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Keeping Millennials Motivated in a Remote Workplace

Keeping Millennials Motivated in a Remote Workplace

These days, more and more companies are opting to move to a remote workplace where employees are free to skip the commute and work from the comfort of their own homes. Since Millennials make up the majority of the American workforce, it’s important to understand how to successfully manage this group from a distance. Does motivating a generation that is constantly described as lazy and entitled sound tough? Here are some tips to make it easier:

Collaboration Generation

The Millennial generation craves working in a collaborative environment, which can be challenging when employees are remote. Luckily, there are ways that managers can get around this location barrier. Remote companies should rely heavily on video chats to make Millennials feel as if they are still logging meaningful, productive time with other employees. If your remote employees work in the same general area, try to set aside an afternoon to meet in person for a team-building activity or brainstorming session. This personal contact will invigorate Millennial employees and keep job satisfaction high.

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Way to Go, Millennial

Sometimes referred to as the “participation trophy generation”, this group of employees thrives off of rewards and recognition from their superiors. It may be difficult for management to remember to acknowledge a job well done when an employee isn’t right down the hallway, but it’s important nonetheless. Did someone meet a tight deadline? Take on extra work when a peer was out sick? No matter the size of the accomplishment, be sure to acknowledge the effort. Anything from a quick email to say thanks or a shout-out on the next conference call will light a fire under your Millennial employees.

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In Millennials We Trust

A pet peeve of this generation is the feeling of being micromanaged. If a company is just switching to remote work, it may be hard for a manager to let go of the control of knowing that every employee is where they should be. However, Millennials will not respond well when treated as if they are not trusted. So, how is a manager supposed to walk this fine line? Set up structure. Give Millennials long-term goals to work towards; then, arrange a weekly or bi-monthly check-in to go over progress made. Fight the urge to spot-check what a Millennial is doing during the work week and the foundation for a positive, productive relationship will be in place.

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Allow Flexibility

A recent study showed that 45% of Millennials in the workplace are more concerned with job flexibility than pay. Millennials don’t see the value in the standard 9-5 structure of corporate America, and work well when given the opportunity to adjust these hours. Provide these flexible working hours to remote employees as long as it doesn’t impact the business or aggravate customers. Showing Millennial employees that you understand a work/life balance is needed will keep them engaged and motivated.

Provide Room for Growth

Millennials are infamous for not being afraid to job-hop, typically staying at a company for less than three years. In a remote work environment, it is even more of a priority to keep Millennials personally and professionally invested with the company. Talk to remote employees about their future careers and desired positions within the company. Research local events put on by organizations like the American Marketing Association or Chamber of Commerce and encourage employees to attend to learn new professional skills. Millennials appreciate companies that have an impact on the world outside of the product or service being offered. Encourage these employees to take time off to support events or causes that work to better the community. Personal growth is just as important to Millennials as professional growth, so a company that offers both will be sure to keep Millennials around, even from afar.

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Joel Goldstein

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Making Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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