How to Keep Offshore and Remote Teams Motivated: the Ingredients of our Secret Sauce

February 6, 2024
Reading time: 3 min

How to Motivate Your Team Working Remotely?

You've nailed the basics of remote work: tech tools, remote processes, and mastered the art of video calls. But here's the real head-scratcher: How do you keep your work-from-home warriors motivated?

At Smartexe we manage numerous organic teams of developers for our customers overseas. Here are the motivation tools that we’ve developed throughout the last two decades.

Don’t Let Avatars Numb You

Working remotely, it's easy to forget there's a human behind every screen. Break down those virtual walls by actively engaging with your team members beyond work discussions. Ask about their families, hobbies, and pets, and not just in the monthly one-on-one.

Use these personal details to make your communication more friendly: “Mike, I heard you had a crazy weekend, mind telling us about it?”

Spice up your retro or sprint reviews with fun quizzes like "Whose pet is this?" or "Match a fact with a person."

Defuse Work-Related Stress

Set up cool hangout spots for your team! Sure, you've got the work-related channels covered, but why not create new ones for casual chit chat? It's the perfect time to bond over non-work stuff and add a splash of fun to your virtual workspace!

Create a dedicated channel to mimic stress-releasing conversations next to the water cooler. Hey, you can even call it a Water Cooler.

Inject some humor into it, and encourage participation with initiatives such as "Meme Mondays or Fridays." Mentioned some of the content there in a team meeting.

Laughter is the best medicine for stress and the best way to bring people together.

Step Outside the Box with Team-Building Activities

Online team-building doesn't have to be dull, here are a few ideas we came up with:

  • Virtual Escape Room event: solve puzzles and crack codes. It's a fun way to strengthen bonds and get those problem-solving gears turning.
  • Gaming Together: Encourage conversations about a certain new game with teamplay features and try to build a game team within the work team. It's a casual way to straighten connections and have fun together outside work.
  • Team-Building Games: use platforms designed for virtual teams. We like Drawize: Draw and Guess Game, Pictionary, and trivia which can help get to know each other better and build connections.
  • Online Karaoke Parties: not just for Japanese. Karaoke is a great way to overcome inhibitions, get to know each other, and strengthen personal connections.
  • Storytelling Workshops: where team members share their personal and professional journeys, failures, and successes. It fosters a sense of empathy, connection, and understanding among team members.
  • Watch together: rent a new movie online or a pay-per-view sports competition and offer team members to share the experience.
  • Masterclass: take a fun online workshop together.

It’s All About Balance

Remote work often blurs the lines between professional and personal life, leading to burnout.

Promote a healthy work-life balance by encouraging flexible schedules, setting realistic deadlines, and discouraging a constant "always-on" mentality.

Encourage the use of “away” and “Do Not Disturb” features to help team members disconnect from work. Remind them of the importance of taking vacation days and consider offering flexible schedules and mental health days to accommodate personal responsibilities.

Yoga, mindfulness, and meditation aren’t just amazing for our mental health, but also great for keeping a positive and productive spirit within a team. You can buy a subscription to a mindfulness meditation app and encourage healthy competition to achieve the longest daily meditation strike. You can also host an online Yoga workshop in the middle of a stressful day to help your team regain positive energy.

Keeping offshore and remote teams motivated is a multifaceted challenge that requires a strategic and holistic approach. So go ahead, sprinkle that secret sauce, and watch your team thrive!

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Looking to add a small and super-effective organic team of developers to your company? Give us a ping.