If you were to send out a survey and ask employees what motivates them, you’re likely to get a mixed bag of answers. Some may say money, which one could argue is probably in the top three of everyone’s preference, but it also depends on who you ask, and how financially secure they are currently feeling. For some people, money really doesn’t factor as high as other benefits, such as insurance, especially if they are supporting their kids. Other benefits rank high as well, such as time off, training, and flexible schedules that work for them.
A lot of workers want to feel proud of the work they do, as they search for meaning and hope to have an impact for the “greater good”. You may hear employees say that the reason they stay with a company is because they really enjoy the team they’re on, or they have an understanding manager that makes coming to work a great experience.
- The point is there are a lot of extrinsic factors, but what about intrinsic factors for remote workers?
- What drives employees to wake up every day and start their jobs, without someone dragging them out of bed like a reluctant school kid?
There may be just as many factors for internal motivation, but let’s look at a few.
Many remote workers need to feel supported in order to feel motivated. They often look to their managers to provide this, but it is also necessary to feel that the company and your coworkers can provide what you need as well. Feeling supported means that your team trusts you to do your job well, and that your manager hears your voice, and gives you what you need to help you succeed.
This looks different from one individual to the next, but it may be a manager that steps in for difficult conversations to help you set healthy boundaries with coworkers, or someone that lets you define how you get your work completed during the day. Feeling like your team, and especially your manager, has your back, can give you the confidence to tackle the day with a smile.
Along those same lines, remote workers value autonomy. A micromanager can really be demotivating for someone looking to have a say in completing their tasks. If a worker just feels like they sit around and take orders all day, with no allowance for input or suggestions, it stifles their ability to feel valued.
People like to feel as if they’re contributing to a larger whole, and not welcoming their feedback or allowing them to be independent can make them feel as if they’re digressing in their careers. Encourage remote workers to have a say, and they’ll become more productive and more efficient.
Remote workers also want to feel as if there is a level of accountability, both for themselves, their managers, and team members.
Work with them to set proper boundaries, and then let them go – once the guardrails are defined, trust they are responsible enough to do what the company expects of them.
Likewise, they want to see this mirrored across the team, and everyone held to the same standards. If you just have a few remote workers, and the rest are located in the main office space, make the rules the same, and be transparent. This goes hand in hand with having autonomy, but trust them to do their work, then get out of the way, and help celebrate their achievements when they do.
However, none of this would really work without feedback. Giving employees a voice to communicate what’s going well for them, and what needs improvement is a vital part of a well functioning team. Also, don’t just give them a voice, but listen to what works for them in receiving constructive criticism or conversations about issues on a project, for example. There may be a format that works well in getting your point across, and doesn’t make them feel overwhelmed.
Some workers may really desire very quick daily check-ins if a project is proving to have a lot of roadblocks, while others are more comfortable once per week. Likewise, some may prefer more formal options, such as recorded face to face conversations via a communication platform, while others are ok with a chat message here or there.
It’s critical to make this one of your first conversations when starting remote work, so you can lay a solid foundation of communication in the beginning.
No two people are alike, but it boils down to finding what works for your remote individuals and teams. At the end of the day, employees want to feel valued, and like they’re a part of a team that cares about what they have to say and contribute.
Feeling unified and a part of something that’s making a difference really matters when it comes to job satisfaction, and that helps get through the dreary or long days that can happen from time to time.
Remote workers are a valuable asset for any company – strive to help meet their needs, and watch them shine!