The idea of remote working is slowly settling in the minds of Kenyan business owners. It is natural for entrepreneurs to take a bit of time before embracing change.
As mobile app developers in Kenya, we just dived in and started working remotely immediately after Covid-19 hit the country.
We have shared the journey with you including the tools that have enabled us to work effectively.
Our team has shared the challenges of working remotely and tips on how to remain effective while working from home.
In this article, we want to share some tips on how to keep your remote workers motivated.
1. Ensure the team is well-equipped
The office setting comes with all the tools that every employee needs. You have invested in the best tools and the fastest internet connection.
The equipment is always working. Employees can count on you to call technicians fast whenever issues arise with the work equipment.
What happens when issues arise when your workers are at home?
A simple technical issue can frustrate a remote worker for days. With the movement restrictions in this season of Covid-19, getting technical help may be a challenge.
We recommend that you check with all employees continually to find out if the required tools are available and working.
The tools will look different depending on the nature of work. Provide immediate help online where possible whenever an employee raises a complaint.
Now, you may think too far when it comes to technical issues. Sometimes it is just an issue of reconnecting a laptop to a new internet connection or installing a program.
Do not ignore or dismiss small issues. Have your technical team ready to assist at all times until your remote workers are settled at home.
The best time to check the tools is before your employees start working from home. Train them how to use all the tools they need and provide a channel to access quick help.
2. Schedule frequent meetings
How often do you hold meetings in the office? When you have everyone in the office, it is easy to communicate something without necessarily calling for a meeting.
Consequently, you can go for weeks without holding a meeting.
The nature of your work also dictates the number of meetings that are necessary in a week or month.
As mobile app developers in Kenya, we have to meet severally in a week to keep up with the clients’ projects.
Even with the best communication tools, we still hold physical meetings in the office.
Working from home means that we can only hold virtual meetings.
Although some aspects of human interactions are lost in virtual meetings, the interactions go a long way in keeping virtual teams motivated.
With communication tools like Gmail and Zoom, remote workers can hold conference calls easily.
Do not underestimate the effect of a virtual meeting.
If you had one meeting in a week in the office setting, consider holding more virtual meetings every week.
You can hold brief but regular virtual meetings to check on your employees. One-on-one meetings with each employee are equally important.
3. Set reasonable goals and expectations
We understand the anxiety that comes with allowing employees to work remotely the first time. We had to deal with it as well.
The situation with Covid-19 just makes the level of anxiety higher.
You want to maintain the level of business performance that you had before the crisis. Otherwise, you may not sustain your current workforce.
The goals and objectives of the company must be clearly communicated to all employees.
However, excessive pressure on your employees to perform in an unfamiliar setting may lead to poor performance.
Your employees are exploring new ways of doing their jobs. The home environment comes with its own challenges including unending distractions.
Set reasonable goals for your remote workers, especially when starting the remote work.
You can raise the performance targets gradually as they settle in and master the new environment.
Eventually, the employees will reach and even surpass their previous performance level.
4. Train employees on time management
The main challenge that remote workers deal with is distractions. The office setting has clear boundaries that keep employees focused on their tasks.
The home environment is different with potential distractions everywhere you look.
The Covid-19 crisis has made it worse since everyone is at home.
How do employees stay focused while working in an environment full of distractions?
In your virtual meetings, train them on effective time management.
One strategy that has worked for mobile app developers in Kenya is to maintain the office working hours.
We encourage developers to work during the day and start in the morning as usual.
In addition, we train employees to log off in the evening and maintain the work-life balance.
A lack of balance leads to resentment from other family members and endless fatigue on the part of developers.
Extra working hours are welcome as long as employees understand the need to take time off.
Poor time management for remote workers leads to busyness without any results to show at the end of the day.
5. Give rewards
Rewards for outstanding performance or extra effort have stood the test of time in motivating employees.
Remote workers are not so different from office workers.
Do not just set and communicate performance targets in every meeting.
Acknowledge the employees’ efforts to maintain and improve their performance while working from home.
Monetary rewards may be a challenge in these uncertain times. However, you can still find creative ways of showing your appreciation for good performance.
Mention it in your virtual meetings, give hours or even days off, and provide opportunities for growth and promotions and so on.
Rewards and recognition encourage recipients to keep improving their performance.
In addition, they encourage other employees to strive to earn the same rewards.
Where possible, give monetary rewards as well.
Working from home is a big challenge for both companies and employees that are accustomed to the office setting. Remote workers require motivation as office workers do to maintain a high performance level. Motivation strategies are important in the current crisis because employees are also dealing with anxiety. Employers need to show empathy and concern while enabling their employees to maintain the highest performance levels possible.