Motivating strategies for engaging a remote team long term

Motivating strategies for engaging a remote team long term

Humans are social creatures – even the ones who seem to thrive working from home. Though some of us are more naturally suited to remote work than others, all employees need consistent encouragement to do their best work.

When you remove the opportunity for organic, unplanned conversation, virtual teams can fall into a seemingly rut of endless deadlines and deliverables. And it doesn’t take long for the cycle to erode their engagement.

According to, 69% of employees are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home, a phenomenon that costs companies an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion every year in healthcare costs.

Could a little inspiration and motivation be all employees need to reach their full work potential? Some companies are finding the recipe for success really is that simple.

How we got here

We’ve been trending towards becoming a remote workforce for a while. Once COVID-19 sped up the timeline, working from home could no longer be waved off as a workplace perk big tech firms used to attract top talent. Instead, it’s made remote working arrangements a non-negotiable.

Everyone from IT managers to salon receptionists have had a taste of working remotely, and many are unlikely to give it up anytime soon. 40% of workers say they’d consider quitting if asked to go back to the office full time. And 99% of people would choose to work remotely, at least part-time, for the rest of their careers, if given the option.

Read: remote work isn’t going anywhere. Companies who want to remain competitive can’t waste any time getting aligned on a thoughtful remote work program. Preferably one that prioritizes the person, not just what they produce.

Proven tactics to drive engagement

Even the most self-motivated among your team could use a little inspiration now and again. More than half of remote employees say they feel disconnected from in-office employees, something that can quickly snowball into feelings of isolation and loneliness, which at least 19% say is their biggest challenge with remote work.

Here are a few tried and true ways to keep your team from losing steam:

  1. Make sure they have the training and tools they need: Nothing engages the mind like learning something new. And nothing halts productivity like outdated hardware.
  2. Prioritize their well-being: From gym memberships and meal planning subscriptions to childcare and mental health resources, nurture what matters most.
  3. Check in regularly: Everyone needs to feel like they belong. Don’t let your remote employees feel like castaways.
  4. Create opportunities for connection: Virtual hangouts and team building days can help create a sense of unity despite the distance.
  5. Open the floor for feedback: Providing feedback on an employee’s work is a great start, but don’t stop there. See what the organization could be doing differently, too.
  6. Recognize and reward their contributions: Research shows recognition is a top driver of employee engagement. The more visible it is, the better.
  7. Encourage watercooler conversations: Don’t underestimate the value of organic chitchat. Try virtual lunch dates or reserving the first 15 minutes of your video meeting to simply catch up with colleagues.
  8. Focus on their quality of work, not when they work: Science shows we all have our own internal clocks. Encourage employees to work off theirs and you’re likely to get better work out of them.
  9. Stay transparent: No one likes to be kept in the dark. If changes may be coming down the pipeline, let them know well in advance.
  10. Show you care: It’s really tough to feel invisible. Take any possible opportunity to demonstrate that you’re invested in an employee’s life outside the “office”.

The biggest thing to remember? Don’t overcomplicate it. Creating a more engaging remote workplace often comes down to simply centering your staff. They’ll let you know what they need. All you have to do is listen fully and act accordingly.


Content created and provided by ONEAFFINITI.