In today’s technological world, the number of remote workers is on the rise. Companies ranging from the very small to the very large are realizing the incredible value that remote workers bring to the table. From having access to the highest quality employees to saving bucket loads of money, a remote workforce is proving to be the secret ingredient to many businesses’ success.
In order to successfully employ remote workers, you will have to embrace the differences of this type of business model. One of the challenges faced with a virtual team is keeping workers motivated when you don’t see them on a daily basis. While the approach may be slightly different, the overall message is the same. Follow these tips, and your remote workers will feel motivated to work hard for you.
This post is the first of 8 in a series titled “8 Hacks to Get the Most Out of Your Remote Workers.” The series will cover 8 essential hacks that you can take to motivate, manage, and optimize the freelancers working for your company from outside of your office.
1. Ensure Remote Workers Feel Valued
Your remote workers are a part of your team and are directly related to the success of your business. It is critical that they are valued the same way you would value an employee that sat outside your office. Ask them for their opinions, include them in communications, and show interest in their personal lives. When employees feel valued, they will be dedicated to the success of your company. Their work will be higher quality, and they will go the extra mile to help you out when you need it.
2. Trust your Employees
It can sometimes be tempting to check in on your remote workers because you don’t physically see them working. You may wonder if the work is getting done. However, micromanaging will only send the message that you do not trust them. Nothing kills motivation as quickly as micromanaging. Unless a worker proves that they require a tighter leash, be confident that you chose well when you hired them. Give your employees clear task descriptions and due dates and request updates at key project milestones. In between updates, give your worker the space to do the work. After all, that is what you hired them to do. The bottom line is that trust builds motivation, and a lack of trust destroys it. Trust your employees, and they will trust you back.
3. Rewards and Recognition
Employee recognition is one of the best ways to motivate your workers. All employees desire recognition no matter where they do their work, and studies prove that rewarded workers show greater loyalty and are eager to give more. Recognition can be easily overlooked in a virtual environment, but forgetting to do so will result in low engagement and motivation. When you employ remote workers, it is always essential to let them know when they do a good job. It isn’t quite as easy as a pat on the back when they are miles away, but it can (and should) be done. Consider occasionally sending a physical reward or an online gift certificate when an employee delivers an excellent product. If you don’t have the resources to give a monetary reward, consider giving your remote worker a glowing recommendation or featuring them on your company blog. Your efforts will pay off big dividends when it comes to motivation.
4. Development and Promotion
Remote workers are often some of the smartest and most career oriented employees. They are driven and constantly looking for ways to improve their skills and attract clients. If you want to motivate great employees to continue working for you, look for ways to develop them professionally. Offer to mentor or coach your remote workers. Invest in advanced onboarding material for them. Build and cultivate a professional relationship that will motivate them to stay with you for the long haul.
Advancement is another key motivator for remote workers. Most workers (remote or not) will eventually lose motivation if there is no chance for promotion. It is important to let your remote workers know that they do have a career path with your business. Make it clear that future promotions are available and watch their performance soar.
5. Communication is Key
Communication can be tricky with remote workers, especially those in a different time zone. While it is sometimes impossible to have everyone working at the same time, being able to communicate efficiently is key to helping virtual teammates feel connected. Thanks to technology, it is easy to communicate with people around the world. It is important for employers to communicate and keep the entire team involved. Use technology to your advantage. While email and chat are great ways to communicate, regularly touch base via phone or video chat. Not only does this add in a more personal touch, your remote workers will feel more connected when they see your face and hear your voice. Connected employees will be more motivated because they feel the “human side” of you and your team.
The motivation of your employees is directly tied to your business’s bottom line. If your workers are not dedicated and engaged, it could mean the difference between success and failure. While the approach is slightly different with remote workers, there are many ways to motivate a virtual team. If you take the time to engage your remote workers and keep them motivated, your business as a whole will thrive.
Melissa Ricker is a nuclear engineer and a professional freelance writer specializing in career growth, technical writing and online entrepreneurship. She writes a blog, Engineered Motherhood, for working mothers who need help balancing career growth and time management.