How to motivate a remote team
The remote workforce trend within tech startups and bigger companies is notably expanding. There will be a significant growth of remote software developers within the next few years, thereby posing a mix of benefits and challenges for newcomers. Inspired by a reduction in overhead costs and the ability to hire the best talent, embracing remote workers is a worthy investment. However, keeping a distributed team motivated and happy can be challenging. Is it like leading an orchestra in the dark?
Motivating a remote team is as easy as DO, RE, MI, FA, SO, LA, TEA
Once you engage remote workers in your project, it is vital to cultivate a culture of open and frequent communication, clear goals and cohesive teamwork supported by encouraging and rewarding. In other words, treat your remote team the same way as you do your onsite staff.
Whether you manage a local or dedicated team across the pond, everyone likes to feel noticed, motivated and praised. By orchestrating consistent motivation of the distributed team, you sustain rapport, growth and success.
DO. Make no difference between players
A distributed team is more productive and motivated when treated the same way as in-house employees. Start with your culture story featuring company background, mission and core values. Invite remote workers to business and corporate events and pay a visit to their workplace. Drop a friendly “Hi, how are you doing?” while having a coffee break with your mates. This way you make one and all feel that you truly care and that they matter. Remember to know your peers by name.
RE. Facilitate remote onboarding
A remote project newcomer will deliver higher performance results if personally welcomed and introduced to the rest of the distributed team immediately. Arrange video-conferencing introductions or even a virtual tour through the office. Ideally, assign an onboarding mentor to ensure stress-free remote project assimilation. Also, connect scattered counterparts via a common digital channel where they can communicate, report, and upload project artifacts. Remember to ask new teammates about their first experience. Feeling like part of a family despite the distance matters a lot and favors motivational intent.
MI. Set S.M.A.R.T goals
The better a remote worker knows what, when and how to do their job, the better the outcome. Set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Remember to check progress often to ensure that you are all on the same page. Create an engaging atmosphere to make remote counterparts feel they don’t work blindly.
FA. Exercise flexibility
Everybody works differently. Let remote workers choose the working hours most optimal for their productivity and project engagement. This will play right into your hands, especially when you are in different time zones. Remember that you need to interact with the whole team anyway. Combine flexible schedules with regular progress tracking approaches.
SO. Incorporate your brand
When surrounded by the elements of brand identity, remote employees are always reminded about the culture, brand and product they are dealing with. Mugs, badges, T-shirts or even little teddy-bears create a special atmosphere and serve as attention and motivation triggers to push ahead. If possible, include your remote specialists to presentations, product launch campaigns, and other business and marketing events.
LA. Encourage and reward
It always feels good to know that your work deserves kudos. It’s part of who we are. Take the time to show interest in ideas, conduct brainstorming sessions, and listen to several different opinions from your remote employees to keep them motivated and results-driven. Think of incentives to reward your distributed team for exceptional work. These might be bonuses related to any development stage, such as intermediate and final deliveries, superb tech support and staging, high product rankings, etc. Remember to welcome any distant training and certification.
TEA. Form stronger bonds beyond the project
Building rapport with remote employees takes time and effort. Working with your team remotely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be interested in their personal achievements, family, and hobbies. Knowing your peers on a personal level will make it easier to manage tasks and resolve diverse issues. Unite the team for face-to-face meetings in any corner of the world, participate in their corporate events, and invite to your home office. Dine together and make memories. Believe us, a day of fun will be totally worth it.
On the major note
Working with your distributed team is rather challenging, but far more beneficial if you don’t take their self-progress for granted. Giving the right direction bundled with constructive feedback and timely appreciation works wonders. Is there still any rule of thumb to motivating a distributed team? Here is what Dmitry Ermakov, VP of Business Development at iTechArt, says:
There are introverts and extroverts, simple and sophisticated projects and many other factors to take into account. Nevertheless, the project success is possible when everyone keeps the boat afloat. It took us years to build a strong engineering culture against emotional burn-out and professional boredom. Guided by “A happy employee is a happy customer and vice-versa,” we have been successful so far in making great strides together with our clients.
We did manage to retain teams for long-term remote projects and avoid frustration during onboarding for new ones. It’s always a special pride and honor to receive references and see a big thank you on the wall of our testimonials. And, there’s no stronger motivation to continue rocking than when you hear “Hey guys, you are the best!"
If you are about to engage a remote team, find the time to gather quick facts about their company, people you are expected to work with and the culture of leading their projects. By following our notes, we hope your orchestration will be in sync with one and all.