Akixi share some key lessons for increasing motivation when managing remote teams.
For most businesses, the initial hurdle on the road to remote work happened back in 2020.
Driven by the rules of social distancing that emerged with the pandemic, companies closed the doors of traditional offices and contact centres in search of something new. Almost overnight, countless organisations moved from on-premises environments to technology in the cloud.
The good news? For the most part, the shift to remote work was a positive one. Many business leaders discovered that with the right tools and technology, their employees could be just as productive from home as they were in the office – if not more so.
However, there are some issues with the remote landscape too.
For instance, how can you maintain staff motivation levels at a time when people only see each other over video call?
Why Is Motivation at Work Important?
At first, staff motivation might not seem like the most important metric for teams to measure.
Many companies are still heavily focused on KPIs like first call resolution and customer satisfaction. But we’re rapidly discovering that no company can thrive without motivated and engaged members of staff.
Staff motivation refers to the level of energy, commitment, and creativity each person puts into their work each day.
Learning the importance of motivation in the workplace, and how to cultivate it in the new world of work is crucial for businesses who want to thrive. If your team members aren’t motivated, then they’re not going to be enthusiastic about their work, or willing to go above and beyond for the customer.
In an office environment, encouraging motivation is simple enough. Team leaders and supervisors can walk around a physical space checking up on employees. Team members can track their performance on a shared wallboard at the front of the room. Everyone is connected in the same environment.
In a remote space, it’s much harder to keep an eye on the attitudes and activities of your employees. So, how do we adapt to this new environment?
1. Set Clear Expectations
To discover the benefits of motivated employees for organisation success, the first step companies need to take is to set expectations. For instance, most remote workers expect that they’ll have more freedom in their schedule when working remotely.
However, if you require your staff members to be engaged and responsive during specific hours each week, then you need to make sure they know this. Let your teams know how you’re going to be checking in on their engagement levels too.
For instance, if you require your people to have their status set to ‘available’ on your cloud applications for a certain number of hours each day, they should be aware of this.
As the workplace changes and the expectations you have of your team members evolve with it, keep your staff in the loop. Make sure they know how they’re going to have to work if they want to impress you.
2. Maintain Ongoing Communication
Employees are naturally more motivated at work when they feel as though they’re part of the team. Unfortunately, remote working practices can make it easy to forget that you belong to a larger group.
Remind your staff that they’re not alone, by encouraging regular connection and communication.
Connect both remote and in-office workers regularly using video conferencing tools. Make sure that your team also has the right resources in place to communicate in different ways.
For instance, you might need an environment where your staff can share screens and files when dealing with complex projects. Chat environments where people can stay constantly connected while they work are helpful for building camaraderie.
Remember that the communication in your business doesn’t have to be entirely work-based to be valuable. Even watercooler chat and general discussions between your workers will help them to feel like they’re a more significant part of the full company family.
3. Prioritise Accomplishments Over Activity
For some time now, companies have assessed productivity and performance by measuring the number of hours or minutes someone spends on a project. However, to achieve better staff motivation, companies need to remember that it’s the outcomes that count more than the processes.
Though working from home can be a distracting experience for some, micromanaging your employees’ seat time is one of the worst ways to keep any staff member on-task. Encourage accomplishment by giving your employees specific goals to work towards.
Supervisors will have a much easier time keeping their employees on-task in a remote environment if they’re using accurate analytics and reporting strategies to showcase important metrics to team members.
The information you gather from your analytics tools can be presented through a wallboard to give your team a sense of accountability.
When your employees can see evidence that they’re working as well as their peers, or that they’re achieving their personal goals, they’ll stay inspired and focused.
4. Get Personal
Some staff members will be more suited to the world of remote work than others. Employees who struggle with finding a dedicated place they can work from at home might have a harder time staying on-task than their peers.
For these employees, it might be important to set up a hybrid working landscape where they can come to the office if they need to stay focused.
The only way to determine what kind of tools and solutions your employees need to remain motivated and productive is to talk to them individually.
Although you can get a good overview of the current health of the team using analytics, you’ll need to speak to individual staff to learn if some employees have more concerns than others with working from home.
Give your team members the chance to talk to their supervisors about their needs regarding remote work. It’s also worth ensuring that there’s a system in place for your team members to deliver regular feedback about their remote working experiences.
Asking for reviews on matters such as the kind of tools you’re using, and the scheduling strategies you attempt will help your remote strategy to evolve over time.
5. Provide Regular Feedback and Recognition
One of the most important considerations for staff motivation in any environment is access to regular feedback. Employees in all environments need feedback to inform them when they’re doing something well, or when they need a little help moving in the right direction.
Remember that negative feedback needs to be delivered carefully.
Let your team member know that you’ve been noticing a drop in their work quality or performance in a private setting, rather than bringing it up during a group meeting. Discuss the things that your employee might be struggling with in this new environment and come up with a solution together.
When you’re rewarding people for good work and offering positive feedback, think about the kind of response that your employees would appreciate most.
Some people will love being called out for their great work as part of a group video conference at the end of the workday. Other people who are more introverted might prefer a private message instead.
Feedback will help you to positively direct the motivation levels of your staff towards the activities that will have the best outcomes for your team and your business in general. However, everyone has different needs when it comes to recognition and professional review.
Managing and Motivating Your Remote Workforce
The remote workforce could be a powerful step forward to a more flexible future for businesses. Whether you decide to go fully remote and reduce your overheads significantly as a result, or you decide on a hybrid environment, you’ll need the right strategy in place.
It’s crucial not to underestimate the importance of motivation and engagement for employees no longer working in the office.
As your team shifts into a new working landscape, be open to the idea that you might need to change your management strategies and collect more data to see what’s really working.
The more time you spend in this new remote space, the more insight you’ll gain to help you transform your workplace.