Motivating remote workers has become critical given the challenges of doing business during the COVID-19 crisis. The modern workplace, which once held the team together, is changing rapidly due to the pandemic.  This has resulted in a huge increase in telecommuting. Teams got scattered across communities locally and nationally due to a virus that threatened the health of employees and people in general.

The COVID-19 crisis has forced management to change their policies on work from home.  This led to remote work becoming a common trend that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Employees who have always found an office environment to be a motivation, are forced into increased isolation due to the novel coronavirus.

Driving performance at a distance to increase productivity is a challenge that many managers face. Especially since remote working is a drastic change in the work-life of many employees.

Flexible work arrangements have become a widely accepted form of work-life balance during the COVID-19 crisis.  Thus, motivating employees who telework has become a necessity.

Strategies to keep remote workers motivated

Remote working during a pandemic and remote working in a more normal environment, are two different things. When you choose to work from home a day or two in a week, you have the flexibility and the freedom to choose to go to the office if you please.  This allows you to meet people and socialize, which helps you in team building. Telework during a pandemic is different. Stay at home orders and other safety measures across the country have affected many lives.  People are required to social distance, leading to anxiety and depression in addition to other health problems. This continues even as many areas have been reopening.

There is a rising demand for employers to understand workers during this period of fear and uncertainty and find ways to motivate them. Here are some strategies that can help you with motivating remote workers.

• Define a communication strategy

Faced with an increase in the number of employees telecommuting, communication has become an increasing challenge. As a manager, you must define a clear communication strategy. It should enable you and the rest of the team to communicate with each other while maintaining social distancing.

• Set achievable goals

Remote work takes time to process, and the task of performing the responsibilities might take some time to get adjusted to. Further, working alone with other distractions can reduce productivity. By setting achievable goals, you can motivate your workforce to strive harder to achieve the best result.

• Keep your focus on the big picture

In the middle of a crisis, the big picture is ensuring that your team is focused and understands how to perform their responsibilities. You must empower them to make decisions and engage in teamwork. Encourage collaboration with remote teammates through email, phone conversations and video conferencing as appropriate.

• Celebrate small achievements

Small achievements hold great value as your team will be motivated to perform their best when they know that their achievements are valued. Working remotely, many employees feel unappreciated, and celebrating small achievements can boost their morale. Recognize individual and team successes on conference calls, social media, and other company communications.

• Provide virtual training

It is vital to ensure that training and development do not take a backseat. Find opportunities to offer online training to your employees to ensure that they are provided with all the tools and knowledge to perform their responsibilities.

A large majority of people who work remotely struggle with loneliness, which decreases their productivity.  Further, not all employees stay focused and contribute effectively to teamwork. In addition to the above, a manager who works to reduce the stress and anxiety of employees who work from home can  motivate them to perform their best.

Keep your employees safe and motivated!

Check out Work from Home Tips and CDC Guidelines on staying safe at work during the COVID-19 crisis.