While there are many perks to working remotely, one of the downsides can be feeling disconnected from your colleagues and employees. And if you’re an executive or manager, it can be challenging to show your employees that you appreciate them when happy hours and other in-person events are off the table.
Whether your company has always operated remotely or you’ve had to adjust to this new way of working amid the pandemic, it’s important to show your employees that you care about them to keep morale high during these tough times. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ideas.
Do You Think the Minimum Wage Should Be $15? Take Our Poll
Send a Small Gift
“The little things can go a long way,” said Kate Gray, head of people at Omnipresent, a remote-first company.
Gray recommends setting aside part of your company budget to send small gifts to your employees to let them know they’re appreciated.
“It doesn’t need to be expensive — it’s the personal touch that counts,” she said.
Some gift ideas she recommends include snacks and candles, which both can bring a little joy to your employees’ work from home environments. You also can’t go wrong with a gift card.
“Gift cards are always appreciated for items that employees find meaningful,” said Judy Slutsky, a certified professional human resources consultant with Goldbeck Recruiting. She recommends sending Visa gift cards, Amazon gift cards, food delivery gift cards or coffee shop gift cards.
COVID’s Financial Impact After 1 Year: See All Our Coverage
Make an Effort To Recognize Individual Achievements
Giving your employees the kudos they deserve can be even more meaningful in a remote environment since they may not be getting feedback all of the time. There are a couple of ways to go about this.
“Hold a virtual huddle meeting to recognize individual achievements in each department,” said Dr. Hamid Kazeroony, a faculty member in Walden University’s Ph.D. in Management program.
This can also be done via email. Dr. Dean Gualco, a faculty member in Walden University’s M.S. in Human Resource Management program, recommends sending out this email at the end of the week.
“Create a ‘Friday Finale’ email highlighting the week’s accomplishments and star performers,” he said.
Biden’s First Month vs. Trump’s: Here Are the Major Numbers To Know
Ask for Their Feedback
Jen Warne, chief talent officer at Lincoln Financial, said that one of the best ways to show that you care is to create an easy way for employees to provide feedback, and to really listen to their concerns.
“Soon after transitioning to work from home, we launched what we call ‘Feedback Fridays’ — two or three question surveys asking employees to weigh in on important topics that let us know how they are doing,” she said. “We ask about topics like communications, benefits, parenting concerns — and we address the feedback in real-time. We want our people to know we are listening, we care and we are working to meet their needs. For example, we instituted an emergency leave policy allowing additional paid time off for certain family needs.”
Schedule Work Breaks and Social Activities
“We encourage Team Lincoln to block out time for themselves each day to have lunch, play with their kids or walk their dog now that we are all ‘living at work,'” Warne said. “We’ve even instituted lunchtime and Friday afternoons as ‘no meeting’ times.”
In addition to ensuring employees are taking breaks during the day, you can also plan fun weekly activities. This can include an end-of-day yoga or meditation session, or a mid-week game break.
“We try to bring as many of our favorite in-office activities to Zoom as possible while working remotely. One of our favorites was, and still is, playing bingo,” said Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation.com. “We play a game in the middle of the week as a fun mid-week break.”
Reimburse Employees for Home Office Expenses
Another way to show your employees you care is to help them make their work-from-home setup as comfortable as possible.
“Provide interest-free stipends to help employees optimize their remote workspace,” Kazeroony said. “With remote work saving companies money in rent and utilities, this allows some flexibility in covering work-from-home costs for employees.”
Give Them Extra Time Off
With lines blurred between “on” and “off” times, some employees could be heading for burnout. You can help counteract this by giving your employees time off outside of their sick days and PTO.
“Getting back time is better than getting back money,” said Jes Osrow, co-founder of The Rise Journey, an HR consultancy. “Offering one wellness day a month or summer Fridays are great examples of doing that. It’s better than giving a goodie or swag item — it’s really going to show you understand their needs.”
More from GOBankingRates