In a traditional office environment, there are a lot of tactics you can use to keep morale high. You can invite team members in for a one-on-one session or go out to lunch to talk. There are multiple team-building games and activities to play. It's easy to read body language and sense changes in tone. For remote teams, boosting morale isn't as straight-forward.
Unlike teams that work side-by-side in an office, you can't merely improve team morale by purchasing a pool table or take everyone out for a round of drinks. With remote workers, you need more creative, modern solutions.
Tips For Managing A Remote Workforce: 7 Proven Practices
Thankfully, solving team morale for remote workers doesn't have to be a long or tedious process. With just a few adjustments to your operations and technology, you can maximize team morale and make your remote team happier and more productive.
1. Have a Compelling Company Mission.
What is your company striving to do? What problem are you hoping to help people solve? When you give your team a reason to rally behind you, it can be incredibly motivating for them.
For example, HubSpot's company mission statement to help companies "grow better" is a concept their entire team can get behind.
Image Source: HubSpot.com
According to Comparably, HubSpot's mission, vision, and values motivate 94% of HubSpot employees to do greater work.
2. Respect, Recognize and Reward Your Team.
On a day to day basis, your leadership and managers should find ways to reward and recognize your team for a job well done. To keep morale high, it's essential to show your employees that they are valued and respected. One of the best ways to express that is by respecting boundaries and having empathy for their personal lives.
Image Source: Business Insider
"People and managers are very aware that everyone has personal lives and families," says an employee. "While people are expected to drive hard, they aren't expected to sacrifice personal or family time. The company even makes time in the workday for diversity discussion groups."
3. Encourage Time Off.
You shouldn't just give your team time off. You should actively encourage them to take it. Some companies go as far as to pay for annual vacations, but another tactic is to remind your team they have time off. When team members are out of the office, advise other employees not to contact them unless it's an emergency.
Image Source: Google
At Google, team members are expected to use their vacation, no matter what. The company recognizes the need to be out of the office.
"Employees are encouraged to be productive without overexerting themselves. We’re encouraged to take our vacation," says a Google employee.
4. Invest in Professional Development and Mentoring.
You can boost team morale by regularly investing in their professional growth through workshops, certifications, classes, and more. Because when your team gets better, your entire organization levels up. In a piece for Medium, Yuyang Guo, an intern program manager, identifies her mentors at Dropbox as a highlight of her career.
Image Source: Medium
"Mentorship is a key part of Dropbox culture, and I have been blessed to have many unofficial mentors throughout my time here as an intern and full-timer," says Guo. "They are not only role models and advisors, but also people who go out of their way to help you find opportunities, encourage you to jump out of your comfort zone, and vouch for you."
5. Bring Your Team Together.
If you can swing it, bring your team together once or twice a year. Even getting a few employees together in the same place can be great for morale. Customer.io, for example, brings their remote team together on trips to exotic locations.
Image Source: Instagram
The trips allow employees to get face-to-face and bond. Additionally, they can participate in interesting and fun activities together, whether it's bathing in a natural space in Budapest or exploring ruins in Playa del Carmen.
6. Do Regular Team-Building Games and Activities.
Many remote teams address employee engagement with a lot of creative team-building activities. At Scribe Media, they go even further to prioritize employee bonding. They have a Scribe Culture Bible, which employees use to hold each other accountable.
Image Source: Glassdoor
“Being part of the tribe is being part of a group of people that you know you can depend on, but you also know that they care about you,” CEO JT McCormick says.
7. Let Your Team Get Silly.
Once in a while, your team should let loose. Companies with the best company cultures let their employees get a little silly, whether you lighten up a meeting or have some time to swap dad jokes before a call starts. Menlo Innovations actually has a Viking hat that some team members have to wear during meetings.
Image Source: Snack Nation
"They don’t just believe in joy; they believe in their belief in joy. It’s that deep," says Perry Tims, Future of Work TEDx speaker of the culture at Menlo.
"What’s wonderful about Menlo is that their way of working is neither chaos or bureaucracy — it’s a way of maintaining a sensible flow of culture, tasks, and performance."
The light-hearted, fun vibe helps keep team morale up, and team members feeling happy and positive.
Boosting and Maintaining Morale For Remote Teams
Morale is one of the most critical aspects of productivity for remote teams. A huge contributor to morale, aside from everything on this list, is having the processes and tools in place to support your remote team. With the right collaboration tools to encourage connection, you can give your team the resources they need to do their job well, which is great for morale.