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5 Ways to Motivate Remote Workers

Employee-engagement experts share how to engage remote workers, and why time-tracking software isn’t the answer.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

There are many misconceptions about working remotely, including the idea that many employees may become less productive while working from home. However, Stanford University found that remote working increased workplace productivity by 13 percent. 

Here, experts at Weekly10, a performance-management software that boosts employee engagement through weekly employee check-ins, explore five ways employers can motivate remote workers.

1. Think ahead with realistic goals  

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

With that in mind, it’s important to set realistic goals. If workers do not have the resources to meet their targets, this can have the opposite effect and discourage hard work. Employees who feel the need to work overtime may experience burnout fairly quickly.  

2. Create incentive programs 

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

These incentive programs should align with the company and its values and can offer commissions, wage increases, profit sharing, bonus payments, and more.

3. Remember to recognize and celebrate successes  

There’s no denying that a little recognition can go a long way. So, to continue motivating your remote workers, remember to recognize and celebrate their successes. From coming up with a great idea to reaching monthly targets, there’s lots of positives to highlight in the workplace.  

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

By offering incentive programs and celebrating successes, employers support both 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. All help to keep the team moving forward while catering to every employee’s needs. 

4. Practice and encourage transparent feedback 

Transparent feedback is important in the workplace. No matter the nature of the job, employees should understand how their successes and failures relate to others. They should always know exactly where they stand.

However, communication is a two-way street. Employees should also feel comfortable voicing any praise or concerns of their own. By conducting frequent one-on-one 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.   

5. Prioritize 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 sick leave when necessary.  

To promote health and wellbeing in the workplace, employers can organize online mental health catchups, virtual guided meditation classes, and more.

Why time tracking software isn’t the answer 

It’s easy to consider businesses in a purely quantitative manner. However, 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 and is often considered demoralizing by many employees. 

Time-tracking software, a commonly used tool, 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 toxic environment full of mistrust that demotivates workers.  

“Employee engagement is the driving force of success,” says a spokesperson at Weekly10. “There are multiple ways to encourage this, such as harnessing positive attitudes and encouraging personal development. Time-tracking software is not the answer to improving business operations or increasing productivity. While it tracks multiple factors—including the amount of time between actions— it is actually harmful to workplace productivity.” 

The spokesperson went on to say, “It’s 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 impacts with regular meetings, use goal setting to establish clear expectations, and build a culture based on trust and respect, rather than using time-tracking software.”  

About The Author

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent,,,, and, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.