Keeping Remote Employees Motivated

Working remotely is completely different from working in an office. The usual office chat that occurs when working in an office doesn’t exist for remote employees. Working remotely is isolating at the best of times. But it’s even more isolating now that we’ve got restrictions due to COVID-19.

Managing remote employees is different from managing a team in the office. I’d like to offer some tips about how to keep remote employees motivated.

Over-communicate and offer positive feedback

Communication is always important in the workplace. Research shows that 93% of communication is non-verbal. As such, what’s needed when communicating with remote employees may feel like over-communication.

Communication is important to ensure that both you and remote employees are on the same page. It’s not only about allocating tasks and projects to remote employees and leaving them to it. And then repeating that once they’ve returned the work to you.

It’s also about keeping remote employees motivated. How? By offering praise and recognition for a job well done. You can also have some bonding moments with remote employees and have a laugh to relax. Virtual Friday night wine over Zoom anyone?

Here are some online tools to help with communication:

  • Instant messaging platforms such as Slack, Chanty, Google Hangouts or Microsoft Teams

  • Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Skype

  • Project management platforms such as ClickUp, Trello or Asana.

Goal Setting

Goal setting also helps with motivation. And, again, communication is also important here.

You may have heard of SMART goals. Here’s a reminder of what they are:

  • Specific: State exactly what you're seeking to achieve

  • Measurable: Use smaller, mini-goals to measure progress

  • Achievable: Make your goals reasonable

  • Relevant: Is the goal relevant to the company?

  • Timely: Give employees time to reach the goals, but also set a deadline.

Create an employee recognition program

I’ve already mentioned praising remote staff and providing recognition for doing good work. Employees all love recognition for the value they bring to their employer. So, why not motivate them by having a recognition program where remote staff can win rewards?

Here’s some ideas on how you can set up a recognition program:

  • What company values would you like to reward? What does an employee have to do to get a reward?

  • What are the criteria for giving out the reward? You need to criteria to ensure staff feel there’s no favouritism or subjectivity. Also, ensure you specify who can earn the reward. Can part-time staff earn it? How long does an employee have to be with the company to be eligible? Can an employee receive the same reward more than once?

  • Create a structure for how people get selected for rewards. Are employees nominated or is everyone selected by default? Is there a committee or do managers choose someone based on the criteria? The structure should be clear.

  • What’s the reward? The key here is to make the gift meaningful and motivating to employees.

Don’t forget to announce the employee recognition program to employees!

Offer growth opportunities to employees

You need to ensure that your remote employees are productive, growing and advancing. How? Performance reviews are commonplace for non-remote employees. You can also use them for remote employees as well.

Monthly reviews may work well to keep remote employees motivated. Things to consider include:

  • What would your employees like to get better at this month? This gives you a better understanding of where they’d like to up their ante

  • What is your employee doing better this month compared to last month? This helps you understand how your employees have developed

  • What were your employee’s best moments in the last month? This helps you understand what motivates them

  • What were your employee’s worst moments in the last month? This helps you identify what’s draining your employee’s energy and motivation

Time tracking software can help you track where remote employee’s time is being spent. Examples of time tracking tools include HiveDesk, Toggle, Harvest and Clockify.


It may feel overwhelming and difficult motivating a team of remote employees. But, thanks to technology, it’s a lot easier to do nowadays.

For personalised advice on motivating remote employees, email me at

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