While working remotely has become increasingly popular over the last several years, in the last few weeks, it’s become absolutely necessary, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. This global event is forcing companies everywhere to figure out the best ways to get work done from home, even if that’s something they’ve never done before.
As tricky as it is for employees to figure out a new workflow, it’s also tricky for managers to learn new ways to motivate and reward employees from afar. But now more than ever, it’s important to help employees feel appreciated and valued.
Whether you’re still struggling through the pandemic or reading this at some point in the future but still trying to support your work-from-home staff, we have some tips to help you reward remote employees so that they feel like valued members of your team.
Sometimes, a little shout-out is all it takes for someone to feel seen and appreciated. Complimenting a remote employee on their performance and/or attitude can go a long way toward helping them feel rewarded. Do this at weekly team meetings, on your ongoing office chat (e.g. Slack channel), or whenever the occasion calls for it.
Give a (personalized) gift card.
Gift cards are a great way to reward any employee, but try to take it to the next level by choosing a gift card the recipient will actually use. Try to avoid overly generic gift cards (like a Visa gift card, for example), which can feel really impersonal. Choosing something with the recipient in mind will help them feel more valued.
Send a handwritten note.
As nice as it can be to receive praise via email, a handwritten note adds a personal touch to any gesture. Take a few extra minutes to write out your thanks by hand; your remote employee will recognize and appreciate the extra effort.
For many offices, a company lunch provides a great opportunity for the group to bond. Plus, when the company’s buying, it feels like a nice little reward. Let your remote workers in on your next company lunch by having food delivered to them and then having them eat with the rest of the team over video chat. (Yes, this works if you’re all working remotely, too!)
Help meet their work-from-home needs.
Working from home isn’t always all that it’s cracked up to be. While some people think it means ultimate flexibility and working in your pj’s, it can actually be really difficult to stay focused and productive when you’re out of your typical work environment. Ask your remote employees what you could do to make their remote working experience better. Do they need a good office chair? A second computer monitor? What about a set of noise-canceling headphones? Identifying and meeting an employee’s specific needs can not only help them feel appreciated and rewarded, but could also result in higher productivity.
Reward with flexibility.
As much as possible, do your best to be understanding about the snags that are bound to come up with a remote worker’s availability and capacity. A little flexibility can go a long way toward showing an employee that you trust them (to get their work done in the long run) and that you value their sanity and work-life balance. It’s perfectly fine to set high expectations for your remote workers, but make sure you’re flexible where you can be.
Managing remote employees can be difficult, especially if it’s not a setup you’re used to. But even though things can be a little crazy with everyone working remotely, don’t forget to regularly reward your staff in personalized, meaningful ways.
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