It is no secret that remote working has become widespread in the UK.

In fact, 16 percent of employees reported solely working from home between September 2020 and January 2023.    

There are many harmful misconceptions surrounding remote working, including the concern that employees may become less productive while working outside of the office.    

However, a study found that 51 percent of employees are more productive when working from home, and 20 percent suffer from burnout in the office.  

Here, employee engagement experts Weekly10, explore five ways employers can motivate remote workers, and why commonly used time-tracking software isn’t the answer.  

  1. Thinking ahead with realistic goals 

Employee engagement can be encouraged by setting professional goals. By thinking ahead and setting clear guidelines that coincide with personal development plans, managers and team leaders can help workers achieve their goals.  

That being said, these goals should always be realistic. If workers do not have enough resources to meet their targets, this can have the opposite effect and discourage hard work. They may also feel the need to work overtime, which can quickly lead to employee burnout.  

  1. Creating incentive programmes 

Once employers have established realistic goals, they can create incentive programmes for the workplace. It can be stressful to meet deadlines and targets, but financial and social rewards are sure to motivate remote employees.  

These incentive programmes can offer anything that aligns the company and its values, such as commission, wage increases, profit sharing, bonus payments and more.  

  1. Remember to recognise and celebrate success 

There is no denying that a little recognition can go a long way. So, to continue motivating your remote workers, remember to recognise and celebrate their success. From passing probation to reaching monthly targets, there’s lots of things to highlight in the workplace.  

Employers can praise employees on video calls, in monthly catch-ups or during team meetings. And, whether they use Slack or Microsoft Teams, it’s also a good idea to create an achievements channel for this very purpose.  

By creating incentive programmes and remembering to celebrate success, employers are supporting intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors. This is motivation that either comes from within an employee, such as happiness and fulfilment in their role, or beyond, including incentives and rewards. These keep the team driving forward while catering to every employee’s needs.  

  1. Practicing and encouraging transparent feedback

Next, transparent feedback is important in the workplace. No matter the nature of the job, employees should understand the successes and potential pitfalls of their performance, thereby promoting constant growth for their remote workers.  

However, communication is a two-way street. Employees should feel comfortable voicing any praise or concerns of their own. By conducting frequent 1-2-1 meetings, team members are more likely to feel comfortable sharing their feelings, and understand the option is there for them to do so. 

With this clear line of communication, employers are better able to spot issues, find solutions and help the team develop.   

  1. Prioritising health and wellbeing 

The health and wellbeing of employees is paramount. If they are suffering from a physical or mental ailment, for example, it will inevitably affect their performance at work. That is why they should feel comfortable confiding in managers and taking sickness leave.  

To promote health and wellbeing in the workplace, employers can organise online mental health catch-ups, virtual guided meditation classes and more. Then, in turn, remote workers are more likely to engage with the business.    

Why is time-tracking software not the answer?  

It is easy to consider businesses in a purely quantitative manner. However, these companies are made up of people from all walks of life with various personalities. This means that one method of encouraging engagement, such as time-tracking software, does not always work.  

Time-tracking software is a commonly used tool. It allows managers to oversee the daily activities of remote workers, including the level of work being completed at home.  

Despite the visibility it gives employers, time-tracking software is actually harmful to the productivity of remote workers. Not only can it put unnecessary pressure on workers to complete tasks, but it can also foster a mistrusting environment that demotivates workers.    

A spokesperson at Weekly10 has commented: “Employee engagement is the driving force of success. There are multiple ways to encourage this, such as harnessing positive attitudes and encouraging personal development. 

However, time-tracking software is not the answer to improve business operations. While it tracks multiple factors – including the amount of time between actions – it is harmful to workplace productivity. 

It is also unrealistic to expect employees to stay at their desks all day. Employees cannot work at full speed all day, every day without experiencing burnout. Plus, regular computer breaks can prevent eyestrain, musculoskeletal disorders and circulation problems. 

Alternatively, employees can measure outputs and inputs with regular meetings, use goal setting to establish clear expectations and build a culture based on trust, rather than using time tracking software.”  

 

 

 

 

Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.