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Remote Work Motivation: Tactics for Keeping Remote Workers Engaged

Work from home (WFH) burnout and Zoom fatigue aren’t just quips. They are real and take a toll on virtual workers, directly impacting remote work motivation and engagement. In a December 2020 study, Spring Health found that 76 percent of U.S. workers experienced burnout from their job. And although not an official diagnosis­­–Psychology Today states that Zoom fatigue is very real, heightening loneliness and disconnection from others.

Employee motivation and engagement were challenging enough before the rise of remote work. With decreases in mental health and increased workplace burnout, how do human resources professionals tackle motivating their remote employees?

In this article, we’ll look at three ways leaders can increase remote work motivation and engagement.

Proactively Manage Burnout

One way to address remote work motivation and engagement is to identify who is the most vulnerable to burnout, such as women, people of color, and caregivers. Burnout for this group can cause decreasing productivity as well as a complete departure from the workforce, according to Harvard Business Review. Since February 2020, 2.3 million women have left the workforce. Leaders must not only identify these susceptible workers but must also proactively address the burnout, protecting them from added stress. 

To do so, the Harvard Business Review recommends that leaders implement the following three steps:

  1. Check on your employees. Be sure to ask them how they’re coping.
  2. Offer flexible work schedules and locations, such as allowing employees to work from home during certain days or times.
  3. Encourage remote workers to take some time off for self-care and recovery.

Employers must focus on ensuring the well-being of all employees, including remote workers, while implementing these changes into standard operational procedures.

Encourage Well-being

Ensuring well-being is central to motivating a remote workforce and should be a top priority for leaders.

Although employee well-being was critical before 2020, its importance has elevated. Employees’ mental health is a continued area of investment for employers, according to McKinsey. Human resources professionals must focus on well-being with daily intention and give their employees the tools they need, such as “mediation, sleep, exercise, nutrition, community belonging, a spiritual connection, and more.” Such holistic offerings help employees identify which tools enable their well-being and easily access them daily. 

Not addressing employees’ mental health can result in unnecessary costs, low motivation, and decreased productivity. Such neglect costs US businesses $80 to $100 billion dollars.  For all these reasons, “[b]usinesses should treat wellbeing as a tangible skill, a critical business input, and a measurable outcome.”

Keep Communication Lines Open

Working remotely can often feel isolating, and communication through tools like Slack or Zoom can be intimidating for some employees. By creating one on one meetings with employees, for example, human resources professionals and other leaders can establish increased communication by emphasizing their accessibility and approachability. This increased communication can lead to better engagement and motivation of remote workers.

Additionally, with a significant portion of communication being transmitted digitally (email, text, messenger apps) meaning and intent can often get lost, or worse, misinterpreted. By encouraging communication through several different channels, including face-to-face video meetings, a phone conversation, or an in-person meeting twice a month, leaders can take advantage of the opportunity to communicate in individually preferred styles while keeping all employees in the corporate loop.

According to Harvard Business Review, “[c]reating an inclusive remote culture starts with hearing out all employees, then making fair and appropriate accommodations. The simple act of communicating in and of itself can relieve ambiguity and anxiety,” improving the overall morale of the workplace.

For help hiring remote employees who will stay engaged and motivated in their roles, reach out to Cangrade to learn more.