenging for both the employees and companies. Many organizations are now investing in technology to build a smooth digital workflow between employees and their managers. During this unprecedented time, as many employees feel disconnected from their co-workers, there are a few things you can do to engage your employees and keep them motivated and boost their morale. 

Here are 7 ways to effectively manage and motivate a remote workforce:

1. Communicate & Check-in 

Regular communication is the key to successful management of a remote workforce. Good communication enables all the information about projects, tasks, and procedures to be available to the team members. Communication is critical now more than ever, and without providing correct information, workers can become overwhelmed. Conduct virtual meetings from time to time to take updates and ensure that things are on track. Furthermore, establishing regular check-ins and facilitating communication will keep your workforce connected and clear about what’s going on. Also, schedule some regular time with employees for casual discussions, unrelated to work. This will mean you care about your employees by taking interest in their daily activities by checking in. 

2. Encourage team building activities

Create a platform for your employees to share personal and also professional updates. Assign collaborative tasks weekly or fortnightly, encouraging team members to work together and stay connected. Furthermore, to boost their moods, you can create virtual team activities like online multiplayer games, Pictionary, virtual quizzes, etc. While we may not be able to get in groups for activities, there are still some great ways you can promote team building virtually online. You might also consider organizing a trivia party, online karaoke. Investing in technological tools like virtual conferencing software and other collaborative tools, you can build an online community for employees to facilitate professional and personal conversations to keep everyone engaged. This will enable employees to feel a sense of belonging, and motivate them to be more productive. 

3. Promote health & wellness

Health and safety are both major concerns for a remote workforce. Ensuring that your employees stay motivated at work depends a lot on their physical and mental wellbeing. With the current pandemic situation, maintaining good health has become highly important.  Staying indoors for long periods is severely going to impact their mental and physical health. So, as a company, you can encourage your employees to chalk out time for caring about their physical and mental fitness. Sharing fitness goals and promoting meditation, yoga ideas, or anything else to inspire them will go a long way in ensuring that your employees are taking care of themselves. 

Recently, Starbucks announced it would expand mental health benefits to include up to 20 therapy sessions for all employees. 

4. Recognize employee efforts 

Working from home makes employees feel isolated and less connected. Therefore, recognizing their efforts and achievements can boost confidence. This is quintessential for the overall success of the organization. When you acknowledge your employees for their outstanding work on time, they feel rejoiced for their contributions. It fuels their zeal to do better and earn appreciation from their managers and peers. They feel a sense of accomplishment that makes them feel engaged and motivates them to do their best. You should also offer praise and recognition to your employees and team members whenever required. Many employees rely on praise and recognition to keep their confidence up.

5. Support work breaks 

Staring at a computer screen all day every day can lead to headaches, tiredness, and other issues that can seriously hamper your mood and health. As an employer, you should take it upon yourself to encourage your remote workforce to take regular breaks. Employees should also take their lunch break away from their screens. This way they are less likely to experience any symptoms associated with continuous screen time. Taking breaks will help employees stay fit, focussed, and more productive. This also fosters a healthy work spirit. 

6. Embrace work flexibility and define clear goals 

For most employees, WFH is to manage both – office work and household chores. Manager’s micromanaging the “office time” can make employees feel burdened and anxious. Here, providing flexibility can prove more effective in managing your remote employees. By allowing flexible work hours, you can ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to take care of their families, thus improving overall productivity. In fact, in a study by FlexJobs, 76% of workers say they would stay with a company if they offered flexible work hours. 

ALSO READ: How to Provide More Employee Flexibility in the New Work Reality?

Furthermore, provide your employees with a clear objective and overall timeline to achieve that objective. This way, the employees will feel more motivated to achieve their objectives. The key to managing remote teams successfully is meaningful goal-setting. Set clear deliverables and specific metrics that will enable you to track outcomes and measure results effectively. 

7. Offer constant feedback

Employees require real-time and continuous feedback to grow and improve. Fostering a culture of open and honest feedback for your remote employees will motivate them to be more involved and progressive in their approach. For a successful and motivating feedback system, managers can organize a one-on-one session with their team and offer their insights on the employee’s performance. Conduct periodic surveys to check with employees about what employees are thinking, feeling, and doing. Understanding what your people are going through will give you clarity about how you should deal with any situation at work. 

Final Thoughts

Thanks to technology, working from home can now be remarkably productive and plain sailing. It is not only the role of the top management, HR, or managers but also of the employees to make these measures success and emerge through this situation as stronger than before.

By supporting your staff, you can ensure that your business continues to operate smoothly. Boosting morale during this time is all about showing you care, remaining hopeful, finding reasons to celebrate, and making our current conditions feel as normal as possible.

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