While remote work has been on the rise for several years, the COVID-19 pandemic caused it to skyrocket quickly. First, out of necessity. Now, however, many companies are choosing to continue to let their employees work remotely. Some are even offering new full-time remote positions. It’s estimated that 36.2 million Americans will work remotely by 2025.
While remote work has some built-in benefits, including more flexibility, it also has its fair share of challenges. Many employers haven’t yet figured out how to implement appreciation efforts or rewards for their remote employees. One study found that only 1 in 5 remote employees believe their employers have implemented new ways to reward them since the pandemic began.
A culture of appreciation is essential, whether employees work in person or from home. If you own a business or manage remote employees, it’s important to understand why appreciation is so crucial, and what you can do to make sure your remote workers are getting the recognition they deserve.
Listen to Employees
If you’re not sure how to show more appreciation to your remote employees, the easiest way is to ask. Remote work is still new for a lot of businesses. It’s okay if you don’t feel fully organized yet. Reach out to your remote workers to ask about their needs and wants, and what you can do better to improve their work experience.
Simply asking the question can make your workers feel more appreciated. They’ll know you’re interested in creating a positive work environment for them, which can help to establish a healthier culture and improve motivation and productivity.
You can also take a look at some of the trends that have started to occur throughout the rise of remote employment. Many businesses have been forced to rethink their resources and consider where they might be lacking. That includes providing adequate mental health resources for all employees – including those who work from home.
Consider how remote work is impacting your employees’ lives. They might have to work from home with kids, or they might have a harder time adopting a healthy work-life balance. You can help by implementing strategies like:
- Providing childcare services
- Offering access to telehealth and prescription resources
- Offering sabbatical programs
- Encouraging a flexible schedule
Don’t just listen to ideas once. Check in with your remote employees regularly to see how they’re doing, and learn more about what you can do to improve their lives as they work from home.
Create an Inclusive Environment
One potential issue remote workers face is feeling excluded from their co-workers who are still going into the office. Isolation throughout the pandemic has proven to be a major issue, causing health problems that include:
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system
- Cognitive decline
One study from 2020 found that 20% of remote workers struggle with loneliness. Even those with families or roommates can still feel isolated during the day, especially if they worry about being “left out” from happenings in the office.
You can show your appreciation for your remote team by making sure they’re included in meetings, presentations, and even fun events. Improving internal communication is a quick, effective, and easy way for everyone to feel connected. It’s also better for your business.
Send out company-wide emails to everyone when you have announcements to make. Share information on cloud servers so everyone has access. Host weekly Zoom conferences with your entire office (including remote workers) just to make sure everyone is on the same page.
When remote workers know they’re included, they also know they are just as important as other employees in the company. It doesn’t take much to show that appreciation, but it will go a long way.
Easy Ways to Say Thanks
You don’t necessarily need to change your company culture completely to show more appreciation to your remote employees. There are plenty of little things you can do that will mean a lot to those workers looking for a little more recognition.
If you’re drawing a blank on some of those “little things”, try a few of the following ideas:
- Provide office supplies for the home
- Introduce peer recognition strategies
- Share customer/client praise
- Award certain employees each week or month
- Acknowledge employees’ achievements
Don’t be afraid to have fun with your recognition efforts. Consider having “quirky awards” once a month that is handed out to both in-person and remote employees. Host virtual happy hours every other Friday, or offer special perks to remote workers that will encourage them to spend more time with their families. Work-life balance can be tricky, so sending tickets to a sporting event or concert is a great way to make sure they’re utilizing the flexible nature of their job.
As remote work continues to become the norm for more employees, it’s a perfect time to get creative with your appreciation efforts. Doing so will help to reduce employee burnout, and create a culture of more loyal, productive workers.