Remote teams have become the new normal in the world of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to embrace the concept of distance working to stay afloat.
As remote teams have become more common, one thing became very clear for businesses worldwide remote working can be easy and effective.
Thanks to online tools like Slack, it has never been easier to work from home. It’s a trend that many expect to see continue, even after COVID-19 is a far-off memory.
But, as you know, productivity is vital, especially if you’re a small business owner. One of the major criticisms of work from home initiatives is that people might not have the willpower to remain focused on their jobs when their couch and television are mere steps away. As such, you have to make sure that your remote team remains inspired to do their work while maintaining efficiency levels without direct oversight.
Here are a few key ways to provide your remote team with the inspiration needed to fuel enhanced efficiency.
Offer Employee Perks
Many businesses offer perks to their in-house employees and even advertise them on their FAQ pages to entice new hires. Your remote team is just as much a part of your organization as someone who works in a physical office. They deserve perks, as well.
Providing perks to your remote staffers helps you earn their loyalty. With that loyalty comes the drive to succeed. If your employees feel as though they are a true part of your organization, they will want to stay with you. This creates success for them and the organization as a whole.
When you’re working from home, it’s easy to feel like you’re an island all on your own. It’s common to feel disconnected from the organization you work for, leading to a downturn in productivity and loyalty.
That’s why you have to step it up with perks. This could be something as simple as an extra paid day off for good performance. It could even be a gift card to Starbucks or Amazon.
If you sell a product or service that your employees have a need or use for, consider offering discounts to your remote team. You should be marketing discounts to your team the same way you would market discounts to consumers, like so:
Much like you would with consumer promos, like the one pictured above, you could provide different discounts to your employees at different times of the year.
For example, the Disney company provides steep discounts to its employees when shopping for merchandise. During the holiday season, they give a substantial boost to that discount to make holiday shopping easier for their team members.
Just because someone is working from home does not mean that they are not full time. And full-time employees deserve benefits.
This can mean everything from the basics like health and wellness products to health insurance to 401k plans and life insurance.
Providing employees with benefits shows that you are willing to invest in the health and well-being of your staff. In short, it shows that you care. If you want your employees to care, especially when working from a distance, you have to go the extra mile to show them that you care too.
Health insurance is obviously a hot button issue right now, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. That means having access to a quality insurance plan is more important than ever for employees across virtually every industry.
When you work from home, it’s easy to feel like you’re not really at work. Your job can start to feel peripheral. But if you provide something like benefits, it gives your remote staff members more of a sense that they have a full-time job, they are committed to it, and that the company has taken an interest in their continued wellness.
That’s how you build loyalty and longevity. Remember, it is far more expensive to hire new employees than to hold onto your existing staff members. Everyone needs health insurance, so if you’re not providing it, you will have a high turnover rate.
So, offering benefits will not only make your staff more productive, but it will help save you money in the long run that you’d be throwing away through constant hiring and training.
Offer Educational Initiatives
Workers often look toward the future when it comes to their careers. They want to know that they have a future within the organization.
That’s why you have to provide career advancement opportunities and create paths that your remote employees can take to get there.
When you’re working from home, it’s easy to be passed over for advancement. But, if you’re providing educational initiatives to your staffers and a direct path that they can take to make themselves more qualified for management positions, then they’re going to be more engaged and more invested in a long term career with your company.
If you have a large Spanish speaking customer base, consider offering Spanish tutoring to your employees to help them interact with a larger percentage of your audience. You could also provide management training or tuition reimbursement if your employees are interested in earning a graduate degree.
Make an investment in the lives and careers of your remote team members, and they will reward you with dedication, productivity, and loyalty for years to come.
Provide Your Team With The Best Tools
If you’re not giving your team members the tools they need for success, you will have a difficult time motivating them.
If a job seems impossible, then most remote employees will admit defeat before ever even trying. That’s totally counterproductive and will lead to a decrease in morale across the board.
But, if you’re arming them with stellar automation tools that are on the cutting edge of technology, suddenly those impossible, tedious, and time-consuming jobs become infinitely more doable. You could even provide them with a time management plan as an additional resource.
Brian Greenberg of True Blue Life Insurance says, “Providing your team with tools should be first on your list of priorities. Keeping remote teams efficient and lean is critical for growth in the early stages.”
If you want your remote staff to succeed, you have to first arm them for success. Otherwise, they will go into their job duties feeling like they have been set up for failure.
If you were hired to dig a ditch and your employer did not give you a shovel, you would have some serious reservations about your ability to do the job.
However, if you show them that you care about their performance and have given them the tools they need, they will feel that the job is within their capabilities and will try even harder.
Automation tools have become incredibly advanced, thanks to new and exciting initiatives in the world of artificial intelligence. And since your remote staffers are not in a physical location with you where they only have to turn around or walk down a hall to ask a question, you should make sure that you’re making the work as straightforward as possible.
Know When To Outsource
We’re not recommending here that you eliminate remote staffers in place of third party outsourcing efforts. Instead, you should use outsourcing to handle excess work that might put too much on the plates of your remote team members.
Take SEO as a prime example. SEO is something that takes a ton of time and energy. So, either you hire someone exclusively for this task, or throw it onto a random distance marketing employee on top of their other duties.
If you’re trying to pile additional SEO duties on top of someone who has other responsibilities, one of two things is going to happen. Either your SEO will not get the attention that it needs or it will succeed to the detriment of that employee.
Adding additional work on already taxed remote team members can be difficult for their continued mental state. When you’re taxed beyond your capabilities, it can cause anxiety, depression, and a lack of sleep.
Research has shown that anxiety and depression disorders, coupled with a short sleep cycle, make a team member 2.54 times more likely to have impaired performance at work. It also makes them 85% more likely to miss work on a long term basis.
Consider reserving some responsibilities for third party contractors. It will cost more, but you’ll benefit in the long run from increased efficiency from your remote workers.
It’s possible to succeed in 2020 and beyond when using work from home staff. By following the recommendations outlined in this guide, you will build a team of dedicated and hard-working remote workers that will be loyal to your company and serve your customers well.