By Jared Atchison, co-founder of WPForms.
Maintaining a remote team is less stressful than managing a staff of employees. You can connect with them no matter where you go and you have fewer responsibilities. However, your team members will often get distracted when working from home and lose productivity. And it’s your job to closely monitor them to keep them focused on the tasks at hand. The success of your business will depend on it.
So, how can you motivate your remote team to work productively without being a jerk? Well, try these tips for a start.
Invest in Their Skills
Skills need to be improved over time. Some of your employees will even have to learn additional skills or improve skills in order to deliver their best work. For example, your social media manager might need some extra Photoshop lessons to create great looking posts and graphics for your Facebook page.
Giving your remote team the opportunity to learn is one of the best ways you can inspire and motivate them to be better at their work. Give your team access to an online learning platform for free. Many learning platforms such as Udemy and Lynda have special plans for businesses and teams. We also like Treehouse for further development of technical skills.
Keep an Open Communication Channel
You can’t always blame your team for not being productive. What if your team emailed you to ask for a solution to a problem but you’re not there to answer? It’s important for you to have an always online communications channel that’s open to all members of your team. It will allow your team to effectively communicate with each other, discuss problems and get in touch with the right people without having to send dozens of emails. A platform like Slack is the best tool you can use to get that job done.
Use Team Collaboration Tools
There’s no “I” in “team.” Teamwork requires all your employees to work together. This could be a problem when your team works remotely. Thankfully, there are team collaboration tools and project management apps you can use to solve this problem. Tools like Asana and Basecamp will allow your entire team to work together on projects without any confusions.These tools will help your team to stay updated other team members' progress and deliver their tasks right on time to complete the project.
Offer Promotions to the Best Employees
Office employees often get promoted to better positions. This is an effective strategy that motivates employees to work harder to achieve their dreams and earn more. You can use this same strategy to motivate your remote team. Set up a system to allow your remote team members to climb their way up the ladder and motivate them to discover their true potential. For example, if one of the web designers on your team works exceptionally, you can promote him as the head of the design team. It may seem like only a change in the title but it will motivate him to work harder and inspire others to do the same.
You can also use incentives. For example, we have a 100 percent remote team and have been using company retreats as a way to motivate and connect with the team. After getting back from a retreat, they feel more energized and more productive than ever.
Track Time and Attendance
A remote team is still a real team that consists of real people. Treat your remote team as a real staff of employees. You can start by creating a schedule for your team. Set a time to start work and to clock out at the end of the day. Checking for attendance is an important part of developing a team culture. It will motivate your team to work on time and deliver work on time. Of course, this can be a problem if your remote team consists of people from around the world. Different time zones can interfere with your schedules. Tools like Time Doctor allow you to track work hours and attendance of your remote team, even if they work in different time zones.
Stay in Charge
Remember that managing your remote team and keeping them happy is your responsibility. Don’t outsource that job to someone else. When you’re in charge, your remote team will also feel more connected to your business and find inspiration to work hard to achieve your business goals together as a team.
Jared is the co-founder of WPForms, a drag & drop form builder for WordPress that's being used on over 400,000 websites.