In a conventional work setting, a regular worker would reach the office at about nine in the morning, where they’d spend roughly eight hours before heading back home and getting on with their personal life.
Then they might squeeze in an evening workout, catch up with friends over dinner, pursue a hobby or go for a walk to rejuvenate.
But when there is no nine-to-five at the office, the boundaries between work and play can get a little blurred, affecting the five-to-nine that follows. One may not be able to separate their online and offline hours, often being left with the feeling that they’re either working in small pockets of time throughout the day, or working too little.
A disrupted routine that often results in reduced commitment to other activities has been proven to impact relationships, as well as the degree of inspiration to work and job gratification.
Zooming out on motivation
A study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology in 2021 found that remote workers reported lower levels of job satisfaction and engagement when compared to those who worked in a traditional office environment.
It suggested that factors such as limited opportunities for social interaction and reduced work–family boundaries may contribute to these feelings.
The rise of remote work may have brought with it a range of benefits for businesses – from reduced costs to increased access to a wider pool of talent. However, multiple studies reveal that it can have negative effects on the motivation to work, particularly in relation to factors such as social interaction, emotional exhaustion and role clarity.
Strategies for success
Certainly, there are ways for employers to mitigate these factors and support their remote workers in maintaining high motivation levels.
"Offering professional development opportunities, such as training or coaching, can show employees that their career growth is still a priority even in a remote setting," says Fateh Khan, the Co-Founder and CEO of NASMAK Technologies.
"Providing the necessary tools and resources to do their job efficiently, as well as being flexible with workload and scheduling, can also go a long way in keeping employees motivated and engaged."
Providing opportunities for professional development demonstrates to employees that their employer is invested in their growth and believes that they are a valuable asset to the organization.
Training and coaching them can develop new skills and improve their existing ones, leading to increased productivity and better job performance – benefitting both the employee and the employer and fostering a sense of loyalty and commitment to the business, even in a remote setting.
As employees have the necessary tools and resources to do the job efficiently, they are less likely to experience stress and frustration caused by inefficiencies. This can help them feel more focused, leading to increased motivation levels.
Erle Alfsdatter Astrup, the CEO of Foods That Love You Back, concurs and offers another viable solution to strengthening motivation. "By offering Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPS), we have ensured that all our key players are incentivized for the success and company growth over the next four years."
Offering ESOPs can provide employees with a sense of ownership, incentivize long-term thinking, provide financial rewards and improve retention. As they have a financial stake in the organization’s success, employees may feel more driven to get involved in long-term projects that benefit both themselves and the business.
Ultimately, while remote workers may face isolation, lack of social interaction and difficulty separating work and personal life, by implementing strategies such as clear communication, recognition, professional development opportunities, flexibility and resources and support, employers can create a workplace that cultivates motivation and contentment in telecommuters.