This is a writing sample from Scripted writer Juliet Huang
With the Covid-19 pandemic, the nature of work for most has transformed. Instead of in-person meetings, many are now required to work from home. Meetings have gone online, and we support everyday job functions with a plethora of remote working tools such as Zoom, Slack, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and others.
What this means is that many employees had to adjust to working away from the office, mastering several online tools as well as navigating new work-life boundaries that come from having a remote workforce. Even without the pandemic, operating remotely is the way forward for many companies, given that technology has allowed many company processes to become digital. The pandemic has only hastened the digitisation of work, and normalised work from home. Given this speed of transformation, it is not surprising if employees are increasingly anxious and disengaged from work. With fewer in-person social interactions amongst a remote workforce, it is difficult to find out how motivated employees actually are at work. In this article, we'll look at some strategies for companies to help with managing and motivate a global remote workforce using technology.
Strategies to motivate and manage a global remote workforce
1. Understand employees' motivation levels
The first step is to check in with employees to understand how they feel about their current work situation. There are many online survey tools such as Google Forms that will help you with that. Ask probing questions for open-ended responses and allow for anonymity so that respondents can truly tell the company how they feel. One example of a good probing question to check motivation levels would be, "Can you share more about how you have adjusted to working remotely?" Questions that only allow Yes/No responses are not good indicators.
Surveys help management to gauge the level of motivation employees feel and show them that the company cares. By following up on these surveys, managers also have a better idea of what employees need in order to increase their productivity. This provides a holistic picture of the support required and allows the company to make meaningful tweaks to its workflow processes.
2. Engage in informal communication
Aside from coordinating workflow or brainstorming for ideas, managers should also make an effort to engage in informal conversations.
Remote working removes opportunities for informal water-cooler chats, which build rapport amongst employees. Hence, it is important for managers to make time in their own schedules for such conversations by using online scheduling tools that allow employees to book appointments. Alternatively, managers can make use of the first 5 – 10 minutes of scheduled meetings to check-in with the team. This is important, as many work processes online are task-focused. With remote working on the rise, some companies have put into place employee monitoring technology to manage remote employees. Research has shown that this causes a lot of tension amongst work-from-home employees, with the "Big Brother" effect.
While companies claim that such technology focuses on understanding employees' productivity patterns rather than acting as a surveillance tool, the lack of trust perceived by employees can lead to lower motivation. By investing time for 1 to 1 conversations and keeping an "open door" through an online appointment system, it signals a welcome to chat. Through these conversations, managers can build rapport and trust, increasing motivation to work towards team goals. Knowing about each other's working styles also helps managers tap into the different strengths of their employees to grow the business further.
3. Recognise signs of burn out
The last tip is to reassess how leaders model the use of technology for those who are working remotely. One way in which leaders can build a positive remote workforce culture is by re-assessing the way they work online. A leader who is constantly online even on vacation reinforces the expectations that employees should do the same. This can cause burnout and drastically decrease motivation to work since it becomes a reminder that employees should not take a "time-out" from work.
Another way leaders can efficiently use technology is through feedback and recognition, which can be neglected when communication is reduced to Zoom meetings, Slack messages, and multiple emails. Giving praise, whether in virtual meetings or sending out monthly emails to recognise employees who have contributed, helps to motivate employee especially amongst valued team members.
With these tips in mind, it is possible to motivate employees even with a remote workforce. Managers need to remember that behind these tools are humans who require the same support as they do in a physical environment.
Moovaz is here to help
Even as pandemic measures ease worldwide, remote working remains as the new norm. Some companies are even looking to adopt a hybrid working model, with options to work from home and in-office. This means relocation is on the rise as employees adapt to different remote workforce situations.
Here at Moovaz, we provide end-to-end overseas relocation service that covers services from International House Moving, Visa & Immigration, Pet Relocation, International School Search, International Household Moving, to Short-term Accommodation. Additionally, our platform allows for direct contact and tracking, with personalised services for your employees. This way, you can count on us for a faster and seamless staff relocation process.
Avid traveler, and part-time adult ballerina, this late bloomer finds beauty in the things she sees and is always looking for new places to explore and good food to eat. A versatile writer and photographer, she hopes to serve up a good pinch of joy in all her articles.