With a large part of our workforce now working from home, managers have been tasked with managing (and recognizing) their team members remotely. We all know the importance of appreciation and the positive impact it has on morale and productivity. However, showing your appreciation to employees working from home can sometimes be a challenge. Here are five simple tips to engage with remote employees.

  1. Set up a recognition platform. Use Slack, Google Hangout, Microsoft Teams, or your company intranet to stay in touch with your team. Think of it as a virtual water cooler. For example, you could start the day off with a good morning message or meme. Don’t forget to recognize personal accomplishments and achievements, such as birthdays and service anniversaries. These platforms can also serve as a great tool for peers to recognize each other.
  2. Hold regular get togethers. Just because we have to socially distance, doesn’t mean you can’t get together online for a little fun. Hold virtual breakfasts, lunches, or impromptu happy hours using Zoom or JoinMe. In addition to celebrating team wins, such a new client or the successful completion of a project, use these get togethers to catch up and get to know your employees better. This can lessen the impact of isolation at home and build a stronger connection with your team.
  3. Go old school. Group communication is great, but it doesn’t compare to a one-on-one phone call or online chat with remote employees. Set up a daily or weekly check-ins with each member of your team. Keep your conversations casual and informal. Or surprise team members with personalized thank you cards sent to their homes. If budgets allow, you can even include low-cost gift cards to recognize a personal event or professional success. Make sure to align any gift card with each employee’s personal preferences.
  4. Don’t forget the P-A-T-S. Whether in person or remotely, recognition is most effective when you make it Personal, keep it Authentic, do it in a Timely manner, and be S You’ll also want to keep it frequent. Research shows that inadequately recognized employees are three times more likely to quit than those that are recognized regularly. Also, praise should outweigh constructive feedback. Harvard Business Review notes that top-performing companies give five positive comments for every negative one.
  5. Get creative. Need a reason to celebrate and recognize your remote team? Get creative. Send out virtual high fives. Move your existing programs like employee of the month online using customizable certificates. Celebrate fun holidays such as High Five Day on April 16, Say Something Nice Day on June 1, or Ice Cream Day on July 19. Try sending a lollipop attached to a thank you card on June 20 to celebrate Lollipop Day. Click here for a full calendar of holiday options.

Maya Angelou said it best, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is true for an employee working down the hall as well as someone working halfway around the world. In an ever-changing workplace environment, managing a remote workforce can be challenging. However, with a variety of unique low-cost opportunities to show your appreciation at your fingertips, recognition doesn’t have to be one of them.