Part Two in a thee part series on The Mobile Workforce.
This is the second article in a three part series about the Mobile Workforce. Part one discussed how to stay motivated and efficient as a mobile worker. This article focuses on the role of a manager in enabling and motivating remote workers.
How To Motivate a Mobile Workforce.
With the work-from-home era upon us, managing remote workers have become an important discipline for today’s business leaders and managers. Many of the primary tenants of management – such as team building, communication, and inclusiveness – require a new approach when considered in the context of a mobile work force. Fortunately, as the industry has trended towards mobile offices, so to have the tools managers have at their disposal to bridge the distance between mobile workers. While a remote workforce might dictate evolving the way you manage your team, the fundamental principles of management still apply.
Team building is challenging enough with all your team members in the same office. So how do you effectively keep a mobile team’s moral high while ensuring everyone is motivated and driven towards the same goal? Here are practices that can help you:
Encourage cross-team communication – Tools like Slack, Google Hangouts, and Basecamp are all very effective ways to encourage collaboration, ensuring everyone’s voice is heard. Remember: When your team is remote, it’s natural for some employees to hide behind the veil that distance provides them. As a manager, you will need to take a proactive role in soliciting opinions from all your team members. It’s important to encourage critical feedback while also providing positive feedback so everyone feels like their voice is being heard.
Check-in with members regularly – Group collaboration is effective at bringing team members together. It’s equally as important to give your team members a direct line of communication to you, the manager, without the pressure of a group forum. Experts agree that regularly checking in with your employees creates a sense of commitment both to the project and the manager. It’s easy to let these simple management tasks slip through the cracks in remote offices. To avoid this try to set aside a specific time of the day or week when you reach out to your team members and give them a forum to express their thoughts directly to you.
Schedule meet-ups – A weekly meet-up (when geographically possible) is a valuable way to get your team in the same room to share thoughts, collaborate in-person or to simply have fun. Try to schedule a meet-up once a week where your team knows they will all come to the office for a group function. A startup I worked for in the past has a weekly “Friday fest” that included all the employees and their partners. We started with team presentations to all the spouses. We followed up with drinks, snacks, and fun games like darts. It was an amazing way to get everyone together and create unity with the team and their families.
Use video-conferencing – Video is one of the most powerful tools we have to bridge the distance between employees. There is a reason why video has taken over Facebook, Twitter, and other social media – it’s magic! Encourage your employees to talk on video when they need to interact. I’ve seen the shyest employees embrace video to the extent that it becomes second nature for them. Most of the major collaboration tools like Slack, Google Hangouts, and Skype have excellent video support including multiway conferences and screen sharing.
Remote offices are a trend that is here to stay. Employees are often more productive. Office expenses can go down. Employee efficiency can go up. As a manager, it’s important you stay ahead of this trend to ensure remote workers thrive at your company.
Stay tuned for part three of the series where we take a contrarian view, and consider reasons not to start a remote office.
Are you working remotely? What has helped you stay engaged? Talk to us @StarterNoise to share your experience
Colorado Native. Concierge Extraordinaire. Startup Enthusiast. Seattle Living Mama & Entrepreneur. Team Coordinator and Content Contributor @StarterNoise