If you manage virtual employees, demonstrating remote employee appreciation isn’t as easy as a brick-and-mortar company. You don’t have the opportunity for a face-to-face or group meeting, yet you are just as enthusiastic as any other business owner. If you’re at a loss for how to show your appreciation, here are some ideas that will leave you with a happier, more productive team.
17 Ways to Celebrate Your Appreciation of Every Remote Employee
Here, you’ll find 17 creative ways to convey your appreciation for all your remote employees.
1. Give a Small Remote Employee Appreciation Gift
If you have some extra capital to spend, giving a small gift to your digital team is a wonderful gesture they’ll appreciate. A $5 or $10 Starbucks or Amazon gift card goes a long way. To take it a step further, find out the individual interests of your employees and send them something that’s more personalized. They’ll recognize the effort you took to get to know them a bit better, and hopefully, it will foster a healthier work relationship moving forward.
2. Provide Branded Apparel and Swag
Almost everyone loves free stuff, but if you get something out of it as a business owner, you’re in a win-win situation. By providing branded apparel and swag, your employees can advertise your company and get something they can use every day.
3. Offer Professional Development and Extra Training
Although some employees are content with doing the same tasks day in and day out, others crave more responsibility and knowledge. However, you can’t simply throw your remote workers and freelancers into the fire without proper training. That’s why offering a training program, online educational seminars, and memberships to sites that grow their knowledge is a no-brainer.
If you already have a remote training program in order, you’re ahead of the curve. However, you can take this idea to the next level by increasing the professional development of your remote employees. Giving them one-on-one time with mentors and educators or sending them to a seminar or conference can encourage their development and improve their work habits. It may seem costly, but it’s an investment in your business that can reap plenty of benefits. Plus, it’s almost certainly tax deductible.
Not only will employees garner newfound knowledge about their job, but they will also be ready to take on more complex or advanced roles. You might just find an employee who seizes the opportunity and becomes your right-hand person.
4. Implement a Rewards Program
Rewards programs are a stellar way to show appreciation for a remote employee group. It rewards hard work and dedication while providing a fun atmosphere and friendly competition. You can make the program as extravagant or as simple as you’d like based on your budget. The important part is that you’re ramping up productivity and keeping your remote workers entertained and motivated to get the job done.
5. Send Personalized Thank-You Notes
Mass emails are a quick, easy way to communicate ideas and expectations to your employees, but they don’t come off as thoughtful when they’re used to show appreciation. Instead of drafting a single thank you or appreciation email, send each person an individualized message that points out their high points throughout the past year. It’s a morale booster that shows you’re a real person, and not just a name or an email signature.
6. Give Remote Workers a Voice
Few things are worse for an employee than feeling like they don’t have a voice or they’re underappreciated. This can foster perceptions like they’re merely a number or a cog in the machine. Implementing an employee feedback system or even asking for suggestions on how to improve the company offers a chance for interaction, which gives them an identity. In addition, you can obtain some fresh ideas that could boost your productivity or streamline a particular process, setting you up for success in the future.
7. Send Certificates of Achievement
Great employees aren’t easy to find, and if you’ve discovered a handful that are reliable and dedicated, chances are they’re increasing your bottom line. If this describes you, certificates of achievement are a surefire way to show your appreciation for each remote employee.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy for a remote worker to showcase their achievements. Sending them a framed certificate in the mail followed by a mass email to your entire staff can demonstrate your appreciation and let everyone know how much you value their work. Try not to make every certificate the same. Title the award based on the great work you team member is doing. It may seem a bit boastful, but who doesn’t like to toot their own horn every once in a while?
8. Send Snail Mail to a Remote Employee Sharing Your Appreciation
A personalized letter of appreciation by email is a nice way to show your gratitude. Take it a step further by sending a letter in the mail. Your remote worker will notice you’ve gone the extra mile. Plus, if you asked most people, just about everyone likes getting something in the mail that’s not junk or a bill.
9. Build an Online Community
When workers transition from the office to 100 percent remote, the change can often leave them feeling a tad lonely. There are no more watercooler discussions, chats about “Dancing With the Stars,” or wrap-ups of all the weekend’s sporting events. However, it’s possible to achieve this office-like culture by building an online community. Chat rooms, video conferences, social media groups, and team collaboration platforms provide opportunities for employees to interact with each other from afar. Remote employees may not appreciate the opportunity at first, but once they’ve done an online gig without these interactive resources, they’ll see your efforts in a new light.
10. Set Up a Convenient Virtual Meeting
Running a business is hard work, and if you’re successful, chances are you’re working far more than you’re doing any other task. When you have to worry about the day-to-day operations of a company, setting up a virtual meeting that coincides with your schedule just makes sense.
But when your employees are in different time zones across the country or the globe, that can be problematic. It can cause meeting attendees to miss their kid’s ballgame or require them to wake up at 1 a.m. in their time zone for a conference call. One way to show your remote employee appreciation is to share in this type of “suffering.”
Allow your employees to schedule meetings that are convenient for them to attend, even if it’s inconvenient for you. The best coaches and bosses in the world are the ones who wouldn’t expect their employees to do something they wouldn’t do themselves.
11. Boost Your Year-Round Remote Employee Appreciation
You don’t have to wait until Employee Appreciation Day in March each year to appreciate and recognize individual employees or your entire team. Instead, focus on both appreciation and recognition when a remote employee accomplishes a task or project ahead of deadline, under budget, or above a client’s expectations. Instead of your gratitude feeling like a formality or necessity during an annual holiday, you’ll keep your team happy throughout the year.
12. Showcase Your Staff Online
Most remote companies have an “About” section on their website that helps customers put a face with the names they’ll be working with. This encourages a more friendly and trustworthy business relationship. However, many online businesses fall short because they only put the top-level people on their website.
Instead of showcasing the CEO, CFO, CIO, etc., feature all of your employees on your website. Posting a small personal blurb and a photo of each remote worker shows you’re proud of their work and helps them feel like they’re part of something bigger.
13. Recognize Life Milestones and Achievements
Mentioning your employees’ work accomplishments on emails or message boards is another great way to show your appreciation. Compound on this idea and demonstrate individual interest by recognizing events in your workers’ lives. If an employee gets married, has a child, or wins MVP of the adult kickball league, give them props. They’ll definitely notice.
14. Create a Venting Outlet
Whether it’s work or outside of the office, everyone needs to vent every so often. You don’t have to play psychologist, but opening a forum for venting, rants, or other concerns can improve employee morale and show that the entire team — including yourself — can let off some steam without ridicule or backlash. Set some rules that keep these venting sessions outside of controversial subjects such as religion and politics. The result might just be happy, more appreciative remote workers.
15. Offer an Extra Vacation Day (A Real Vacation Day)
Depending on your business, you might have employees, freelancers, contractors, or a mix of all three working for you. Freelancers and contractors don’t have vacation days, whereas employees may have paid vacation days. Either way, many workers don’t feel comfortable turning off the phone or leaving emails unanswered. Afraid they might fall behind or lose your trust, these employees can’t enjoy a real vacation day.
That’s where you come in. Voice your thoughts on how vacation days should be used, and tell your employees and contractors to use those days to the fullest. Without fear, you might be surprised just how much your employees enjoy a day off without work hanging over their heads.
16. Communicate Trust as an Expression of Remote Employee Appreciation
Part of the fun (or stress) of being the boss is that you get to make the final decision. You can unilaterally choose every supplier, client, hire, and minor detail without asking others. However, you might find that your employees are more insightful than you think.
Asking your workers for suggestions shows your appreciation and trust. Whether it’s a big or small decision, you can test the waters, dive into an untapped resource, and see things from a different perspective by entertaining suggestions.
17. Schedule Some “Just Because” Time
Whether you have 10 remote employees or 100, each one likes to feel recognized or acknowledged. Thank-yous and special occasions aside, convey your appreciation for your workers by scheduling time to talk about a mix of work and life in general. A short email will do, but a video call says “I care.” It also allows you to put faces with names and to learn a bit more about the people that (hopefully) make your job easier.
Conveying your appreciation for the work your employees accomplish is the key to an industrious, diligent, and contented remote team of employees, contractors, and freelancers. Remember, a simple gesture or two, can boost your productivity and maintain a work culture that’s conducive to success.
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