With 43% of employees working remotely at some point this year, it’s clear that flexible workspaces are becoming the new normal instead of the exception to the rule. Remote work affords employers and employees alike with benefits that can only come with the opportunity to choose where and how you accomplish your tasks-from saving cash otherwise spent on rent overhead to increasing productivity levels.
Despite its advantages, distributed work isn’t always an easy transition, and you might find that some of your newer remote team members struggle to stay motivated throughout their workday or to keep in touch with the broader team. In fact, almost one-fifth of the current remote workforce admits to feeling isolated or lonely while on the job. When these feelings aren’t tended to by managers, they can cause remote employees to disconnect from their jobs, especially over an extended period of time.
As a manager or leader in your organization, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your virtual team members feel wholly supported, regardless of the physical distance separating you from them. More often than not, the traditional methods you may have used to energize your employees and bolster a sense of camaraderie while working in person will not translate to a remote-friendly alternative. That means it’s up to you to find new and creative methods to cultivate an exciting, dynamic, and team-focused group while working remotely.
As you plan the agenda for your next meeting, consider sharing the following work from home sayings and advice to inspire the people you oversee and help them be the best remote employees they can be.
As thisquote from entrepreneur and thought leader Mark Sanborn highlights, communication is essential within any remote team dynamic. The unfortunate reality that every distributed team must face is that communication is emphatically more difficult when you do not have chances to hold conversations in person. It’s why 17% of the remote workforce finds communicating and collaborating to be the most challenging aspect of working away from a shared office space.
Communication barriers appear in all shapes and sizes, and the solutions to these issues are equally diverse. Teams that have only recently migrated to virtual work may suddenly find that their colleagues are working disparate schedules to account for shifts in time zones. Relying primarily on email or text messages to communicate might also increase miscommunication, as a person’s tone in written communication tends to be more difficult to infer.
With all of these obstacles in the way, your team might begin to feel that communicating with one another isn’t worth the effort, and that’s when you’ll run into trouble.
Remote communication requires striking the perfect balance between frequency and efficiency. It would be best if you conversed with your team enough to make them feel like a part of a larger whole, but not so much as to distract them from their priorities completely.
The ideal remote communication plan will take time to perfect, but the first step is to make sure you are making the best use of each of your company’s designated communication channels. For example, a quick question to the greater team might be best delivered through your messaging platform of choice. On the other hand, longer conversations are best served through video meetings or calls, where each team member has the opportunity to explain their thoughts on the subject fully.
Quote #2: "Make sure you have a stress-free zone at work (yes, even your home office). Look for a break room. No need for a fancy setting. All you need is some soft lighting and something comfortable to sit on. Put together a nice relaxing playlist and listen to it." — Dr. Tasha Holland-Kornegay
Dr. Tasha Holland-Kornegay, a speaker and advocate on mental health, highlights one of the key differentiators between working from a corporate office and working from the comfort of your own home: Employees are forced to create their own productive workspaces.
In the office, employees were provided a desk, high-speed internet, printers, and any other office equipment they needed to succeed. However, many remote employees find themselves having to supply all of their work tools on their own. In the most dramatic cases, these employees might not have a suitable space in their home to dedicate to their work.
The increased demand for remote arrangements has had a widespread effect on the real estate industry at large for this very reason. With millions of remote employees currently struggling to design a productive workspace within their living space, home offices have become one of the most sought after amenities in new houses that enter the market.
Since buying a new home or moving out completely isn’t an option for most workers, it’s your job as a manager to support your team through their personal home office renovations. One method is to help them understand how renovations to their home may affect their larger financial situation. Updates to your home office space often ring up a high bill, but they can actually pay for themselves in the long run.
With home offices in such high demand, designated workspaces could add value to your remote employees’ homes that far surpasses their renovation budget.
Many remote employees have started to draw from their existing home value to fund their home office projects to jump-start the renovation process. This type of financial relief, more commonly known as a home equity loan, helps your employees make the most of the equity they’ve already invested into their homes by allowing them to tap into it when the need arises.
Especially for companies considering long-term remote work arrangements, making these changes today is vital to promoting a productive work environment for the months and years to come.
Quote #3: “We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they [are] at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.” — Richard Branson
As the founder and chairman of Virgin, Richard Branson certainly knows how to keep his workforce motivated and focused on its success. This quote speaks to perhaps the single most impactful feature of remote work that you can use to motivate your employees from afar: the ability to manage flexible work environments and work schedules.
The truth of the matter is that a regimented 9-to-5 schedule in a cubicle is not going to be the most conducive space for every single employee on your team. Already, 67% of employers have recognized this fact and offer flexible work arrangements to varying degrees.
Remote work gives you and the rest of your team the ability to accomplish your tasks where you’re most productive. For some, this might mean a secluded area of their bedroom, while others will thrive amid the hustle and bustle of a local coffee shop.
Flexibility is also important in the hours your team is putting toward work. Whether your employees work better in the mornings or they need some wiggle room in their days to parent their at-home children, your ability to cater to these needs will keep your team engaged and inspired, regardless of the specific hours you all are working.
Similar to any other decision you make on how your team approaches workflows, the key to making flexible arrangements a success is to create a culture of accountability and visibility. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of sharing your work plans for the week in team-wide meetings, including where you are working from that week, the time frame you anticipate working, and the hours you have blocked off for meetings.
Sharing this information across a calendar platform can make this information more easily shared for everyone on the team.
Quote #4: "Keep a team chatroom open. There is nothing more important in a group remote project than casual communication. Not just official emails and work updates, but the ability to sit back and chat." — David Rabin
Remote managers across the board know far too well just how challenging it is to emulate their work culture when the entire company has migrated off-site. David Rabin works as the vice president of global commercial marketing at Lenovo, meaning he is intimately familiar with the qualities that create dynamic and engaging company cultures.
Rabin’s quote here provides valuable insight into how leaders should leverage their company technology to foster a virtual culture in the era of remote work. One in every three remote employees uses instant messaging platforms, and 52% use a laptop that their company supplied them. Therefore, the question you and your fellow managers should be asking is how you can use these tools to accomplish work and help cultivate personal relationships among your employees.
As this quote suggests, you can start by creating communication channels that serve the sole purpose of connecting teammates. In a remote setting, these types of platforms replace the small conversations you would otherwise have in the office kitchen or during a lunch break. Similarly, many remote teams have found that quick, brief conversations over video chat are the perfect way to have a human connection and align your workdays before settling into your to-do list for the day.
Rewards and recognitions are another vital pieces of the culture puzzle, so it’s up to you to find new ways to award your hardest-working employees for the great work they are doing. While there are a number of methods you can use to recognize great work, no single solution is better than a designated rewards and recognition system, which employers can use to digitally distribute vouchers, discounts, points, and other merit-based gifts to their larger team.
Quote #5: "Remote work is the future of work." — Alexis Ohanian
Our final quote from the founder of Reddit presents an invaluable mindset for businesses of all kinds to adopt as they become more accustomed to non-traditional work models. The reality of work today is that there is no business playbook, and remote work shows no signs of going anywhere. That means it’s up to you and your business to adapt your approach to motivating, engaging, and inspiring your team members, regardless of their location.
By keeping these tips and quotes in the back of your head, you’ll help your organization thrive in a world that is increasingly tailored to an off-site workforce. As the business landscape races toward new approaches to work, your ability to maximize your remote employees' potential will put you in the best position to dominate your market and outrun your competitors.
For further information on the steps, you can take to fortify your remote work strategies, contact us today and learn more about our remote-friendly offerings.
At Xoxoday, we deeply understand the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and engagement drivers of people, be it an employee, supplier, contract staff, gig or consumer. We bring simplicity and continuity to a complex, everyday problem.