Water cooler conversations, team lunches, after-work drinks, office banters, and everyday buzz with colleagues in a standard office setting boost employee morale. However, the nature of remote working means that telecommuters miss out on the benefits of these everyday workplace activities. So, what morale boosters for remote employees should you keep in mind to ensure a healthy work environment for your virtual team?
In this post, we have dug deep to reveal some foolproof tips on motivating remote employees, ranging from frequent meetings to the use of remote work software. This way, you’ll have the insights you need to quell the impact of isolation and boost the morale of your work-from-home workforce. Some of the approaches require effort from employees, while others call for your intervention as a team manager, in both a personal and professional capacity.
Employee morale is a proven driver of engagement and productivity. When morale within an organization is high, employee engagement increases, and so do the overall productivity and profitability of your operations. A study by Gallup has found that highly engaged teams record a 21% increase in profitability, a 20% increase in sales, and a 17% increase in productivity.
Source: GallupDesigned by
However, are organizations doing things the right way to warrant a share of these benefits? Not really. According to one study, a third of employees aren’t truly engaged. Also, the report shows that the effect of disengaged employees can be devastating as they cost companies in the US up to $550 billion a year.
The responsibility rests squarely on the shoulder of employees and business leaders to create and sustain positive attitudes and behaviors. Primarily, organizations that want to get the best of their remote teams must level up their efforts and use the best remote work software to enhance employee morale. Also, keep in mind that this is a compelling mission that requires the efforts of both managers and employees.
Without further ado, the following techniques are billed as the best morale boosters for remote employees:
Generally, a well-designed office drastically improves employee motivation and, ultimately, their productivity. This is the rule of thumb, and it applies to your home office too. If you are going to be happy working remotely, then you need to be comfortable with your workspace.
Considering that you are going to spend the better part of your day in the workspace, you need to make it comfy in all dimensions. For starters, you need to cordon off an area of the house or designate an extra room as your workspace. Separating your workspace from the rest of your home enhances privacy and makes it easy to tune out distractions.
Also, avoid using a spare table or chair in your house as your office equipment. Keep in mind that rickety chairs and low tables are uncomfortable and are more likely to block off motivation. For this reason, you need to splurge on an ergonomic office chair and desk as they set a promising tone that invites motivation.
You should also improve the lighting of your workspace. Good lighting is particularly essential in balancing the sharp glare of computer screens. Ideally, working in spaces that maximize natural light is going to make you feel happier and healthier. Studies have shown that well-lit workspaces boost productivity by up to 16%.
Lastly, spruce up visual aesthetics, including the color, plants, artwork, and other things that ignite psychological effects. For example, it’s believed that beautifying a workspace in orange or pink evokes feelings of excitement, energy, enthusiasm, and warmth. On the other hand, the color blue can make you feel peaceful, calm, and relaxed.
If you’d like to learn more about how to set up your home office for success, feel free to read our guide on remote workspaces here.
There is no doubt, collaboration supercharges workplace performance. Teams that work collaboratively remain engaged in their task 64% longer than those going solo. Also, closely-knit teams post lower fatigue levels, higher engagement levels, and higher success rates. Remote working is no exception, and as a manager, you have to promote team collaboration in a proper way.
However, the physical distance between employees in remote teams can pose a major obstacle to collaboration. But forget the presumed difficulties—all your telecommuters want is cues or the mere perception of working together. As such, it shouldn’t be an arduous task to facilitate social cooperation and coordination to fuel intrinsic motivation.
Beyond providing a platform for employees to communicate and connect, you should dedicate time to your employees. Be a shoulder that your staff can lean on should they face troubles during the course of their tasks and even outside of work. Also, be efficient in communicating instructions and always be there to resolve complex issues as soon as employees raise them.
Lastly, to nail collaboration while working remotely, you have to equip the team with the right tools to keep everyone connected. For example, virtual team collaboration software can help remote workers connect more effectively via one-to-one and virtual team meetings.
monday.com is an intuitive collaboration and project management software designed to help remote teams run projects, tasks, and workflows with ease. The solution instills transparency and enables teams to work collaboratively to achieve project goals.
It offers advanced scheduling capability and syncs all team information in an accessible hub to enable teams to make decisions together. monday.com is also known for its visual display, which enables managers and employees to track project and task progress with ease. With these features, the platform is considered one of the best products for working from home.
Trello is a simple, flexible visual project management and productivity platform built for small- and medium-sized remote teams. The platform allows you to organize and manage tasks and projects using boards, lists, and cards. Besides, to help you better prioritize and organize tasks, Trello allows you to add deadlines, tag team members, use color-coded labels, and comment on tasks.
Wrike is an online project management platform designed to help co-located and remote teams streamline their projects, delegate tasks, and map out their goals. With this, you get access to interactive timelines, kanban boards, and other types of workflow management tools. Moreover, it provides users with time tracking and real-time reports to help you check the progress of your day-to-day work. Lastly, it can integrate with a wide variety of third-party applications so you can extend its functionalities seamlessly.
Remote work accords you a certain degree of flexibility and allows you to set your schedule as you deem fit. While this work design sounds great and its benefits are as clear as day, many telecommuters never make the most of the opportunity.
One, when you are in “the zone,” say, writing a manuscript or editing a marketing video, you’ll be motivated to work as long as possible. Second, in some cases, the fear of missing deadlines can easily make you skip lunch or take lunch at your desk while working. However, doing so isn’t just exhausting; it’s disastrous for your productivity and mental health too.
As you learn how to work from home, you’ll find that the adage “all work without play makes Jack a dull boy” rings true for remote work. Don’t give in to the pressure to deliver work in time. Instead, be principled and take regular breaks from your computer throughout the day. Breaks are rejuvenating and are vital to keeping your morale and productivity high.
Also, find a way to let your manager and the rest of your teammates know that you’re on a break. Ideally, update your status on the team communication hub or send a message to the team to let them know about your unavailability. This way, you’ll enjoy an uninterrupted break, and you’ll have precious time to rest and recharge.
The 9 to 5 office-based job means that you have to commute daily. Whether that’s by walking or cycling, it helps you stay active and fit. Besides, taking the stairs at the office complex or the railway station offers another way to exercise.
Unfortunately, working from home takes away all these physical activities and their benefits. As a result, you have to find alternative ways to keep your physical and mental health in perfect shape. Preferably, if you are first making the transition to remote working, craft exercises that simulate your traditional job routine.
For example, if you used to walk or cycle to the office, take a brisk walk for at least 15 minutes before you start work. Alternatively, make it a habit to take your dog or child for a walk to the nearest park. Besides, during the breaks, run up and down the stairs in your house for about 5-10 minutes.
Small bouts of moderate to vigorous activities deliver benefits that transcend increased motivation. They help you stay fit and healthy, which ward off lifestyle diseases. In addition, they reduce stress and enable you to sleep better—two things that contribute immensely towards productivity for telecommuters.
There is no denying, flexible work options, good benefits, and fair salary keeps telecommuters in high spirits. But it’s equally important, if not more so, to show remote workers you genuinely care about them, on both a professional and personal level.
Make no mistake, showing that you care isn’t all about monetary rewards. Sometimes, a small gesture like a virtual birthday party can be an excellent morale booster for remote employees. If, for any reason, you cannot hold virtual parties, make sure the birthday is celebrated unconditionally through the team’s internal communication channel. Acts like this make employees feel valued and cared about regardless of their location.
In addition to celebrating special occasions, make sure you consistently get employees’ insights. Most importantly, always thank the staff for sharing their suggestions and act upon feedback to provide solutions or recommendations. Dealing with issues on the back of employee feedback makes them feel heard and are highly likely to remain motivated. Remember, employees who feel their voices are listened to are 4.6 times more likely to perform their best work.
Telecommuting chops off the opportunity to have pep talks with your team within the office. It restricts quality face-to-face time, which, in turn, weakens the interpersonal aspects of social interactions between teams. This can be a detriment to teamwork as it makes some employees feel detached, hence, less motivated.
To avert isolation and burnouts, you should create ways to make up for the missing one-on-one team meetings. Among the best ways to enjoy spontaneous face time and replicate in-office get-togethers with remote employees is virtual coffee breaks. Virtual coffee breaks are video calls that teams share during breaks to socialize.
As a manager, you should encourage your employees to dedicate a few minutes or hours to have these calls. Ask everyone to grab their favorite drink and snack. And then leverage video conferencing software to engage in banter, talk about pets, and catch up as you would in an office. This will help employees learn about each other, connect to build better relationships, and keep the camaraderie strong.
When employees are in an office-based setting, it’s easy for them to understand each other and form connections on a personal level. Things are different, however, when teams are distributed across locations and time zones. In this case, employees don’t have the opportunity to build an emotional connection over watercooler or smoking breaks.
To compensate, you should weave team building activities into your team’s daily routine to keep everyone engaged. Team building enables virtual teams to build mutual respect and connection, two of the most critical aspects of team success. It helps sprinkle in comic and laughter relief throughout the day, which helps combat loneliness and boredom.
Virtual team building encompasses several games, activities, and strategies that are meant to boost human interaction in a virtual work environment. These include things such as ice-breaker questions designed to induce fun to remote work. Icebreakers work magic in helping members open up and dip their toes into the team bonding experience.
Besides, video and non-video games help bring everyone out of their shells, contribute effectively, and boost productivity. A good example of a virtual team building game is Kahoot, which enables managers to create learning games and share them with team members. Others include virtual photo contests or virtual trivia nights with mesmerizing rewards for the winning employees.
Generally, humans like being appreciated, and this is something you should take advantage of when managing remote teams. Appreciation and recognition offer a great boost for morale and can have a far-reaching effect on a team’s performance.
Take time to appreciate and recognize your employees amidst the fast-paced environment. You don’t have to dish out a pricey gift. Instead, a simple thank you note, a gracious gesture, or a reassuring nod will do the trick. This may sound simple, but appreciating the good deeds of employees and recognizing them publicly makes them feel valued and greatly improves remote working.
Interestingly, there is no limit to what you can appreciate or recognize remote workers for. From meeting deadlines and reaching KPIs to keeping productivity levels high, you have an endless list of things to reward. All you need to do is to keep your eyes wide open for these opportunities and make it your habit to give proper appreciation.
Appreciating employees keeps their bucket overflowing, increases their self-worth, and helps them remain in high spirits. According to statistics, 69% of employees say they would work extra harder if they were appreciated.
According to ClearCompany, 76% of employees are looking for career growth. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of providing learning and development opportunities, especially to remote workers.
With the intricate nature of telecommuting, it’s easy for employees to feel like they are treading an opaque career path. This can take away the hope for career progression and make workers lose self-purpose. Ultimately, this causes morale to decline, which can handicap employees and lead to low productivity levels.
This is the reason why you should create learning and development opportunities and make them clear to all employees. You don’t have to promise a job promotion, just create something that gives employees a goal to chase. A course or training session that helps improve their professional skills can be a good way to start.
The best part is that, with the flexibility of virtual working, it’s easy to craft learning schedules that fit nicely around employees’ work schedules. But remember that great learning starts with great content. Because of this, invest in quality learning management systems to ensure that all employees always have always-on access to training resources.
TalentLMS is a reliable LMS designed for organizations that want to deliver engaging online training. The platform makes it easy for trainers to create and deliver courses for both inexperienced, aspiring learners, and C-level employees. Besides, it offers a customizable set of tools that enables you to configure your learning workflow to suit specific training needs.
Absorb LMS is an innovative learning management system designed to help organizations provide employee training with ease. It leverages forward-thinking technology to inspire learning and facilitate better results to fuel business productivity. Besides, with its set of powerful tools, Absorb LMS boosts learner engagement while increasing knowledge retention.
Docebo is a robust corporate LMS software that wraps powerful LMS features to provide the social learning experience that today’s employees want. Powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), the solution automates learning management while personalizing learner experience to deliver exceptional learning outcomes. In addition, it makes knowledge easily accessible, and it’s designed to scale as your organization grows.
When it comes to remote working, your company vision and messaging should be in sync and as clear as possible. Your company’s vision is like a map that guides employees towards achieving the organizational mission and goals. On the other hand, the company message takes employees out of the middle of nowhere and brings them on a streamlined course or path.
The vision should ooze transparency on all counts. It should make it easy for remote workers to understand and align perfectly with the core values of your organization. This way, it’ll prompt employees to readily commit to it, and engage wholeheartedly with the organization’s effort. In other words, a clear company vision motivates and inspires employees to perform to the best of their abilities.
Clear messaging, on the other hand, is all about keeping remote employees in the loop about the company’s progress. It entails sharing good/bad news, achievements, and letting everyone know how their effort feeds into keeping the wheel turning. Keeping employees in the know makes them feel attached to the company, and it plays a critical role in boosting their morale.
If you are creating a virtual team, consider these morale boosters for remote employees as part and parcel of your masterplan. Besides, if you have been managing a team of telecommuters, and you have noted an abrupt change in turnover rates, employee interaction, and collaboration, wait no longer. Incorporate these approaches to save the sinking ship.
Take into account that employees and the managers should mount a collective effort for these tactics to work. Because of this, make sure your remote workers clearly understand their roles. Besides, you ought to play your part as a manager more diligently and continuously pump renewed vigor to keep employees committed to these approaches.
Also, make sure you understand remote team management to a tee. You can read our telecommuting management guide to understand the ingredients of a successful remote team and all the best practices of working from home. When all the dots are joined, team morale will surely rise, and the resulting benefits will come your way. It won’t be long before you start noticing an increase in productivity and overall business profitability.
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