How to motivate remote working employees

Don’t let the distance get between you. Keep your employees motivated with these engagement strategies for remote workers.

For many businesses, remote working is a new reality. Whether forced into it because of Covid-19 or the modern shift towards workplace flexibility, many business owners and managers need strategies to motivate remote workers.

(Psst! Get more tips on managing remote staff with our free checklist – no sign-up required.)

How can remote working benefit my business?

Besides attracting the best talent with the workplace flexibility that remote working offers, it can also benefit your business financially.

For instance, according to Global Workplace Analytics, a business with remote work policies can save up to US$11,000 per person.

Besides, 80% of employees want to work from home at least some of time. The time is ripe, therefore, to find ways to make remote working work for your business.

How to motivate my employees working remotely

1. Communication is key

communication is key with remote working employees

Photo by Pavan Trikutam on Unsplash

At the touch of a button, we can now speak to someone from the other side of the world if we want to. A feat our ancestors would probably consider pretty magical.

Yet despite these technological advances, we still prefer face-to-face communication.

No surprises there. Considering 90% of human interaction is body language, face-to-face communication reduces misunderstandings and builds more meaningful relationships.

Set your staff up for success. Give them the best communication technology platforms, for instance, and ensure they’ve got a strong internet connection.

Communicate expectations up-front and check in with them regularly with 360-degree feedback surveys to adapt your strategy when different projects demand change.


2. Set tangible goals

set tangible goals - remote working employees

Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

Remote workers need to be more self-motivated than those working in an office. You will, therefore, need to set clear goals and track performance metrics for your employees.

Support the growth of their leadership skills to give them the confidence to make decisions, empower them to be proactive in their approach, and make them accountable.

The goals you set for them also need to align with your business values and ethos to help motivate your employees.

Acknowledge the work. Celebrate the successes. Be open and honest with feedback.


3. Grow your culture

remote working employee engagement with pet social hour on zoom

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

More employees working remotely means more management challenges. In particular, maintaining a positive workplace culture.

Don’t neglect your staff training and investment in their career development. Support them, for instance, by allocating a certain amount of time each month for them to focus on learning a new skill online. LinkedIn learning, for example, offers many courses that will benefit your staff.

To grow a collaborative team culture remotely, you need to get creative. You can always ask your staff for ideas, but here are some remote team-building ideas to get you started:

  • Trivia:
    Organise a Zoom team meet-up in different teams and ask each team to devise a list of trivia questions on any given topic. Don’t forget to give a prize to the winner!
  • Online games:
    Card games, word challenges, puzzles, and riddles are good brain scratchers to get your employees thinking outside the box.
  • Competitions/challenges:
    Talent shows, baking, fitness, and themed dress-ups are all fun ways to reward your team and give your employees something to look forward to.
  • Crafternoons:
    Do some arts and crafts with your staff or organise a Zoom lesson in watercolour painting or a DIY terrarium. These mood-boosting activities will help relieve stress.
  • Pet social hour:
    Invite your employees to introduce their pets to the rest of their team on Zoom. Meet Balance at Work’s furry mascot and sanity saver, Lottie Rochester.

    Lottie and pet social hour
    Lottie Rochester


As with any business challenge to employee engagement and workplace culture, the increasing reality of remote working for many businesses means you have to adapt your management strategies. However, many existing employee engagement strategies can be easily adapted to digital.

Remember to download our remote work checklist.

Has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your business? Discover how we can help you.


Feature image by Kristin Wilson on Unsplash

About Susan Rochester

Susan Rochester has been managing director of Balance at Work since 2006. Susan has a natural tendency to balance analytical thinking with an optimistic outlook to set direction and solve problems. She is an effective facilitator and constantly creates new and more effective ways of doing things, motivated by helping others to achieve their goals.

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