How to Build Team Morale Remotely: 17 Effective Strategies

By Oleander Johnson

According to the Pew Research Center (PWC), 83% of employers say remote work has been successful for them, illustrating that the digital nomadic lifestyle is here to stay. Spearheading this online work experience means understanding the correlation between staff morale and productivity. As such, it is essential that you encourage your online team the right way through solid leadership and compassion. Keep reading to discover how to build team morale remotely with the help of 17 effective strategies.

What Is Team Morale?

Team morale describes how a group of people feel in a specific context. Think about sports teams; when a team is losing badly, they, as a collective, may feel discouraged. In contrast, the winning team often feels invigorated and joyful. This shared emotional state is ‘team morale’ and can apply to anything, including remote teams working together to achieve a common business goal. Many factors can affect a team’s morale, for better or worse. For a virtual team to meet its objectives as a unit, team morale must be in good standing.

Why Is Team Morale Important For Remote Teams?

It’s easy to underestimate the impact of team morale, especially if you only consider the work output of each individual as its own isolated issue. But think about how your team members are interconnected, professionally and emotionally. Problems with one or two members can trigger a chain reaction until the entire team is dispirited and unmotivated to work at their highest potential. This is why team morale is so important.  

If your team’s morale is low, you may miss critical deadlines, people might come to work late, or some team members could leave for new opportunities. But there is a silver lining. Positive team morale can lead to increased productivity, strong interpersonal connections, and a team of passionate professionals who desire to fulfill their goals.


What Causes Low Employee Morale In The Workplace?

Issues that cause low employee morale in a virtual environment are numerous. These concerns can persist for long periods, or they may be fleeting–rapidly changing based on the team’s unique issues. However, there are common problems that frequently appear in virtual teams and create a negative work experience for everyone, such as:

  • Lack of Growth
  • Lack of Clarity and Communication
  • Leadership Changes
  • Leadership Problems
  • Issues With The Company Itself

17 Ways To Maintain Staff Morale In A Remote Work Environment

While there is no perfect solution for boosting team morale, actively supporting your remote workers in building a strong culture will help drive the change you want to see. With that goal in mind, try out these 17 team morale boosters:

1. Keep the company’s vision and message clear at all times

It’s normal for remote employees to feel somewhat disconnected from their team or company. Research from McKinsey and Company shows that 44% of virtual workers fear losing connections with their colleagues. To counter this problem, remind your team how their contributions are critical for the company’s overall vision.

2. Recognize employee achievements

Always look for opportunities to praise your remote employees for their achievements, like if they met critical key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics. Even the slightest acknowledgment is a great way to boost someone’s morale for the day. People put in hard work to meet their goals, so a bit of recognition and good news goes a long way.

3. Make sure it’s not “all work and no play”

From burnout to unrealistic work expectations, a company culture that encourages overworking and no downtime is a primary driver for creating poor team morale. You must balance work and play and create a system that works specifically for your team’s unique composition.

4. Show how much you care

Understanding and empathy are vital skills you should use when dealing with a group of people, regardless of their status as in-person or virtual workers. Employees want to know that you care about them beyond their weekly work quotas. 


5. Ask for feedback

When you ask your remote team members for feedback, that shows you view yourself as a member of the group rather than a disconnected authoritative figure. Implementing their feedback, when applicable, further illustrates your commitment to improving the team.

6. Encourage real breaks

Encouraging breaks tells employees you care about their health and that you don’t want them to overexert themselves for long periods. Intermittent breaks are essential for helping employees recharge and recuperate before their next work session.

7. Set up virtual support groups

A virtual support group is like a therapy session where everyone meets remotely and shares their problems. This can be a cathartic experience because it’s a chance for your remote employees to be open and honest about their feelings, boosting team camaraderie.

8. Define clear expectations

As a manager or leader, you shouldn’t micromanage your team, and avoid causing them to feel they need constant supervision to do their jobs. However, defining clear expectations ensures everyone understands their role and what they need to do to meet their goals autonomously and diligently.

9. Provide growth opportunities

Some employees may become uninterested in their position if their work is stagnant and monotonous. Allowing your team members to learn new skills and rise in the ranks can help revive their passion and job satisfaction.

10. Respect your team members’ private time

Everyone needs some personal time to be free from human disturbance and distraction. Allowing your team to have their private time makes them more likely to come back refreshed and ready to work.

11. Encourage connection and collaboration

It’s not always easy for team members to form bonds when they work from different ends of the globe. Natural relationships may not develop without your assistance. Therefore, you should look to encourage collaboration and team-building activities whenever you get the chance.


12. Play virtual team-building games

Virtual team-building games are easy to build morale because they’re fun and encourage a positive work culture. Even playing one game a week can help lighten the mood and bring your team members closer together. Virtual happy hours are often a very welcomed tradition to include too.

13. Start with icebreakers

Icebreakers are activities, games, and questions that help your team to engage and become more familiar with one another. You usually start a meeting with a simple and fun icebreaker, like the “Tell us your favorite movie” question or the “Two Truths and One Lie” game.

14. Plan physical meetups

While this option is only sometimes feasible due to cost, schedule a physical meetup for your team when possible. Remote team members may get tired of virtual hangouts, so an opportunity to meet each other in person is a viable way for them to develop friendlier connections.

15. Promote inclusivity and diversity

In a remote-first business, inclusive and diverse spaces are key for people to feel comfortable in their environment. Even in a virtual space, promoting these virtues shows respect and fairness toward all people.

16. Talk about the highs and lows

If you only talk about the bad points, that can discourage everyone. If you only talk about the good points, your team may miss key oversights in their work. When your team discusses the highs and lows of the job, a more balanced workflow and culture develop.

17. Take mental health seriously

Many outside forces can impact a person’s state of mind, from a constant barrage of bad news to a discouraging performance report. Understand that your employee’s mental health is important, and take the necessary steps to help your team members overcome their challenges as feasibly as you can. There’s only so much you can do, but your support and compassion make all the difference.


Questions To Ask Your Team To Boost Morale

When asking questions that help boost morale, you should create an atmosphere that puts your employees at ease. For any meaningful dialog to occur, your team must feel comfortable speaking openly and honestly about their feelings. Even questions meant to engage your team members critically should be asked respectfully–otherwise, you jeopardize healthy rapport.

Instead of robotic questions like “How can I help you?” or “What do you need?”, here are some questions that are a little more personal:

  • How can we help you reach your full potential?
  • What do you like best about this department?
  • What keeps you motivated at work?
  • What would make our workplace more enjoyable?
  • What do you see as our organization’s values and mission?
  • Have you taken time for yourself?
  • How are you feeling these days?
  • How have your energy levels been lately?
  • Do you have any roadblocks? If so, how can we help you overcome them?
  • What fears do you have about the team or company?
  • How can we be more transparent with you?
  • How would you assess your own performance lately?
  • Where do you think you can make improvements in your performance?
  • What are the biggest time wasters affecting your productivity?

Transform the way your team works from anywhere.

A virtual office in Kumospace lets teams thrive together by doing their best work no matter where they are geographically.

Headshot for Oleander Johnson
Oleander Johnson

Oleander is a professional writer with years of experience spanning topics from real estate to marketing to technology. His writing appears on major corporate websites including CoStar Group, Indeed, and NCR. After hours, this self-proclaimed bibliophile can be found reading a book or working on his fiction novel.

Transform the way your team works.