Working from home means we often have to be a bit more proactive in showing our appreciation to others. Whether you’re a freelancer working as part of a remote team, a business owner with different clients or a remote network, or an employee in a dispersed workforce, we sometimes need to put a little more thought into saying thank you.
In recent times we’ve witnessed how Employee Engagement has found a whole new meaning in the HR spectrum. In today’s competitive environment, boosting employee morale is of primary concern to employers amidst work pressures, targets, and organisational goals. It is significant for those working from home, who often lack those on-the-floor engagement events. But that does not mean organisations can’t go that extra mile to bring a smile to their remote counterparts. There are numerous ways to engage remote workers. By bringing joy to their day, you will not just lift their spirits but also encourage them to stay loyal and committed to the organisation in the long run.
Having worked in a startup and also a rapidly growing organisation – with onsite and remote workers – our goal was always to keep each one of them feeling included, important, and engaged. We always incorporated them into our continual employee engagement plans. Apart from giveaways, we would have online quizzes and games. We made sure they always had short in-between-breaks so that they could pause and reset.
How to show your appreciation for remote workers
Employee perks aside, there are plenty of creative ways to engage remote workers and show your appreciation. Some of these ideas could work for your freelance clients or networking communities too. These tokens of appreciation do not always mean expensive gifts. A bar of a chocolate with a message that says: “Thank You. We Care.” or recognising their key milestones or achievements can equally delight somebody. You could simply send a memento or a certificate to acknowledge their work anniversaries.
These are a few different ways you can show your appreciation and help to keep your remote workers engaged and feeling valued.
• Recreation activities to fuel the mind and body.
Find out what their favourite past time or activity is and plan accordingly. If the employee loves the movies, then special passes to an exclusive movie premier or event would be a great perk. But it could be tickets to an online festival, music gig, or inspirational talk.
• A gourmet lunch or dinner
Make a dinner reservation at a smart restaurant – or in these Covid times – have it delivered to their home for a leisurely meal. A happy tummy always bring out the best in people!
• Mark special moments
Send a small token to celebrate birthdays, weddings, a new baby or any other special occasion. If it’s a wedding anniversary, plan a beautiful private dinner at a good hotel with their spouse. Looking after and including their family members will be extra meaningful.
• Party Invitations
Once a year, extend invitations to your remote employees to the annual organisation celebrations. Invest in their travel and overnight stays. This way, they get to socialise with other team members and departments.
• Spa Voucher
A treat of a trip to a day spa or a relaxing head or foot massage can help them rewind, rejuvenate, and relax.
Access to a relevant or favourite magazine can be inexpensive but show thought and appreciation for their work. Pre-discounted shopping vouchers or tokens to spend with favourite retailers or brands also make good gifts.
Other ways to engage remote workers
You don’t necessarily need a gift to keep your remote workers engaged and feeling part of the team.
• Tools and technology
Investing in the right technology for them so that they can communicate and take part in any office-based meetings or discussions is really important. This shows that you value their input and enables them to make contributions and participate in meetings.
• Keep them up to date
Make sure out of sight does not mean out of mind. Make sure that remote workers are included and invited to relevant meetings and are kept in the loop of opportunities that arise.
Should any decisions or opportunities happen that are a result of ad-hoc meetings or conversations at the office, remember to email them with the information or update any group Slack channels or virtual collaboration boards with the details.
Keeping your remote workers engaged is much to do with keeping lines of communication open.
• Ask them
Nothing says that you care and value them more than asking them about their experiences. Be prepared to receive their feedback and take on board any comments – positive or negative. This will allow remote teams to feel they are included in future planning and their wellbeing is important.
The key here is to express that the employer recognises the efforts and also acknowledges the fact that their contribution, despite working remotely, is essential to the growth of the company. Needless to say, a happy and engaged employee is forever eager to go that extra mile to bring success to the project they are involved in and that in the long run.
Written with contribution from Shabnam Shaikh. Shabnam has worked with start-ups and international firms and has over 13 years of broad HR experience including leading and designing key programmes and best-practices in HR operations. Besides nurturing a little one, she also does Indian food workshops and enjoys photography, traveling, writing and clay modelling.