More than seven in 10 employees felt more isolated after a year of remote working, while 63% felt less engaged with their team, according to a study by One Poll.
While we’re happy to promote the benefits of remote working, we can’t deny that it provides challenges too. For those businesses with work-from-home employees, it’s important to counter the possible downsides and cultivate a strong sense of team which can otherwise be lost in the absence of physical contact.
Recognising and supporting remote employees in smart and meaningful ways can boost staff engagement, drive productivity and keep everyone feeling as connected as possible.
In this blog post, we explore eight ideas for recognising remote workers and improving a sense of team.
Looking for advice on how to support your remote teams? Get FREE one-to-one advice from our expert brokers on 01273 974419 or email [email protected].
Why is reward and recognition so important?
Recognising and rewarding staff for their efforts will help boost productivity and reduce presenteeism, while helping staff feel connected to the company. It can be easy to focus on the staff you see around the office every day, and neglect to recognise those working from afar!
Sixty-nine per cent of employees say recognition and rewards motivate them to stay with a company. While some company bosses may see remote working as a benefit in and of itself – which it is – it can also provide challenges which need to be addressed. The sense of exclusion from company culture is one of the key ones, but ensuring they are equally recognised will go a long way to solving the problem.
Recognising your employees can help:
- Boost peer-to-peer relationships
- Build better communication
- Develop a deeper understanding of company values
- Create a supportive environment
- Reduce staff turnover
- Attract talent to your company
- Improve productivity
We all know how good it feels to receive acknowledgement for hard work and commitment, so let’s look at some of the practical things you can do.
1. Team building events
Team building events can help staff feel more part of a team, and its impact can last long after the event.
Consider the following:
- Online quizzes/games: these can make a fun Friday event to bring a busy week or month to a close
- Video calls: it’s good to see one another face-to-face from time to time.
- Friendly competitions: For example, our Fitness Feb step count challenge pitted staff against one another in a friendly competition to walk as many steps as possible in the month.
- In-person events: If your remote staff are close enough geographically, you can have occasional in-person events or socials which bring them all together.
2. Virtual gifts
Every team member will appreciate a thoughtful gift from their employer. You can consider sending a:
- Gift to the door of your remote worker
- Virtual gift card: for example, food, fashion, experiences – cards can be personalised according to staff interests.
- Virtual or physical “Thank You” cards
- Special discount for a product or service: such as a gym membership, retail discount and more.
3. Offer flexibility
Giving your staff the autonomy to perform their duties the way that works best for them may also be appreciated. It can be offered as a reward for achieving pre-set goals. Ideas to consider include:
- Flexible hours (start earlier or later depending on personal preference)
- Occasional half day Fridays (based on achievement)
- Adjusted summer hours (earlier start for an earlier finish, or shortened hours)
4. Maintaining good comms
Maintaining regular communication shows your remote teams they are being thought of and still considered in plans. It’s important to ensure there’s a regular chance for staff to provide their perspective – as well as employers being able to give one-to-one feedback.
Ways to stay connected include:
- Regular group meetings
- Regular check-ins over chat/messaging, or video calls
- End of month meeting with the whole company
- Team-wide group emails – for news, mentioning of achievements, keeping everyone up-to-date
5. Peer-to-peer recognition
Employee recognition doesn’t just come from the top. It’s also incredibly important to build recognition amongst team members and colleagues. This will motivate employees and build a stronger team spirit, boosting overall employee engagement in the process.
You can improve peer-to-peer recognition through:
- Highlighting each other’s achievements on group chats or other virtual spaces
- Encouraging informal praise
- Social media posts, if suitable
6. Tangible and physical ways to connect
Whilst this one might seem tricky, there are actually lots of creative tangible ways to show recognition to staff even when remote, and can turn into a fun experience to plan and implement!
“One advertising campaign team recently worked with a national pizza delivery client. For a key strategy meeting, the team lead sent out pizzas to each team member, delivered to each at the same time, using the client’s pizza delivery service.”
7. Offering employee benefits – all accessible virtually
It’s important to offer staff a thoughtful range of employee benefits that support physical, mental and financial wellbeing.
Employee benefits and schemes to consider offering staff:
- Group Health Insurance
- Group Income Protection
- Group Life Insurance
- Health Cash Plan
- Group Critical Illness Cover
- Group Dental Insurance
- Employee Assistance Programmes
- Employee Benefits Platforms and wellbeing apps
- Gym memberships
- App discounts, monthly gym deals
- Health assessments
- Virtual GP/doctor services
- Offer virtual classes e.g., yoga, dance, workout classes, meditation
8. Employee development and training opportunities
Our final tip for recognising remote staff is showing your teams you’re invested in their development by offering training opportunities and career pathways. This is a way to boost your staff’s confidence in what they do, and show you are an employer who is willing to go that extra mile.
Ways to offer further training opportunities:
- Short courses and classes developing a range of soft skills
- Professional development courses
- Internal training and skills development
Getting to know your teams and finding the right support
The first step of developing a recognition and rewards scheme involves finding out what you’re staff need most. Seek out their opinions whether via surveys or more informal conversations and develop a strategy which addresses their needs.
An independent broker like Engage Health Group, can help with the employee benefits side of things. We will take the time to talk you through your options and gather the best quotes and terms from across the market, specifically tailored to the needs of your staff and business.
Our services come at no extra cost to your business, meaning you get FREE specialist support!
Contact us at [email protected] or call +44 (0)1273 974419 for FREE no-obligation advice and support.