Friday Q&A: How do you keep a remote team motivated?

Friday Q&A: How do you keep a remote team motivated?
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Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.

Happy Friday!

This week’s question comes from Shelana S., who asks:

This is a great question, and there are two parts to my answer.

First, having a motivated remote team starts with hiring the right people.

You can’t just hire good workers; you need to hire good remote workers.

Most people don’t have the organization, focus and motivation to be productive working remotely.

It’s not that they can’t. It’s just that they haven’t had to.

Successfully working from home is a skill, just like programming, designing or writing. It takes time and commitment to develop that skill, and the traditional office culture doesn’t give us any reason to do that.

Part of that skill is knowing how to keep yourself motivated through the realities of working remotely: knowing when to take a break, knowing how to turn off when you’re not working, knowing how to find social interaction if you need it, and anything else that might help you stay sane.

Second, we do a lot of the same things that regular teams to do stay motivated, we just do them differently.

Perhaps the two biggest are:

1) We celebrate wins big and small.

We have a Slack room that’s used for nothing but celebration, called #lil-bit-of-awesome.

Here, we share good news about Groove; positive emails from customers, press and blog mentions, metric milestones and more. Importantly, it’s also where people can give their teammates shout-outs for jobs well done.

It seems like a small thing, but having this dedicated space is actually a big deal for us. Anytime I see that room light up in the sidebar, I know that there’s good news, and I rush over to see what it is. It’s like getting a power-up multiple times per day.

2) We have regular one-on-one meetings.

One-on-one meetings saved our culture, and they’re a big part of how we stay motivated as a team.

On more than a handful of occasions, we’ve been able to nip issues in the bud in our one-on-ones that could’ve (and in the past, would have) easily become much larger problems for us.

When an employee says that something is really bothering them, they’ve probably been thinking about it for a while. But when negative feedback comes off-hand that something new that we’re doing or some new trend isn’t exciting to them, there’s a good chance that if the issue isn’t addressed, it’ll eventually turn into something that’s really bothering them.

And that’s something that the one-on-ones help me pick up.

These unaddressed issues, over time, make people unhappy, unfulfilled, and eager to leave. Nipping them in the bud keeps employees happier and more motivated.

How do you keep your own team motivated, remote or not? Help us all out and share your tips in the comments!

Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull Alex is the CEO & Founder of Groove. He loves to help other entrepreneurs build startups by sharing his own experiences from the trenches.