Working with a remote team (whether contract or employees) has benefits and challenges. When location isn't an issue for the position, you can find the best person for your job requirements. Still, even the best remote team can experience hiccups no matter how good a system you have in place.
If you're looking for ways to boost morale with your team - especially with holidays approaching (and a CRAZY 2020 in the books!) here are a few ideas to keep your team working well and motivated despite not seeing them face to face.
Show Your Appreciation
Everyone responds well to positive enforcement. Working from home or remote location can be lonely and a little boring day in day out. Some people love this feeling of independence, but others may struggle with the sense of isolation that remote working can bring.
Be generous with your compliments. Remember that, even though they are working or pay, every person on your team deserves your thanks (or they shouldn't be on your team in the first place!). They are making your life easier, they are helping you grow your dream, and that is worthy of praise.
As you check in with your team, reinforce how well things are going and how much you appreciate your support. Reward actions, such as hitting or exceeding sales targets. Celebrate milestones with gifts for employees or team members. Whether it's to say thanks, a holiday gift, or a reward for hitting targets, nothing is stopping you from sending your team physical gifts to show your appreciation. Just be sure to check mailing requirements if your team is out of the country.
As skilled and talented as your team may be, that doesn't mean you should leave them to fend for themselves. If people can't see the good they are doing, at some point they will lose sight of why they are doing what they do. Regular check-ins to discuss work, issues, new ideas, and upcoming project milestones can help keep your team on track and focused on the mission of the company. Plus, it's a convenient time to say thanks and show your appreciation as appropriate.
I check in with my team at least once a week to make sure things aren't slipping through the cracks and that everyone has what they need to be successful.
Trust Your Team
In most cases, remote workers thrive off the flexibility of not having to come into an office, and are willing to go above and beyond for you to get the job done because of that flexibility. Trust that your team knows what they are doing and don't need to be spoon-fed to get their work done. If you've done your due diligence in the hiring process, your team is skilled and capable. Trusting them, instead of micro-managing them, will help you reap big rewards over time.
If someone it consistently underperforming, check your systems and instructions before assuming anything negative about them. Then, see if they have any issues stopping them from doing their best. 2020 has created all kinds of stressors in the home that aren't typical in a remote work environment. One of my VA's had to relocate twice during the wildfires in California. Another had two children at home under six and a husband who was re-assigned to a job where he travelled half the month. Things that used to be easy suddenly were challenging. Talking through it helped right-size everyone's expectations, keep our team on track, and keep our clients happy during a very difficult time.
If you've got a healthy dose of competition in your organization, appeal to their inner competitive streak! Consider a visual scoreboard or chart to show company progress toward a goal, or to help your team see how they are personally doing as part of a team project. Keep things updated regularly so they have a visual representation of their work.
This list isn't exhaustive. There are plenty of ways to show appreciation or recognition to your team that don't cost a fortune. Ultimately, it comes down to being genuine and grateful about the people helping to make you a success.
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