How to Motivate Remote Employees

Author: Madalina Roman

As more and more companies move towards remote or hybrid work, managers and leaders are faced with the challenge of motivating and engaging their remote teams.

Remote employees face unique challenges. Some may experience isolation after some time working from home, and others don’t feel engaged with the company and their peers due to the lack of interaction. All that’s normal, every type of work comes with struggles!

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Therefore, it’s important for managers to find effective ways to keep remote employees motivated and happy. In this article, we’ll teach you how to motivate your remote team.

How to motivate your remote team in 8 steps

1. Show your team you trust them

Trust is key when you’re leading a remote team.

When companies started adopting remote work there was a generalized mistrust. Many managers didn’t know how to manage their insecurities and created a heavy climate where supervision was constant.

After all, being at home, surely the employees weren’t working, right? Wrong. Several studies have shown that those who worked from home were actually working more hours than when they went to the office.

When managers trust their remote employees, it can have several positive impacts:

  • Boosts employee morale: When employees feel trusted, they are more likely to feel valued and engaged in their work. This could potentially result in them feeling happier with their job and enjoying a more positive atmosphere at work.
  • Increases productivity: Trusting remote employees empowers them to work autonomously, giving them the freedom to prioritize tasks and work in a way that suits their individual needs. This can result in increased productivity and better-quality work.
  • Builds a strong company culture: Trust is an essential element of building a strong company culture. When remote employees feel trusted and valued, they are more likely to be invested in the company’s vision and goals.
  • Encourages loyalty: Trusting remote employees can create a sense of loyalty and commitment to the company. This can lead to long-term relationships with employees and a lower turnover rate.

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A remote team meeting

2. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Communication is a challenge of virtual teams and it’s mandatory if you want to create a remote work culture. Remote teams thrive on communication.

By keeping communication channels open, you’ll help your remote team feel connected and supported. Encourage your team to use video calls, instant messaging, and other collaboration tools to stay connected on their day-to-day.

Looking for the best communication tool? Get to know the best group communication apps to use with your team.

Additionally, use weekly check-ins and team meetings to keep everyone on the same page. Make sure you’re available to answer everyone’s questions and provide constructive feedback.

Having regular 1-on-1 meetings are important for keeping employees motivated. They provide an opportunity for managers to build strong relationships, offer personalized support, encourage feedback, identify issues early, and increase accountability.

By discussing both work-related and non-work-related topics, managers can create a positive work environment that fosters motivation and success.

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3. Set clear and realistic goals and expectations

Regardless of all the advantages of working from home, remote employees can sometimes feel disconnected from the company’s mission and goals.

As a manager, it’s your responsibility to provide clear expectations and set realistic goals that are aligned with the company’s mission. Having realistic goals builds confidence and self-esteem in our abilities.

Help your team understand how their work fits into the bigger picture. When remote employees feel like they’re contributing to the company’s success, they’ll be more motivated to do their best work.

Learn more about the importance of setting realistic goals.

4. Offer true work flexibility

Flexibility in work schedules can have a significant impact on employee satisfaction and productivity. However, it’s not just a buzzword to use in recruitment ads — it should be a real option for employees.

It makes no sense to offer your team the ability to work remotely if they then have to be chair-bound from 9 am to 6 pm.

Being able to go to the doctor when they need to, extend their lunch hour if necessary, or even go to the gym in the middle of the day are all forms of flexibility that will certainly motivate your team, reduce stress and increase motivation.

By offering genuine work flexibility, you demonstrate that you trust and value your employees. This, in turn, can lead to a stronger relationship between the company and its employees, leading to increased job satisfaction and a more productive workforce.

5. Provide opportunities for growth

Remote employees, like all team members, need to feel like they’re growing and developing professionally.

By investing in your team’s growth, you’ll show them that you value their contributions and want to help them succeed. Here’s how:

Increase employee retention

Providing opportunities for growth can help remote employees feel valued and invested in their work, which can increase their job satisfaction and reduce the likelihood of turnover.

Offering training and development opportunities can also help remote employees build new skills and expand their knowledge base, which can make them more valuable to the company in the long run.

Boost employee productivity

Remote employees who feel stagnant or unchallenged in their work may become disengaged and less productive over time.

Offering opportunities for growth can help keep remote employees motivated and engaged, which can increase their productivity and output.

Promote professional development

Remote employees may feel isolated from the company culture and miss out on networking opportunities that are available to in-office employees.

Offering professional development opportunities, such as workshops, webinars, or conferences, can help remote employees build their professional network and stay up-to-date on industry trends.

6. Recognize and reward achievements

Remote employees often work in isolation, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have their important work celebrated.

Recognize and reward your team’s achievements regularly. Use public channels like team meetings or company-wide emails to celebrate your team’s accomplishments.

Send personalized messages of appreciation and gratitude to your remote employees. By recognizing their efforts, you’ll help them feel valued and appreciated.

Read: What to say to motivate your team

7. Foster a people-first culture

As a manager, it’s important to foster a positive culture that aligns with the company’s values.

Being people-first consists of prioritizing the needs and well-being of your employees in all aspects of their work, from communication to task delegation and performance evaluation.

To ensure the right work-life balance, keep overtime in check

Lighten your team’s workload by tracking time assigned to each client, project and activity

Here are some suggestions of actions you can take to help your remote team feel like they’re part of a supportive and inclusive community.

  • Encourage them to share their opinions without fear of retribution.
  • Offer work and schedule flexibility.
  • Promote regular career review meetings and give them feedback.
  • Encourage your team to take breaks and prioritize self-care. 
  • Use team-building activities like virtual game nights or online happy hours to build camaraderie. 

All these ideas come from a simple principle — the people who work for and with you are the most important element of your business, treat them with respect and prioritize their comfort and convenience.

Find out why work-life balance is important for the well-being of your team and its productivity.

8. Encourage your team to come to the office

In the aftermath of the pandemic, many companies around the world have adopted hybrid or remote work models to reduce costs and provide employees with a better work-life balance.

For those who still work in an office, creating a workspace that’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing can help motivate and engage employees. 

For those who work remotely, the trick is to make going to the office something to look forward to. Here are some tips to make your office enjoyable and a place where people like to gather.

  • Make sure the office is well-lit, clean, and equipped with enough workstations for employees who work on-site. Keeping equipment up to date, including both hardware and software, can also save time and reduce frustration for employees.
  • Provide snacks and drinks, such as coffee, water, and fruit. These small gestures can also go a long way in making employees feel comfortable and appreciated. By prioritizing employee comfort and convenience, companies can create a work environment that fosters productivity, engagement, and job satisfaction.
  • Provide a variety of workspaces. Not all tasks require the same type of environment, so offering a variety of workspaces can help employees feel more engaged and productive. Consider providing quiet areas for focused work, collaborative spaces for group projects, and comfortable lounge areas for relaxation and informal meetings.


Motivating remote teams requires intentional effort and a willingness to adapt to new challenges.

By prioritizing communication, setting clear goals, providing opportunities for growth, recognizing achievements, and fostering a positive work culture, you’ll create a work environment that inspires your remote team to do their best work. Remember to listen to your team’s feedback and be open to trying new approaches. With the right strategies in place, you can build a motivated and engaged remote team that drives your company’s success.

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