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Remote companies can pick and choose teams comprising of talented individuals living across the world, the office space is virtual and most communications happen on group chat or Skype. It means that startups and entrepreneurs are no longer restricted to talent acquisition based on location. Digital opens up the realms of possibility when it comes to flexible working.

Remote working comes with it’s own challenges for employers too; it’s not a case of walking over to a colleague’s desk or having a stand up meeting face to face in the morning. A remote worker’s motivation may dip throughout a project so how do you ensure they stay focussed and engaged?

There are a huge number of remote companies across the world who are getting the most out of their remote team, here are a few ideas they have used to keep employees motivated:

Arrange regular face time

Remote working can sometimes isolate individuals so ensure face to face discussion is in place to encourage an outlet for discussion and social interaction.

A quick five minute Skype conversation is all it takes to collaborate on a creative idea or to encourage an organic conversation. Often daily stand up conference calls or IM chat can discourage natural dialogue which could cause an unhappy worker to become more unhappy or de-motivated. Work around this by encouraging face to face time between the team to discuss ideas and book regular video calls with your own employees (once a fortnight should be enough).

Encourage self-improvement

We’re not suggesting that you need to tell your employees to become better versions of themselves, however, those who are successfully working in remote jobs are usually receptive to trying new things which will maximise productivity both in their work and personal life.

Social media company, Buffer are trailblazing the startup spirit with management approaches that have their workers feeling content and fulfilled in their job. Their transparent culture has seen the introduction of a forum called the Buffer Improvement Hackpad whereby individual team members are encouraged to publicly share a personal goal for the next fortnight.

Recognise effort

Written communication is particularly powerful when paying someone a compliment as they can read and re-read it again or email it back to themselves to remember in future. From the obvious displays of hard work coming from an articulate and vocal remote worker to the behind-the-scenes hard work from another member of the team – ensure all individuals who put in the effort are rewarded with a message, call or even a card in the post to say thank you. It will show your team that, despite working in separate places, you can still recognise individuals who have the right mentality.

Fund good ergonomics

Treat your employee’s choice of location to work remotely as an extension of an office you would have if you all worked together in the same location. A regular stipend for a good quality office furniture will allow your team to create a comfortable and healthy environment. These purchases will be a daily reminder for your team member, that you are invested in their health and wellbeing.

The company behind the development of, Automattic, are currently employing a large majority of their workers to work remotely, one of their incentives is the regular home-office stipend they offer their employees.

Encourage small talk

Social interaction is far and few when working remotely so encourage basic kettle-boiling chat by creating a separate chat room for your team to chat informally. Take it even further by setting up an internal blog which encourages your team to share their own knowledge and encourage discussion of a particular field of interest.

Automattic recognised that a number of their employees blog in their spare time so they developed their own internal blog called P2, which allows short summaries of new posts by employees to be automatically emailed to all employees. App automation company, Zapier, followed suit by creating the Aysnc blog.

Regular face to face time (virtually or in person), encouraging natural discussion or exchanging of knowledge will help improve adhesion within your remote team. These are just a small number of techniques used by successful startups and organisations to encourage individual motivation and productivity.

About the author

Olivia is a freelance copywriter, health & fitness blogger for Golden Pulse and personal trainer who works in London and Bristol. Olivia's favourite remote location to work has to be Bristol Library, writing in the same space where literary masterpieces are everywhere is awesome.

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