How to Effectively Manage and Motivate Remote Workers

Lesley Vos

Lesley Vos

Lesley Vos

7 min. read

Updated October 25, 2023

Remote work becomes the new norm in the post-COVID world. While only 17 percent of U.S. employees used to work remotely and practice team communication before the “pandemic” status, their number has drastically increased now. For companies that are new to this state of things, one more challenge appeared:

It’s the need for alternative collaboration methods with employees for their better motivation, engagement, and performance.

Indeed, team communication becomes even more crucial when it has to do with remote employees. People can quickly become less proactive when working from home. All those uplifting statistics about remote employees’ 82 percent less stress and 86 percent more productivity are valid only if their employers’ collaboration processes are set right.

Here you’ll find the communication strategies to keep remote workers motivated and productive and your business — running smoothly.

The signs your remote team is not proactive

But first, how will you know your remote employees aren’t proactive? While there are some standard methods to monitor their productivity (time trackers with screenshots, video conferences, team communication via group chats, etc.), none tells you about employees’ motivations and work efficiency.

Do they know how to manage time? At the Bid4Papers blog, we revealed the set of time management skills to master so they would influence the overall performance. It’s not only about goal-setting and planning but self-awareness, patience, and stress management too.

Are they still on the same page with your business goals and plans? Are they satisfied with the communication and working environment you provide so they would feel motivated to do a job at their possibly highest level?

When communicating with the team and measuring their engagement, please pay attention to the following signs of a lack of motivation and productivity:

They seem helpless

Your remote employees are more reactive than proactive if you start hearing from them something like, “That will never work,” “We can’t do anything with that, it’s just the way it is,” and so on.

They demonstrate a victim mindset

Another sign of a proactivity and motivation lack is your team’s blame game. You might notice them feel like others do bad things to them, with no ability to change the situation. Alarm phrases are something like, “They never tell us about the updates,” “Why we have to deal with their mistakes,” etc. It’s a mindset a la “Everyone is stupid, except us.”

Your communication gets worse

If you notice a lack of open communication when talking to your employees, it’s a sign they aren’t proactive. It’s when they keep quiet about the problems they are facing, and you don’t know about them, so you can’t solve those problems to support your team. As a result, communication shuts down: Every member of your team works independently, with no further motivation to collaborate with colleagues.

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How to keep remote workers motivated

If any one of these signs reflects the current state of your remote team, here’s what you can do to change the situation.

1. Set clear goals and expectations via the proper communication channels

It makes sense that your team will be more motivated and proactive when they have a clear picture of what to do and why they need to achieve that. It’s not enough to set tasks; employees need to see those tasks’ purpose and their role in the overall business process.

Do your best to clarify the company goals to your employees. Help them understand why they work for you, what your company expects from them, and how their accomplished tasks correlate with your business goals.

Remember to choose the proper communication channels to send those messages to the team. Not only does your workforce become more dispersed with remote employees, but it also may get multi-generational. And while you might want to use one communication channel to interact with the team, it won’t be comfortable for everyone.

Some employees use nothing but a company network to find the information they need, while others may prefer voice calls or team chats, and that’s fine. Let remote workers use team collaboration channels that are right for them.

2. Build a growth mindset, giving your employees a say

Despite all the benefits remote work can bring, it requires tons of energy, self-discipline, and motivation. Your team members may feel lonely and disconnected in their wrongly organized home office, experience a low work-life balance, or be under stress. It’s critical to check in regularly and collect their feedback. Make it part of your company culture to give employees a say during your team communication sessions.

The way you communicate with your team impacts their morale and motivation by far. It would help if you assisted them in building a positive, growth mindset because that’s what drives people into action and helps them overcome the everyday challenges they face at work.

Why not organize self-development sessions online? You can try to overcome your webcam shyness and host such events yourself or ask experts in the field to share their tips on problem-solving and decision-making skills for your remote workers.

3. Communicate well and often

Overwhelmed with tons of information they get via different communication channels, employees may feel stressed and start ignoring newsworthy messages from you.

To deal with that, you need to share the correct information with them. When they work from home, it can be even more challenging for you to catch their attention; so, do your best to understand what they need — and communicate that info only.

Determine what communication channel they prefer:

  • Phone calls once a week to discuss the tasks and share feedback
  • Live chats, where AI chatbots may give the note, and you join in whenever required
  • Video calls to discuss how things are going and give every team member a say
  • Group chats in team messaging platforms, including small talks to get everyone engaged
  • One-on-one messaging, for discussing individual goals, tasks, and accomplishments

Communicate with team members via their preferred channels more often. Please encourage them to use remote workers’ tools for better time-saving, task management, and better performance.

And consider reliable instant messaging platforms to organize team goals and all the communication at its best.

4. Personalize your messages

As said, your remote workers deal with too much information. But it often happens that not all of them need to receive it. If you want to help your team stay proactive, make sure they focus on the essential info only.

Segment your employees and personalize your every message accordingly. Don’t let them get lost in the flood of information or spend time guessing what requires their attention. Tag team members only if your message relates to them.

5. Connect your remote and non-remote employees

When not all employees work in the same office, it’s too challenging for them to make personal connections. And as far as we know, workers tend to be more productive when feeling connected with the rest of the team. For better productivity of all your employees, please do your best to connect them via virtual communication.

Create a virtual booth where your team can get together with other employees and share insights, business trends, practices, or fun facts. Consider communication software that will allow them to share content and comment on it for better collaboration.

6. Allow time flexibility and recognize accomplishments

According to remote work stats on Flexjobs, greater flexibility is what has helped 85 percent of businesses increase their productivity. More than that, 90 percent of employees admit that a more flexible schedule boosts their morale and helps deal with work better.

Some of your team members may be from different time zones or prefer the lifestyle of digital nomads. With that in mind, why not think of a business model that supports the flexibility of location and work hours?

Organize your team communication with respect to the working schedules of all employees.

Also, remote work requires an entirely different mindset than working in an office, and some employees may struggle with that. Twenty percent of them lack a sense of belonging and feel disconnected from the rest of the company.

To motivate them even more and encourage their proactivity, make sure they feel recognized and valued: Share team and personal accomplishments with the rest of the company. For that, create a dedicated channel in your communication app where team leaders will share their employees’ outstanding performance.

Your methods will likely be different from other businesses

A new trend for remote work in the post-COVID world revealed the problem of demotivation and productivity lack among employees. Understanding that, companies look for different methods to communicate with remote workers for their better engagement and performance.

They measure team communication effectiveness, learn which communication channels work best, and adjust their collaboration with employees accordingly. Consider team communication tips outlined in this post, provide your remote employees with the required tools, and trust them to give their best for your business success.

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Content Author: Lesley Vos

Lesley is a freelance writer with experience in content marketing, blogging, and online tutoring. Contributing to publications on corresponding topics, she aims to help you find your passion and get the most out of it.