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The Force is Strong: Motivating Remote Work Employees

By Casey Clegg, Chief Revenue Officer, PubNub

When life gets shaken up, people get creative. Whether you’ve taken up surfing, hiking, learning a new language, setting up home gyms, or tackling a new craft at home during the quarantine, it’s safe to say staying motivated in your new work from a home office can be a challenge. With the monotonous day-to-day activities leading to Zoom burnout and missing the water cooler laughs, it can be challenging to keep your employees encouraged(PubNub).

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But humans naturally evolve, and as a company we’ve seen trends in the way people are adapting to remote life around the world. As life has migrated online, we’ve been able to see the services people are using to help structure their days and keep life moving. That lets people get creative to continue their daily lives digitally. The technology we once looked at as futuristic has now become the very thing we lean on to stay collaborative and informed.

As leaders, we can provide the tools. The Zoom links the Slack rooms and the email chains, but how can business leaders help to motivate our forces truly? Over the last few months, we’ve learned a few things.

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Communicate Effectively

There’s a wealth of modern tools and technologies to support a remote workforce long term. In a recent survey we conducted of work from home employees across various industries, two-thirds of employees said instant messaging and email are the most effective tools in their everyday arsenal. When it comes to best responsiveness from coworkers, 33 percent said chat and instant messaging are the most helpful, with email a close second at 32 percent. Additionally, 38 percent required more collaboration or project management tools to stay successful in working remotely long term .But be cautious that the amount of new tools and tech don’t hinder productivity, especially when they don’t work as needed: 42 percent of workers said laggy video calls annoy them the most. Another critical concern is the lack of security and protection of personal information. 25 percent of those surveyed said the most distracting form of communication during remote work is having more scheduled calls or video conferences, above getting more emails and unscheduled audio phone calls so it’s key not to over communicate. What we are working towards is a delicate balance, which will be achieved by listening to the needs of your team.

Give Your Team Tools & Resources

Take the opportunity to let employees upskill themselves, offer free or discounted online courses and professional development sessions to encourage new certifications. It’s key to offer webinars, weekly “happy hours” and mental health check-ins so your team knows you have them top of mind. Another idea is to host fun online workshops like craft beer making, cheese tasting, cooking lessons, hire fitness professionals for a fun yoga or dance session. Set up team webinars that can offer new ideas, technologies, or discussions. Furthermore, in the wake of the current climate, this is an excellent opportunity to host diversity webinars to create a dialogue in the company that strives to understand these issues in the workplace better. Show your employees that you hear them.

Focus on Empowerment

The most important thing I’ve learned is to empower your workers to make their own decisions, trust them to motivate themselves and bring new ideas to the table. Remote work is also increasing the amount of working hours. 65 percent of our survey respondents said they are spending more time online, with nearly one-third also responding to incoming inquiries outside of regular working hours.This means that new policies are needed for employee expectations, and allowing workers to unplug or set their hours where they feel most productive – without leading to burnout.

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Giving employees a voice, hearing them, and empowering them through technology, a work-life balance, and trust, leads to a more productive and happy workforce. Remote work is here to stay. I encourage leaders to evolve and adapt their policies to garner a happy, healthy, and motivated remote company.