A remote team comprises employees or independent contractors who work and live in different geographical locations but still work together to achieve a common business goal for the employer. Remote work is defined as any work performed away from a physical office location. The past two years have taught us that employees can do their job and stay productive and connected to their team and office from anywhere, whether they are on the road or at home, thanks to remote work.
The research and consulting service, Global Workplace Analytics, reports that "surveys showed 80% of employees want to work from home at least some of the time." The same organisation estimates that, by the end of 2021, up to 30% of the global workforce will be working from home several days a week. If managers do not know how to manage remote teams and keep them motivated, they may feel like they have been thrown into the deep end.
What is a motivated team?
A motivated team is a team that consciously and intentionally gives its best effort to a professional task.
Behaviors portrayed by a motivated team
Motivated employees are highly adaptable, especially when it comes to change, and they maintain a positive attitude at work. They aid in the spread of a companys good reputation, the reduction of absenteeism, and the improvement of performance and profit. They also work harder and with a greater sense of urgency to achieve their goals than unmotivated people.
Benefits of working remotely
Despite the initial reluctance of more traditional-minded leaders to invest in remote work as a viable workforce option, most people now agree that it has key advantages.
Benefits of remote work include:
- Increased employee engagement
- Greater productivity
- Reduced turnover
- Positive employer brand
- Lower overhead costs
- Wider talent pool to recruit from.
Remote work statistics
Research proves time and time again the positive impact remote work can have on both employees and businesses. Understanding how remote work impacts your teams will help you better address potential problems and prioritize the things that matter most to your employees—and that will make the most significant difference in long-term performance and engagement.
Click here to see remote work statistics illustrating what the present and future of remote work might look like.
How to keep your remote team motivated
- Make sure expectations are clear
Your team will be more motivated to complete your project if they understand why they are working on it and what is expected.
- Do not be afraid to over-communicate
Overcommunicating does not imply sending emails or status updates regularly. Keep your team up to date on any new initiatives, and give them space as further information (and emotions) emerge. Update them as things change to ensure they have the context required and facilitate cross-functional conversations to ensure all stakeholders are on the same page.
- Trust your employees
The fact that employees are a part of your team indicates that you have faith in them. Treating remote employees as their only goal is to earn company money for doing nothing harms collaboration and engagement. It is vital that you show that you trust them to make them motivated.
- Make yourself available
Remote work can feel isolating, and this is never more true than when someone on your team is struggling. In fact, according to the Anatomy of Work Index, employees that feel supported and have clarity on how their work impacts the rest of the team are two times as motivated as their counterparts. When you create space for your team to be authentic, youre helping them get their best work done.
- Create Structures
Predictability and structure are essential for workplace productivity. It is easy for employees to become disconnected when they work in different locations. Establishing a team rhythm can help to reduce this. Meetings should have a clear timetable, and employees should be aware of what others are doing to understand their place in the process.
- Establish rules of engagement
Remote work becomes more efficient and satisfying when managers set expectations for their teams communication frequency, means, and optimal timing. Establish expectations about the best times of day for team members to contact their manager (possibly you) and for the manager to contact each team member. Also, make sure that your peers are sharing information as needed.
- Focus on outcomes, not the activity
Allow your employees to experiment. Setting clear goals and desired outcomes, then allowing employees (who have the necessary training and resources to execute) to develop an execution plan increases creativity and ownership. Micromanaging people in a remote environment is already difficult.
- Provide all necessary resources
Many remote teams now require new laptops, improved WiFi, and cutting-edge technology such as headsets and webcams. This may necessitate reallocating already constrained budgets to critical tools. If an employee sees that you are investing in their success, they will get more motivated.
- Remove obstacles
Some of the new and unexpected challenges that remote employees face are as follows: Physical and emotional isolation, distractions at home pulling them in different directions, and children involved in homeschooling are all factors to consider. If you make efforts to help, them eliminate these obstacles, they will become more motivated.
- Do Not overload employees
When employees are co-located, it is easier for managers to notice when an employee is overburdened. You may see that the employee does not eat lunch or leaves late every day. With remote employees, you dont always have this kind of insight. Employees may become overburdened if proper precautions are not taken. Keep an eye on your employees to ensure that they do not feel overwhelmed to keep them motivated.
- Show flexibility
Every team member comes from a unique home environment. Some will have husbands and wives, as well as children. Some will not. Some will have private home offices, while others will hold meetings in their closets, bedrooms, or bathrooms. Some of them may be at Starbucks. Some people may be having difficulties in their relationships. The point is that a manager must understand each employees unique circumstances. Be prepared to adjust to make your employees feel more comfortable getting their work done.
- Provide Feedback
Remote employees cannot interact with you informally in the same building, allowing you to provide both formal and informal feedback. Furthermore, because they may not have the opportunity to observe how others do things, they may be constantly concerned about their ability to meet the standard. This necessitates that you be deliberate in your feedback.
Be Ready To Deal With Technical Problems
Most companies have an in-house technical team dedicated to resolving any technical issues that their employees may encounter. On the other hand, remote teams may be geographically dispersed, necessitating a unique arrangement for dealing with technical challenges.
As a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that your team is not slowed down because one of its members cannot complete their tasks due to technical difficulties. Another option is to provide a backup by paying for access to a shared workspace from which employees can work while their problems are being resolved.
The best way to keep your team motivated is to keep them connected, encourage them to be authentic, and show your support regardless of where you all work.
Fadzai Danha is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a managÐµmÐµnt and human rÐµsourcÐµs consulting firm. PhonÐµ +263 242 481946-48/481950 or Ðµmail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our wÐµbsitÐµ at www.ipcconsultants.com