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While remote working has its downsides, people not working hard enough in their own homes isn’t one of them. Quite the reverse, remote workers are often working much longer hours as they struggle to separate home and work life. 

Here, employee engagement experts Weekly10, explore five ways employers can motivate remote workers – and spying on them with time tracking software isn’t one of them!

1. Thinking ahead with realistic goals  

Employee engagement can be encouraged by setting professional goals. By thinking ahead and setting clear guidelines that coincide with personal development plans, managers and team leaders can help workers achieve their goals. That being said, these goals should always be realistic. If workers do not have enough resources to meet their targets, this can have the opposite effect and discourage hard work. They may also feel the need to work overtime, which can quickly lead to employee burn out.    

2. Creating incentive programmes  

Once employers have established realistic goals, they can create incentive programmes for the workplace. It can be stressful to meet deadlines and targets, but financial and social rewards are sure to motivate remote employees. These incentive programmes can offer anything that aligns the company and its values, such as commission, wage increases, profit sharing, bonus payments and more.  

3. Remember to recognise and celebrate success  

There’s no denying that a little recognition can go a long way. So, to continue motivating your remote workers, remember to recognise and celebrate their success. From passing probation to reaching monthly targets, there’s lots of things to highlight in the workplace. Employers can praise employees on video calls, in monthly catch-ups or during team meetings. And, whether they use Slack or Microsoft Teams, it’s also a good idea to create an achievements channel for this very purpose.  

By creating incentive programmes and remembering to celebrate success, employers are supporting intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors. This is motivation that either comes from within an employee, such as happiness and fulfilment in their role, or beyond, including incentives and rewards. These keep the team driving forward while catering to every employee’s needs.  

4. Practicing and encouraging transparent feedback 

Next, transparent feedback is important in the workplace. No matter the nature of the job, employees should understand the successes and potential pitfalls of their performance, thereby promoting constant growth for their remote workers.  

However, communication is a two-way street. Employees should feel comfortable voicing any praise or concerns of their own. By conducting frequent 1-2-1 meetings, team members are more likely to feel comfortable sharing their feelings, and understand the option is there for them to do so. With this clear line of communication, employers are better able to spot issues, find solutions and help the team develop.   

5. Prioritising health and wellbeing  

The health and wellbeing of employees is paramount. If they are suffering from a physical or mental ailment, for example, it will inevitably affect their performance at work. That is why they should feel comfortable confiding in managers and taking sickness leave.  To promote health and wellbeing in the workplace, employers can organise online mental health catch-ups, virtual guided meditation classes and more. Then, in turn, remote workers are more likely to engage with the business.    

Why time tracking software ISN’T the answer! 

It’s easy to consider businesses in a purely quantitative manner. However, these companies are made up of people from all walks of life with various personalities. This means that one method of encouraging engagement, such as time tracking software, does not always work.  

Time tracking software is a commonly used tool. It allows managers to oversee the daily activities of remote workers, including the level of work being completed at home. Despite the visibility it gives employers, time tracking software is actually harmful to the productivity of remote workers. Not only can it put unnecessary pressure on workers to complete tasks, but it can also foster a mistrusting environment that demotivates workers.  

A spokesperson at Weekly10 has commented: “Employee engagement is the driving force of success. There are multiple ways to encourage this, such as harnessing positive attitudes and encouraging personal development. However, time tracking software is not the answer to improve business operations. While it tracks multiple factors – including the amount of time between actions – it is harmful to workplace productivity. 

“It’s also unrealistic to expect employees to stay at their desks all day. Employees cannot work at full speed all day, every day without experiencing burn out. Plus, regular computer breaks can prevent eyestrain, musculoskeletal disorders and circulation problems. Alternatively, employees can measure outputs and inputs with regular meetings, use goal setting to establish clear expectations and build a culture based on trust, rather than using time tracking software.”