5 Main Drivers of Remote Employee Motivation

Have you ever watched a football team without the motivation to try to win a game? It’s like they already lost before they even took the field. It’s the same for remote employee motivation in businesses.

When your team is disheartened, they won’t be motivated enough to put in their best effort, and your company’s performance will suffer because of it.

To avoid this outcome, you need to be proactive. You need to become the driving force behind motivating your employees and creating a positive work environment for them.

But in digital times, many remote team leaders struggle with keeping their team motivated and engaged—especially in the aftershocks of the pandemic.

So, you might be thinking: “How do I motivate my remote team to give their best effort?”

The answer to remote employee motivation lies with your employees. You need to understand what they need from you as a boss in order to properly motivate them.

In this article, we’ll share the key drivers of remote workers and provide you with some modern and powerful solutions to help boost your team’s morale.

But first, let’s address an important discussion about remote and in-person workers.

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Why do remote workers face more challenges than in-person workers?

The short answer is, they don’t.

It’s actually been proven that remote/hybrid employees are happier than in-person employees.

How is this possible?

According to a recent study, 88% of employees agree that the flexibility to work from home or the office has increased their job satisfaction.

It makes sense—employees have more control over how they work, when they work, and where they work. They can customise their work environments to maximise their concentration and productivity.

And let’s not forget the benefits of eliminating the distractions and interruptions of in-person work.

No more coffee breaks in the back, lengthy conversations with co-workers, or haphazard office antics to eat up hours in the work day.

Not to mention, cutting out the commute saves time and reduces transportation stress.

But the question remains…

…if remote workers are happier than in-person workers, then why aren’t your remote workers giving 100%?

5 reasons why your remote workers aren’t giving 100%

Lack of communication

Without face-to-face interaction, it’s easy for your remote employees to feel disconnected and isolated from the rest of the team.

This is especially true if your employees just transitioned from in-person work. They’re used to daily conversations with co-workers, inside jokes, the ability to walk down the hall and ask a question if needed.

As the boss, it’s your job to facilitate healthy work relationships and ensure channels of communication are always clear and available to your employees.

Try these phrases, for instance:

  • “Is everything clear?”
  • “Do you have any more questions?”
  • “Let me know if you encounter any problems.”
  • “How can I help?”

It’s also important to establish goals—both internal and external—to unify the team and keep them pushing toward a collective outcome.

Your employees need to know where you’re headed in order to stay motivated to get there.

They feel undervalued

According to a recent study, 51% of remote workers feel they don’t have support from their employer to deal with burnout issues.

Undervaluing your team members can have dire consequences for their productivity, and unfortunately, it’s an easy issue to encounter as a remote boss.

There’s no reminder to sign off at the end of the day, so the temptation to shoot your employees a quick email with an urgent task sounds irresistible.

You don’t always see your employees everyday, so it’s easy to let their workload or state-of-mind slip under the radar in lieu of more important issues.

And how are you supposed to have time to make sure they’re delegating to each other?

No one said remote work was easy.

It’s imperative to check in on your employees, make sure their workload is balanced, and recognise the hard work they contribute in order to avoid burnout.

Remember: a valued employee is a motivated employee.

Home distractions and procrastination

Working from home can be a blessing and a curse for a remote boss.

On the one hand, there are fewer distractions for your employees that would normally occur during in-person work.

On the other hand, there are lots of other distractions that can derail their productivity and motivation, right from home.

According to a recent survey, for a majority (61.6%) of remote workers, social media platforms are a huge distraction while working at home.

And other major disruptions affecting remote work include:

  • Smartphones (53.7%)
  • Binge-watching (42.1%)
  • Kids (33.8%)
  • Gaming (30.4%)
  • News media (24.3%)
  • Pets (18.1%)
  • Online shopping (16%)
  • Partner (12.3%).

Whether it’s the pile of laundry they’ve been ignoring or the dog barking at the mailman, these distractions can really add up and make it difficult for your employees to focus.

So what can be done?

It’s important to recognise these distractions and find ways to mitigate them in your work environment. You can encourage your employees to set boundaries with family members or create a designated workspace that’s free from household clutter.

By taking steps to minimise home distractions and combat procrastination, your employees can make the most of their work-from-home situation and stay on track toward their goals.


As a remote boss, you might have found yourself in a situation like this:

You have an ongoing task that you need to finish ASAP.

You start working, only intending to spend a couple of hours on it, and before you know it…

…10 hours have passed.

The sun has set, the kids are home from school, the TV show you were going to watch came and went—and your entire day slipped right out from under you.

This kind of unintentional work grind exists for your employees, too.

As a remote worker, it can be difficult—near impossible—to disconnect from work.

And the statistics agree:

According to a study, 86% of employees who work from home full-time experience burnout.

Don’t let your employees fall into this trap.

Reassure them that it’s okay to take breaks, set boundaries, and ask for extensions if they feel overwhelmed by their workload.

Quiet quitting

This is a relatively new trend, and working from home makes it almost impossible to notice.

Your employee may not have officially handed in their resignation yet, but they could be mentally checked out, just going through the motions, without giving off any clear signals that they’re about to quit.

Signs of quiet quitting can include:

  • Missed deadlines
  • Decreased communication
  • Lack of enthusiasm

As a leader, it can be difficult to notice these signs when you’re not in the same physical space as your employees. But catching quiet-quitting early is crucial to keeping your team on track and engaged.

It’s important to keep an eye out for signs of disengagement and address them before it’s too late.

How to repair your remote team’s morale with 5 modern solutions

Now that we identified the evil of your employees’ motivation, it’s time to eliminate them.

Let’s explore some of the most effective methods to keep remote employees engaged.

Encourage open communication

Encouraging open communication can help team members feel connected and engaged.

To improve your team’s communication, try:

  • Regular check-ins with team members
  • Using video conferencing for meetings
  • Setting clear communication expectations and guidelines

These are simple solutions. But they add up overtime to create a healthy, involved, and efficient work environment.

The truth is: communication is the backbone of your team’s performance.

Without it, they’re not a team—just a bunch of remote workers under the same company name.

Always make your expectations clear

When employees don’t have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them, how are they supposed to get motivated to do it?

To fix this, set SMART goals for each team member. This means goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

It helps to break things down into smaller, more manageable tasks so everyone knows exactly what they need to do and when.

Another key tip: clarify job responsibilities and expectations. Make sure each person knows what they’re responsible for and how their work fits into the bigger picture.

This will help them feel more connected to the company’s mission and more motivated to do their best work.

Promote work-life balance

Like we talked about earlier, the line between work and personal life can get blurry when you’re a remote worker.

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to promote a healthy work-life balance for your team.

There are a few things you can do:

  • Encourage your team to take breaks throughout the day. It’s important for them to step away from their screens and recharge. You could even build break times into your team’s workday.
  • Set realistic expectations for work hours. Just because your employees are working from home doesn’t mean they should be working around the clock.
  • Offer flexibility when it comes to scheduling. If an employee needs to take care of personal matters during the day, allow them to adjust their work schedule accordingly.

Not only will your team appreciate your efforts to support their well-being, but it can also lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

Remember, a rested and rejuvenated employee is happy and motivated at work.

Provide opportunities for social interaction

Remote teams often miss out on the social interactions that in-person teams enjoy.

But don’t worry—there are plenty of ways you can help your team bond and have fun together.

Try these ideas:

  • Organise virtual team-building activities like trivia games or group workouts. They’re a great way to break the ice and bring your team together.
  • Schedule virtual happy hours or coffee breaks. Set up a video call, bring your favourite beverage, and just chat and catch up with each other like you would at the office.
  • Consider online games or challenges that your team can participate in together. Maybe you could start a friendly competition, or challenge everyone to complete a task by a certain deadline.
  • Discussion forums or chat rooms are a great way for your team to stay in touch and share ideas outside of official meetings.

By implementing these ideas, you can create a sense of camaraderie and make your team feel more supported at work.

Show appreciation and recognition

If you have remote team members who feel undervalued, they can bring your whole team down.

Here’s how to fix it:

You can show employee appreciation and recognition by providing rewards or incentives for outstanding performance. Rewards like unique employee perks and benefits can get team members excited.

Even something as simple as sending a kind email can go a long way.

These things can motivate your team to continue doing their best work.

In Summary

With remote employee motivation, you have to emphasise building a win-win environment for you and your employees.

Lead your employees by creating a positive work environment to keep your remote teams motivated and engaged.

Remote work has its challenges, but with the right strategies in place, you can keep your remote team motivated and engaged.

This is why it’s so important to be a positive force for your team. You have the power to make a massive tidal wave of positive momentum, simply by changing the way your team interacts each week.

Don’t underestimate the power of good leadership.

About the Author

Travis Gravette is the CEO of Abenity, and a results-driven professional with expertise in strategy development and execution. With a diverse background in leadership roles, he has successfully built and managed teams focused on sales, marketing, and customer service.

Team 6Q

Team 6Q