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How to Use Gamification to Build and Motivate Your Remote Team

Workplaces are changing, with remote teams increasing in popularity.

Remote workers don’t have the distractions of an office environment. But, they don’t have the engagement or social interaction of joint working spaces either. That can lead to unmotivated and unproductive employees.

To prevent this, companies have turned to gamification to provide engaging experiences and build a winning remote team. But what is gamification, and how can it help?

Here, we’ll go over what gamification is, how it works, and the strategies you can use to motivate your remote team.

What is gamification?

Gamification involves using and applying gaming principles to work tasks or processes to make them more appealing to employees. It could be in the form of a competition, leaderboard, achievement, or points system.

The goal of gamification isn’t to turn work into a game, but to use game-based elements to drive employees to be more productive, engaged, and motivated. It assists businesses in reaching goals, improving business practices, and better managing a remote workforce.

Why is it important for remote teams?

In traditional offices, there’s a strong sense of community, culture, and belonging. Employees can interact socially, foster strong relationships, and collaborate effectively.

In remote environments, workers can feel isolated. With fewer social interactions between employees, working relationships aren’t as strong, and communication can suffer. Groups can form, creating communication silos, and employees can be left out.

It has a massive impact on your business. With employees feeling demotivated, their productivity decreases, and business goals and success are impacted.

Additionally, unhappy employees and fragmented workspaces lead to low retention, affecting recruitment and onboarding.

Gamification can provide motivation to up productivity of employees, improve their experience, increase their satisfaction, and help them socialize.

By adding a fun gaming element, you can drive certain behaviors to enhance the abilities of your remote team.

How does gamification work?

Below are four things to consider when creating any gamification strategy to motivate your remote team.

Define your goals and outcomes

Understanding what you want to achieve is imperative to employing the right tactics to motivate your remote workers. Additionally, it helps identify ways to track and monitor the progress of employees.

After all, gamification is about getting the best out of remote teams to boost company growth and success.

Consider your goals. Make them specific and achievable. For example, you may want to increase the number of cold calls your sales teams make.

Once you have a goal, you can look at ways to encourage your employees to hit targets. This is where defining your outcomes are important. What happens once your team hits their target? What stops them from lowering productivity? What incentives do you have to keep them motivated?

Consult employees to ensure your goals are attainable and see what incentives will boost your remote teams.

Choose game elements for your team

Consider the strategies and elements that work best in motivating your team to reach your defined goals.

Every remote team is different and has different challenges. While some employees thrive in a competitive atmosphere, others prefer a stress-free environment. Which is best for your team?

For example, using hackathons in corporate innovation can inspire employees, and encourage creativity and collaborations. But, some employees work best on their own.

Choose game elements that suit your employees, bring out the best in them, and which are driving factors to increase their engagement and productivity.

Focus on the user experience

Games are based on the user experience, and your gamification should be no different.

Consider asking your employees about different gamification methods and how to implement them to promote ease of use. If you’re using apps, choose or design ones with a simple, intuitive interface. This way, employees will be motivated to get involved.

Track and measure

The overall aim of gamification is to motivate remote teams and drive business success. So, to know if it’s working, you need to track the progress of your gamification strategies.

Use KPIs and metrics to track and measure how your employees are doing. These will depend on your defined goals. For example, if your goal was to improve communication between employees, you could measure the number of messages sent by each employee through a chat.

It identifies areas where your tactics are working and where improvements are needed to overcome the downsides of remote work and motivate your remote team.

What can you gamify?

Almost anything can be gamified to improve the productivity and engagement of your remote teams. Some areas you may want to gamify to boost remote employee morale and motivations include:

  • Onboarding
  • Employee training
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Relationships

Gamification strategies to motivate your remote team

Use badges

Badges are an ideal way to appreciate employees and provide incentives to reach goals.

For example, you could give employees badges for reaching set goals, to acknowledge their skills, or to appreciate their work ethic.

When giving badges, focus on why an employee achieved it rather than how many each employee has. It will enable you to identify employee strengths and weaknesses and track their progress over time.

Make communication fun

Communication is essential for remote employees. But remote working communication is often through a virtual phone system or formal emails.

While a workplace focuses on work, informal communication is essential to foster good relationships and build better collaboration.

Gamification can encourage more communication and important social interactions between employees.

For example, encouraging emojis or gifs in messaging apps or having a weekly show and tell can move employees away from a stiff disconnected environment to an open, welcoming space.

As well as boosting morale, it brings employees closer, leading to greater collaboration and team-working. You can additionally track which employees are getting involved and which aren’t, allowing you to find areas of improvement.

Onboard new employees

Good employee onboarding is vital. It helps train new employees, improves employee retention, and provides an incentive for recruitment.

But onboarding can be filled with tedious tasks, like paperwork, setting up accounts, and learning about company practices. Using gaming elements will make this engaging.

There’s a couple of ways to do this. First, employ challenges, checklists, and progress bars to show employees in a visual way how far they’ve gotten in the onboarding process. Use leaderboards to promote healthy competition to get through onboarding effectively.

Secondly, use games to help new workers learn about products and practices. For example, ask sales or marketing employees to imagine aliens have landed, and it’s their job to describe a company product or service to them.

Ask your employees to present their sales pitches to the team. It’s a fun icebreaker activity that motivates new employees to learn about company products without sifting through lists of specifications.

Employing similar methods in recruitment can help attract new employees and build a better remote team.

Make employee training enjoyable

Training is necessary for business and employee growth. However, you may have a low uptake in training for remote employees.

Use gamification to train employees engagingly. Instead of just giving them training videos to watch, plan competitions or fun exercises around each video to show off their new skills.

For example, if you’re teaching a cold email masterclass, challenge employees to write compelling content to market their favorite foods and send it to their coworkers. Have the employees vote on which they think is best.

It reinforces the skills they’ve learned, encourages remote employees to work at the same pace, and provides them with a fun, social task to look forward to.

Offer rewards

An employee of the month scheme is an effective way to recognize and appreciate employees who perform outstandingly.

It often comes with perks, such as movie tickets or gift cards, promoting healthy competition and providing incentives for employees to be more productive.

When it comes to gamification, leaderboards can show employees how they compare. But after the initial novelty wears off, productivity can lower, and engagement can wither.

Using incentives gives employees an aim. It’s essential to drive remote employees to stay motivated and engaged.

It can also be a selling point for recruitment, as it shows you value workers that perform well, enabling you to build out your remote workforce.

Scavenger hunts

Information is shared widely in traditional offices. If a worker finds a useful document, they’ll mention it to a colleague instantly. This doesn’t happen in remote spaces.

Instead, have scavenger hunts for employees to find information in company intranets, and learn about new tools and technologies, such as what a wifi call is. Pair employees up to further facilitate engagement and collaboration.

Is it all fun and games?

Gamification fosters stronger working relationships, engages employees, and motivates your remote teams. With happier and more productive workers, it enables you to reach your goals, driving business growth and success.

It’s about bringing a new concept to the table, like with workflow improvement ideas to evolve with changing office environments.

However, finding a balance is critical to ensure productivity alongside a fun working environment. It’s vital to define your goals and identify the gamification activities that will work best for your team.

Ensure you track and measure crucial KPIs and metrics to ensure your employees are on the right track.

After all, gamification isn’t all fun and games.

About the author


Richard Conn

Richard Conn is the Senior Director for Demand Generation at 8x8, a leading communication platform with integrated SIP conference phone, contact center, voice, video, and chat functionality. Richard is an analytical & results-driven digital marketing leader with a track record of achieving major ROI improvements in fast-paced, competitive B2B environments. Here is his LinkedIn.