Making sure everyone feels supported and valued - everywhere and in any way you can
A workforce is made up of tonnes of different types of workers. You have full-time staff, part-time staff, those who work remotely, and plenty of others. All staff are valuable to the business’ needs and output, yet remote workers can be overlooked by employers who don’t see them regularly. There’s a tendency to focus more on the staff you see around the office every day – but big change has arrived in the shape of COVID-19...
According to the Office for National Statistics around 1.7 million people out of 32 million in the UK worked mainly from home in 2019. Just a few months into 2020 that number has shot up in our global response and ‘lockdown’ strategy to fight the spread of Covid-19.
Since Covid-19 emerged those organisations who’s employees are not on Furlough or Key Workers - out on the front line, have redeployed them to work from home where possible. Will this level of homeworking continue post Covid-19? It’s hard to tell but it’s definitely given us food for thought and made us rethink the ways we interact with remote workers. Out of necessity Covid-19 has forced some organisations and employees to learn to embrace remote working as the ‘new normal’ – for now at least.
We should always support our remote workforce, we should motivate, guide and interact with them in meaningful ways, and on a regular basis. Also, let’s not forget that a fair few employees will be new to working from home - be sensitive, they’re adapting and probably facing their own personal challenges dealing with social distancing – There’s never a good time to overlook any of your workforce - strong leadership and communication is vital!
It’s not only important to engage and support your remote employees , it’s also important to show your appreciation towards them too and include them in your recognition schemes. Here are five ways you can reward your remote staff so they always feel part of the team.
1. Celebrate their success as part of the team, whatever the distance
When employees go above and beyond at work, they want to feel some appreciation for it. A company-wide email is a nice option (possibly one of the best at the moment!), but its effects can be short-lived. Why not take the opportunity to celebrate by having a team get-together that champions everyone’s successes?
OK so, at the moment we have an unprecedented social phenomenon with Covid-19 and can’t physically get-together due to ‘lockdown’ and social distancing. But thanks to technology, that’s no reason to stop us revelling in the organisation’s and employee’s success as one team, one community – Fortunately ‘social’ distancing can’t separate us completely in our digital world.
Employees are more inclined to push for greater success when they feel part of a team where their efforts are recognised and celebrated. A celebration is a great way of thanking individuals and the team for their contributions to the business - it’s a win-win, it facilitates human connection, everyone gets to enjoy themselves, feel appreciated and their hard work takes centre stage.
Hakan Evner, operations director at Morgan McKinley, talks about just how important events are for a great company culture , highlighting Christmas parties as the perfect example. Evner said: “It’s a great way of helping celebrate the culture of a company beyond just business success, and it also helps your staff get to know each other – particularly when the company is large.”
Events don’t have to be huge either (or in the same physical space thankfully) – from a light-hearted team bonding event or an online quiz, to a glitzy company award ceremony with trophies, red carpet – the works. All employees, not just those who work remotely, value this type of recognition – and HR agrees.
2. LOOK AT Alternative WAYS TO RECOGNISE AND REWARD
The best approach is to get personal with your reward scheme or employee benefits offering. The more the you know about your staff, the more confident you can be that the recognition and rewards you provide, will be appreciated. Get to know your employees so you know their needs and understand what reward will be well received and create that long-lasting connection.
Of course, there isn’t the opportunity for a quick water cooler chat with a remote worker, so it’s important that your comms plan includes methods that reach staff outside of the office and fills them in on exactly what they’re entitled to.
Providing remote workers with experiences, or financial alternatives, are a fantastic way to reward their efforts. Family trips out are a great idea – as many remote workers choose to work from home to ease childcare pressures – but discounts for their high-street shop, or even travel discounts can also be effective.
3. Get Creative - the Little things go a long way
Showing your appreciation for remote workers doesn’t have to cost the earth. Treating them to lunch, for example, is a small, simple way to show your gratitude. Yes, even now... especially now! Get creative – have a video call in your kitchen and make lunch together as you chat and catch up.
Take the time to talk to your remote employees, find out what makes them tick and feel valued!? It could be they’d like something as simple as a little gadget that will help them out at home, or possibly some yoga equipment to enhance their health and well-being. You may be surprised what they come up with.
In a list of the top ten perks employees prefer, extra holiday days, verbal recognition and gourmet treats (FOOD!) all rank highly in the list, so there are plenty of ways to rewards staff without spending vast amounts – you can still get personal without getting up close!
But don't be afraid to talk to them and see what they want either – it could even be something as simple as a little gadget at home to help them at work, such as a new laptop case. You’ll be surprised what they come up with.
4. Have a little fun
Many companies have reported increased productivity by allowing staff to work from home, yet remote workers might feel out of the loop when it comes to the fun stuff at work. Missing the team lunches or the impromptu post-work pint might not seem like much, but it can make your workers feel divided.
There's no shortage of fun ways of saying thanks, of course! Sports and activities for example, can bring out a little healthy competition between people, so why not have a ten-pin bowling tournament with teams made up of a mix of office staff and remote workers? Or a trip to the local laser quest to find the sharpest shooters in your team? Even mini golf can be a fun way to get people socialising.
But, it doesn’t have to be a company thing, employers can provide vouchers for activities for people to enjoy with their friends and family, from meals out and cinema trips, to pampering and adventure days .
When recognising team members, differentiating between how members of staff are rewarded can be demotivating, so make sure rewards are fair to all staff. The result? It shows you’re fair as an employer, and see rewards as a genuine way to promote company values.
5. check in and catch up in a way that connects with your team
Technology has made it much easier for us to interact with anyone, anywhere, and at any time... Under normal circumstances, connecting online can sometimes remove the personal touch you might be aiming for with your recognition, but its about adapting to your employees and what connects best with them. Whatever the setting.
Millennials are the generation most open to flexible working and working remotely, but they like being appreciated too. In fact, 26% of millennials admit recognition is what motivates them to their best at work.
A bit of social interaction might be just what they need, so having a quick catch up over a cuppa or even lunch, this will allow you to connect and develop the working relationship further. Gallup’s report into employee recognition found the most memorable recognition is from an employee’s manager, and that’s even the same for staff who aren’t office based.
Hanging out with the boss isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but 82% of staff believe that they’re not recognised for their work as often as they deserve, so when a senior person from the company takes time for them and praises their efforts it's very likely to go down well. It means a lot when Managers try to understand and empathise with their employees, and provide support and recognition in the workplace… that’s not to say following up with a nice little gift isn’t well received too!
hOW YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE...
Gifting remote workers with other rewards, such as eVoucher and digital rewards, or other lifestyle offerings like experience days can surprise the employees who thought they had you all figured out. The quirkier the gift or experience you can offer, the more they’re likely to remember it, and presenting it personally is the icing on the cake, no matter the distance
Click on the link below to discover our range of eVouchers and digital rewards to recognise the efforts of your remote team.