In the United States, a quarter of the workforce works exclusively from home, and 20 percent spends at least some of their workdays working remotely. More likely than not, after the pandemic, a good number of your employees rarely come into the office. Remote work has all sorts of benefits, from better worker morale to higher productivity and lower costs for employers — but remote work certainly does make leadership a good deal more difficult. If you have been struggling to find ways to appreciate the members of your virtual team, here are a few ideas to inspire you.
A Culture of Recognition
One of the best ways to ensure that remote workers feel appreciated for their effort and accomplishments is to build recognition into the culture of your company. A culture of recognition is characterized by a workplace culture in which workers feel emotionally supported by their coworkers and leaders. In contrast to organizations that encourage employees to compete, cultures of recognition encourage every worker to see everyone’s value in progress and success.
Building a culture of recognition takes time, and it always starts with the behavior of the highest business leaders. Senior executives need to demonstrate their appreciation for the employees they encounter, and in time, other business leaders and workers themselves will model these behaviors. Executives should strive to be timely and specific in their praise, which allows the praise to have greater impact. As you work to establish your culture of recognition, you might utilize employee recognition programs to track when, how and to whom you deliver praise.
Though your workforce might be remote, you likely still communicate with your employees on a regular basis. Using any of the communication and collaboration tools that keep your workforce connected, you can shout out the effort and achievement of employees to make them feel seen and heard. For example, you might:
- Mention an employee’s accomplishments in a company newsletter
- Post about an employee on company social media pages
- Recognize an employee’s work during a team video call
When you publicly praise an employee like this, you give that worker a meaningful memory they can associate with their effort and achievement. What’s more, you demonstrate to other employees what you hope to see in their work.
Still, public shoutouts are not always the best choice for every worker. If you know that a particular worker is introverted and avoids the spotlight, you might offer a more private form of recognition, like a simple email, a personal call or a handwritten and mailed note.
Believe it or not, it is possible to have a party with your remote staff. Workplace celebrations give your workers the opportunity to relax and enjoy spending time with their coworkers, which deepens their relationships and improves their social wellbeing. Your virtual celebrations should include a video call with the members of your team as well as music and maybe a few games. Employees should be given plenty of notice of the upcoming celebration, so they can prepare with tasty snacks and drinks — or you can send them care packages with the decorations and drinks they will need.
There are plenty of work-related reasons to host a virtual celebration, such as a completed project, an employee anniversary or an achieved goal. However, you can also host a lunch or happy hour celebration simply to give your workers a chance to blow off some steam.
Remote Trainings and Workshops
Career development is one of the most sought-after perks in the workplace — so much so that plenty of high-performing workers are quitting their current jobs in the Great Resignation in search of opportunities that will support them as they strive for career advancement. Offering top performers access to trainings, workshops, courses and other chances to improve their knowledge and skill is an effective way to keep them engaged, challenged and excited about work. Plus, it ensures that you have some of the best trained employees on your team. You can develop remote trainings and workshops for your workers, or you can partner with elearning platforms to make relevant courses available to your staff.
Remote work is the new normal, which means it is high time that business leaders find ways to manage their remote workforce. Recognizing the effort and achievement of remote workers is not any more difficult than appreciating workers in the office, as long as you have the right tools and strategies to get started.