Did you know that over 40% of the American workforce has been working remotely and over 25% will do so through 2021? Whether you have a few remote employees or hundreds, you may wonder how you can show them your appreciation.
While you can't meet them all in person, you can use video calls, emails, and other tools to share the love. Then, you can make your remote employees feel like part of the team and improve employee engagement.
Keep reading for some employee appreciation ideas aside from traditional recognition and rewards.
Celebrate the Small Things
One of the easiest ways to show appreciation for your remote employees is to celebrate small accomplishments. For example, maybe you and your team members always struggle with technology during a virtual meeting.
Whenever you have a meeting where you don't encounter issues, take note of that. Congratulate your remote employees for getting through the meeting without typical problems.
You can also celebrate getting assignments and projects in on time. That may sound like the bare minimum, but it can be hard when everyone is working remotely.
It doesn't matter how small something is; don't be afraid to celebrate it. You don't need every celebration to be huge, but a little excitement can go a long way in 2021.
Share Positive Customer Reviews
You can also show appreciation for your remote employees by sharing positive reviews from clients or customers. Whenever your remote team's hard work goes over well, let them know that customers are happy.
Consider sending an email newsletter each month or week with positive reviews. Or you can use a platform like HR Cloud to help recognize your remote team. Workmates has the Kudos feature that you can use to shout out specific employees.
You can also email or message your employees individually when you know they were the specific person on the project. Telling employees about their hard work can make employees feel great.
Now, you shouldn't lie about customer reviews if they tend to be negative. However, you can use those negative reviews to help make your team better by reworking your processes.
Talk About Your Personal Achievements
Work is important, but there's more to life than your career. When you get a chance, ask remote employees about their personal lives, such as their family or other activities.
You can then see if an employee has recently bought a house or had a child. Or maybe an employee just ran a mile or started a new hobby that they enjoy.
All of these are examples of personal achievements, and they're just as important as work achievements. If an employee has done something exciting outside of work, share that with the rest of the team.
Other employees can congratulate their coworkers, and that employee can feel good. Don't pressure your employees into talking about their personal lives, but don't be afraid to share exciting news when an employee does have some.
Pick an Employee of the Month
If you want to choose an employee of the month, you do need to be careful. Sometimes, this can lead to jealousy and tension between coworkers, but it can be a good option if you do it right.
Make sure you choose an employee who is doing a lot of good, hard work for your company. You can even have employees nominate each other to help make your decision.
Then, you can choose employees that other employees like and admire. You can give a shoutout to the employee of the month at your next meeting or on social media.
Or you can sit down with them and ask a few questions about their work, such as productivity tips. Then, you can share the interview to recognize your employees in a company newsletter.
Share Important Dates
Another great recognition idea is to share important dates for your employees, such as their birthdays. If you have a record of them, you can also get the dates when each employee started their job.
When someone's birthday or work anniversary rolls around, you can give them a shoutout in an email or on social media. Tell them how much you appreciate having them on your team.
In the case of a birthday, you can send a card or a small gift. And a work anniversary is the perfect time to do an annual review where you can praise the employee.
Another way to praise all of your remote employees is to dedicate a day each month or year. Then, you can show appreciation for the team as a whole.
Send a Gift
Whether it's someone's birthday or not, there are multiple great opportunities for sending gifts to employees. You can send something simple, like a gift card to that employee's favorite restaurant.
Or you can let them order lunch using a company card. Then, your employee can enjoy that meal or purchase knowing that their employer loves having them on the team.
This is another great way to use the information you get regarding employees' personal interests. You can tailor each gift to the employee to show that you care.
Sending something small once or twice a year can be a great way to remind your remote employees that they're part of the team. Gifts can be an excellent addition to any employee recognition program.
Provide Professional Development
Professional development is important whether someone works remotely or at the office. If you haven't provided professional development for your remote team, now's a great time to start.
You can offer courses or sessions to help your employees improve their skills for work. Or you can offer for the company to pay for certain professional development activities.
Then, your employees can get better at their jobs, and they can bring those new skills to your company. While it may cost a lot at first, you may end up saving more in the long run.
If you can't afford to send employees courses or other materials, you can create an email series. Include a tip or two each day for a week that can help your remote employees.
To learn even more about managing remote teams and keeping employees working at home highly engaged, download our ebook now.
Make Work a Game
Now, you don't need to make work something optional, but you do want to make it enjoyable. When people work from home, they can feel lonely and like there's a disconnect between them and the team.
Fortunately, you can use gamification to make work more interesting. If you run a remote sales team, for example, you can create a leaderboard. As someone makes more sales, they can earn more points and advance to the top.
You can also provide other incentives to encourage people to get their work done. If a leaderboard doesn't work, you can use flashcards or fun characters to make work fun.
Then, people can look forward to starting work each day, even though they're not in the office. Having a fun company culture can be a great way to show appreciation for all of your employees.
Take a Day Off
If your remote employees work from home for many days without much of a break, give them the day off. Your employees can take the time to relax or catch up on things in their personal life.
You can give the day a name, such as an employee appreciation day. Or you can simply tell your remote employees that it's time for them to take a break.
If you can't afford for your team to take off a full day, you can have them take the afternoon off. And if that's too much time, you can let people stop working an hour or two early.
Either way, giving your employees some extra free time can be a great way to make them feel good. When they return to work, they may have more energy, so they can enjoy work and get more done.
Schedule a Virtual Hangout
You may already have video meetings to talk about company updates or client projects. However, most video conferencing programs allow for unlimited meetings.
Consider using one of those meetings to host a virtual hangout session for your remote employees. You can set this up at the end of the day or week, and you can have employees bring their own drinks or food.
Then, your employees can get to know each other outside of work. They can talk more about their lives and see who they work with on a daily basis.
If the first one is successful, you can have virtual happy hours each month or week. That way, employees can connect more with their coworkers.
Be More Flexible
One of the best employee appreciation ideas is to give workers more flexibility. If you usually ask people to work a traditional schedule, consider letting people work when they work best.
As long as you don't have to do work at a specific time, this can be a great option. Remote employees are busy in 2021, so they may not be able to stay focused for eight hours straight.
Consider letting your employees work earlier or later, depending on their schedule. Then, they can get focused and be more productive when they do work.
Celebrating Your Remote Employees
Showing appreciation for employees in the office can be as easy as playing fun music or bringing in group lunch each month. But recognition rewards aren't as easy when you have remote employees.
Fortunately, you can find multiple great opportunities to celebrate your remote team, such as virtual happy hours. Even though you aren't all together, you can still connect with everyone at work.
Do you need help showing your employees appreciation? Learn more about how HR Cloud can help.
About Author: This article is written by a marketing team member at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of proven HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee communications & engagement, and rewards & recognition. Our user-friendly software increases employee productivity, delivers time and cost savings, and minimizes compliance risk.