As we continue to navigate a new remote-centric work world, more and more organizations are asking the questions: How do you keep those remote workers engaged, motivated and empowered? 

When you don’t have much face-to-face time with an employee, traditional management practices can be difficult, if not impossible, to implement. Workers may also begin to feel isolated, focusing only on just a small part of a task instead of how their efforts contribute to a greater goal. This can be especially difficult when remote work is the only way to work. 

Don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to help make work from home more connected, goal oriented and even more productive than the office. Here are five strategies for motivating and empowering your remote workers.

1. Build Teams

One thing you can do is create teams. When your remote workers know that they are expected to communicate and interact with their coworkers, they can feel just as engaged as in-office staff members. “I may be working remotely, but that doesn’t mean I’m living on a desert island,” says content strategist Chris King. “I’m in constant touch with the office using some technological platform or another.

2. Plan Face-to-Face Time

Face time also helps. Phone calls and emails can accomplish a lot. Add in video conferencing and remote collaboration. A simple connection like this can make the gap between remote and in-house employees feel a whole lot smaller. While face-to-face meetings do have their purposes, a video call like this can bring similar values. They help remote workers understand their respective roles in company and team hierarchies, as well as help with conflict resolution.

3. Provide Mentorship

Another action you can take to motivate and empower your remote workers is to provide mentorship. People communicate in different ways, so a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works. Take the time to tailor your coaching strategies to each individual by his or her duties. Provide positive reinforcement, as well as constructive feedback, and position yourself or another team member as a contact person for your remote staff.

4. Gamify your team

Gamifying your team can make the sales process more fun and it doesn’t take any extra effort. Activity tracking can be completed automatically and instantly translated into graphics and charts that update in real time — and it works. Digital signage and real-time updates on performance statistics can keep employees motivated and engaged to increase the number of closed deals or boost whatever activities by which their performance is measured.

5. Share Your Victories

Gamifying performance also helps remote workers share victories. Watching the sales activities increase for your team as a whole can be motivating because it is easy for your remote workers to conceptualize how their efforts contribute to team goals. Easily see how efforts stack up against their peers. In this way, sharing victories encourage employees to cheer one another on or engage in friendly competition. Sharing performance updates in real-time on leaderboards can bring together different teams, departments, and offices in different locations.

[originally published 11/8/16. Updated: 5/20/20]