How to motivate a remote team – Dos and don’t you need to know

by Aripriya Basu September 30, 2020
motivate a remote team

Imagine you are locked up in a room with only your laptop and phone.

You have multiple tasks on your to-do list and just 9 hours to complete the same.

So, you get started with it and finish the tasks by EOD. Not, bad right?

Now imagine you have to do this day in and out without talking to any of your teammates or managers. The same work daily, over and over again.

Soon you run out of motivation and enthusiasm. The work which you loved doing at one point in time has now become a mundane activity, like breathing; necessary but laking the punch.

Sounds depressing, isn’t it?

This is how employees might feel when the management fail to motivate a remote team!

Thanks to COVID 19, the number of people working from home has increased 10 folds. More and more people are now indoors ogling at their laptops and desktops.

While working towards the development of AI, they are losing their human intelligence.

But what can you do about it? Your powers are limited. Arranging a gathering in such conditions will be a fool’s choice, but is that all you can do?

Maybe not. Though you can’t meet your remote team physically there are other ways to motivate a remote team, thankfully.

Complete with a set of do’s and don’ts, this article should serve as your handbook to motivate a remote team

Do interact with them frequently

This is the first rule on how to motivate a remote team- don’t leave them alone.

Oh no, you need not breath on their necks for that, but a small video message from the management and a weekly video call should be enough to make them feel engaged.

Humans are animals, social kind.

In other words, we don’t like staying alone. The overused “leave me alone” phrase loses its importance here in that case.

Though many people felt the new-normal would be cool, working from the comfort of home, pajamas every day, the bed cum office arrangement is running out of the air for quite a few.

If you have started missing the office gossips, the constant chattering of the co-passengers on your way to work the endless humming in your bay, you are not alone.

Most of us are missing that!

As a part of the management, you can fix this vacuum (literally) to some extent?

How? Through the various video calling apps of course. Make feedbacks more interesting by sending video messages to the team.

Encourage them to revert in the same way.

In short, show your face whenever possible to motivate a remote team

Don’t sidetrack conflict

Siblings fight

Lovers squabble

Couples bicker

So why should teammates be any different?

Or are you under the impression that all is hunky-dory amongst your employees?

Then it’s time to look under the covers, or better yet, look under the covers frequently.

Ignoring conflict is a strict no-no while you are focusing on how to motivate a remote team.

Coordinating often gives rise to differences in opinions and conflict. It’s only natural.

However, too much of it can dampen the workflow, especially, if the team is working remotely.

Let’s bust a myth here:

They don’t.

They need to be sorted, and intervention is required at times.

Thus, check on your employees from time to time. If there is any bad air existing between two employees clear it.

Want to motivate a remote team? Make sure they are not locking horns first.

Do help them sort their time management issues

Even though your team might be working remotely, you want them to perform at their best, that too within the deadline.

Failing to do so will cost them and you. As a result, both of you will be without any motivation.

Thankfully, there is a quick fix that can save you and your time.

Not every employee misses deadlines for whiling away the time ( of course some do). There might be more serious reasons for the same.

Thus to avoid the same and to motivate a remote team, implement the following strategies:

  • Highlight the importance and more so the benefits of time management on each group call
  • Get together while setting monthly goals. Ideally, keep your employees in their comfort zone
  • Choose quality over quantity every time
  • Interact with them to understand what is causing the crunch of time

Ordering out to employees may sound fun, but it’s not effective in the long run. The focus is to become a leader, not a boss.

Only when you can understand the pain points of your employees can you motivate them to work better. All this adds up to one goal- better and productive work.

Don’t micromanage everything

Imagine you are making cookies. You have the oven, all the required ingredients, and a recipe book with the detailed process.

But you have someone poking you every 10 minutes with inputs and instructions about the baking process.

Then what is the need of having all the required things in the first place?

If micromanaging can make a fun activity like baking glum as hell, imagine what happens if you do the same to your employees.

By now most companies have all the technologies required to make WHF smooth. Be it for collaboration or communication, there are multiple platforms and channels in place to get on with the daily work.

But all of these tools lose their charm and usage if employees have managers blowing horns now and then.

They know what they need to do! Let them do it first.

Allow them to make mistakes. How else will you provide feedback otherwise?

Do sugar coat your lemons

“Your presentation was not up to the mark”

“Your presentation was good, but it can be made better”

Which one will you like to hear?

The second one of course, easy to wash down with a glass of water.

Your remote team will feel the same way. Thus to motivate a remote team, soften your blows while giving your feedback.

Think about it, doesn’t negative feedback from a client sour your mood? Even if you might not be affected, your team might feel differently.

Thus to be on the safe side and to motivate a remote team, wrap up your negative feedback in between positive ones.

Or just change the wording, simple.

Don’t ignore their growth

Why should your employees work for you?

For money?


On-site trips? (though out of cards currently)

They can perhaps get all this from any other firm as well.

What extra are you doing to motivate a remote team?

This question should be the pillar thought while you are devising a plan to motivate a remote team.

You need to give your employees more in addition to their paycheque.

Yes, in addition to bonus too, and that is investing in employee skill development.

Only when your employees will learn more will they earn more.

Of course, they might not work with you throughout their life, but when they leave the firm, they will have a huge baggage of knowledge and learning, something to remember the firm by.

Worth it right? To motivate a remote team, you need not do much. Begin by being empathetic, the rest will follow.


What not to say while trying to motivate a remote team?

While it’s important to keep a remote team motivated, the following things must be avoided:

  • Making up things during the feedback
  • Using guilt gratitude to get the work done
  • Asking for a detailed process that went into creating the desired result
  • Lack of appreciation

What strategies work for team motivation?

Motivate a remote team by implementing the following steps:

  • Timely payment
  • Taking an interest in their work and work station
  • Providing scope for self-development
  • Encouraging collaboration

How to motivate an overworked remote team?

Overworking can cause fatigue in all employees irrespective of where they work. Once overworked, employees find it hard to put their best foot forward.

However, certain projects are demanding and require more work done than usual. In such cases, hiring additional help, letting employees choose a work time flexible for them can be of benefit.