Remote work is exploding. According to studies, remote working has grown over 170% since 2005! It’s more cost-efficient, saving businesses over $10,000 per year, and workers can be more productive if they are given the freedom to work where they want. However, that doesn’t mean you can slack off as a manager. Just like office workers, remote workers may need to be motivated, especially if the industry you work in is mentally taxing.
There are tons of different industries that can work remotely. From marketing, sales, or even call centers for things like customer service, remote work can be applied to almost any job. Having the flexibility to work remotely can help you scale your business much faster than requiring all employees to be in an office. That being said, it raises new challenges that you need to be equipped to deal with.
There are many ways you can motivate your remote workers, no matter where they are located in the world. Below, we will highlight some popular ways you can make sure your remote team is firing on all cylinders.
Build a Relationship With Your Remote Workers
One of the first things you need to do is establish a relationship with your remote employees. Since they likely aren’t in an office setting much at all, it’s important to make sure they feel like you really care.
Take time to meet with your team, even if it’s just a few times per month. Showing you care for their personal development as well as how they are performing at work can go a long way.
Have a Recognition System in Place
Even if your workers are located all around the world, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reward and recognize them for the hard work they’ve done! It’s critical to have a recognition system in place for employees who exceed expectations.
The great thing about having a recognition system in place is that it doesn’t have to cost money. While you can purchase gifts or prizes for employees, consider just shouting them out in the company call, or mentioning their performance in a company-wide email.
Now obviously, if an employee constantly overperforms, you may end up promoting them, which does cost money in a sense. But on the flip side, they’re taking on more responsibilities and ultimately driving more revenue for the company.
Clearly Define Goals
Having a set of clearly defined goals is absolutely critical to having a great remote team. Jobs can be hard enough, even when you’re in the office, and your job as a manager is to make sure everyone knows what is expected of them.
At the beginning of each quarter, you should have one on one meetings with your employees, and set some clearly defined and attainable goals. Customize these goals on a per-employee basis, as not all employees are the same.
Offer Training and Personal Development
This is somewhat related to building a relationship with your employees, but having training sessions in place can greatly benefit your workers. Pinpointing your employee’s weak spots, and working on an individual basis shows you want them to be the best they can be.
Help your employees learn new skills through workshops, online training, and in-person sessions. Some companies fly their remote employees in for one week per year, and host a company-wide training and development workshop, or go on a company retreat with a little learning mixed in as well.
One of the biggest things employees look for in a job is the level of professional development. Your manager should be actively preparing you for any future endeavors you may choose to go on, rather than restricting you.
Don’t Track Time or Micromanage
One of the biggest pet peeves of remote workers is the feeling that they are being watched or micromanaged. Instead of fixating on how much time your employees are working, focus on the projects themselves and the quality of work.
Would you rather your employee complete 10 “okay” projects a week, or 3 really high-quality ones? Typically, quality over quantity will win out. Worry about what your employees produce, not on how long it takes them.
Now, it’s perfectly okay to track time for payroll purposes, especially if an employee is owed overtime. In fact, I’m sure they would prefer you to track their time in that case! There are tools you can use, such as Time Doctor to help easily manage your entire remote team’s time!
Be Flexible on When They Work
Let’s face it, everyone works in different ways. If your business allows it, let your employees work when they feel they will be the most productive. Some people are night owls and work best late at night, while others are morning people who find their most productive time is early in the morning. Granted, this can depend greatly on where your employee is located and the nature of their job.
Be Highly Communicative
One of the biggest problems with remote workers is the difficulty of communicating with your team. With people located all over the world, it can be difficult to keep track of everyone. Over-communicate with your teams through tools like Slack or Google Hangouts.
You need to be careful here though, because over-communicating can be a problem also. Trust your employees, but make sure you keep them in the loop as to what is going on in your business.
Give Them the Right Tools
If you have a remote team, you need to get them the equipment to help them succeed. From hardware (like a quality laptop or desktop) to software (like collaboration tools), this is the framework for having a productive workforce.
If your employees have to restart their computers every hour, or it crashes when they have too many tabs open, their productivity will decline. By making the initial investment in their resources, it will empower them and their productivity will be higher.
Managing a remote team can be a challenge, but it’s nowhere near impossible. If you follow these steps, you too can easily run a remote team. Remote workers are a very valuable asset to your organization, and it all starts by being a great remote manager.