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June 24, 2020
Kate Marshall

Together apart: 10 great ideas for recognizing and rewarding remote workers

Today's traditional workplace is anything but traditional. As businesses grow, expand, and diversify, we're learning to think outside the cubicle and build engagement and teamwork in a global community.

Remote work is on the rise as a key part of a successful modern business model. With the advent of COVID-19, more than half of all companies have made the switch to the remote work environment. Our business clients are staying home together to better serve the people in our communities. For many companies, the shift to a virtual office was an easy transition, with 42% of employees already remoting in for 5 or more years prior to #WorkingFromHome.

For those who haven't yet embraced the benefits of remote staff, the current situation provides an opportunity to reevaluate business models and consider incorporating a remote workforce as a part of your company's normal protocol. Remote work provides employee flexibility which is highly attractive when it comes to engaging new talent, allows for lower overhead on physical office space and supplies, and offers a sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative to the 9 to 5 grind. In fact, many hiring managers would agree that remote work does not equate to a loss of productivity, but rather a more efficient, strategic model. One study found that remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than office-based staff. That adds up to a whopping three additional work weeks per year! Hard work like that shouldn't go unnoticed.

So how do we keep morale flowing and teamwork thriving in an online world? Start by rewarding and recognizing the achievements of your remote workforce. This simple list of ways to give a well deserved high five to your staff is sure to make your crew feel like a unified front, even from ten thousand miles away.

Ways to recognize remote employees

1.) Shout Out Good Work

Just because we can't see our teammates in real-time doesn't mean we can't recognize amazing effort. Highlight your key players each and every week. Include personal recognition at your next all-staff meeting along with a social media shout out each Monday or Friday. Social media is a great way to promote staff connectivity in a remote environment. Experts have found that communication platforms boost engagement and company loyalty. Plus, sharing the successes of your team generates brand recognition and word of mouth. One simple way to encourage people to stay connected is through Goals.app, a fantastic team-building tool for remote offices to track progress, set milestones, and celebrate their successes so you can stay together even miles apart.

2.) A Major Award

Share some laughs with your team by creating your own monthly awards! Give out fun, digital certificates for "Best Dressed on Zoom" and "Customer Service Superhero." Hold an awards ceremony at the end of each month to recognize great talent. Not only will this hilarious incentive earn lots of smiles, but it's a fabulous and simple way to let your team know they're valued.

3.) Support Employee Wellness

Remote workers need an extra boost of wellness and self-care. Support your team in keeping the positivity and productivity flowing with subscriptions to apps like Headspace and Calm. These mindfulness practices are perfect for promoting stress relief, reducing anxiety, and providing a series of engaging meditations and sleep talk downs to ensure everyone is functioning at top speed.

4.) Encourage Camaraderie 

Employee rewards don't always need to come from the top. There are many acts of workplace bravery that upper management doesn't always see. Encourage recognition among teammates with peer-to-peer rewards. Set a monthly or yearly allowance for coworkers to give a high five to their remote pals for going the extra mile. 

5.) Reward Good with Good

Rather than focusing on coffee gift cards and bonuses, give back to the community by donating to a charity of your employee's choice, in their honor. With so many options to choose from, giving back is a fabulous way to involve your staff in doing good and feeling great about their accomplishments.

6.) Fitness Focused Workplace

One of the challenges of a remote office is the lack of perks and incentives companies are able to provide. Gyms and fitness centers are among the best workplace benefits that wellness-focused executives value. Zestful makes it easy to provide the benefits of an on-campus gym without the campus. Establish employee fitness programs tailored to the interests of your staff. Fitness focused options are the perfect way to acknowledge great work.

7.) Year-Round Snow Days

Has your staff been burning the midnight oil and doing double time to meet important deadlines? Time off supports a more productive work ethic during the busy season. Build in a few "snow days" to your business model. Give your team the gift of some time off with a 3-day weekend every month awarded to an employee who deserves a little extra R&R. 

8.) One Time Bonuses

Surprise your MVP's with a one time bonus in recognition of their efforts. Spot rewards are a way to make employees feel personally acknowledged and valued, without the red tape of a yearly salary review or formal bonus. These are also a more fiscally friendly option for small businesses and midsized companies.

9.) Lunch and Learn

A virtual office doesn't mean no donut days! Provide your crew with a monthly allowance for tasty treats. Each staff member can choose their own lunch, coffee, and dessert fixes to get them through the day. Host a Zoom meeting luncheon with a guest speaker to bring people together, learn new skills, and enjoy the camaraderie of an office lunch without the office. Encourage employees to join in with a list of topics and skills they'd like covered. Mix it up with everything from remote yoga sessions to SEO, communications, and marketing classes for your superstar team!

10.) Entertainment and Experiences

From Netflix to indoor rock climbing, there's an adventure for every member of your team. Give the incentive of fun with vouchers to binge their favorite shows, an Audible subscription to jog their brains and promote relaxation, or a ticket to local attractions and venues. There's no better way to support a positive work-life balance than encouraging downtime among your hardworking staff.

Looking for more great ways to stay connected in a remote home? Check out The Crafting Culture Podcast and stay tuned for more fabulous ways to work from home, together.

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