15 Ways to Create a Remote Work Environment Where Employees Feel Valued
Creating a remote work environment where employees feel valued is vital to a company’s success. The question is not whether or not employees are valued but whether or not employees feel valued. Many employees are trusted by their supervisors and management, but if their company’s leadership doesn’t show their appreciation, productivity suffers and employees may start seeking new employment. Now more than ever, it’s important to communicate appreciation to your team. Here’s a list of ways to connect with your employees and let them know their hard work is appreciated.
1. Say Thank You
Most people would be surprised, but simply saying “thank you” makes a large difference. Saying “thank you” is welcomed even when your employees aren’t expecting it. If you take the time to tell your employees how much you specifically appreciate their hard work and what an impact they have at your company, your employees will feel respected and be loyal to your company.
2. Communicate Frequently
Not having frequent communication with employees is one of the quickest ways to tank a work environment and lower employee engagement rates. To solve this problem, communicate frequently with all your employees whether they are remote or in-office. An employee shouldn’t have to guess on pertinent company updates or miss out on meetings because they work remotely. Instead, use video conferencing to include remote workers in meetings and consider sending company updates out via email or scheduling a monthly meeting where remote workers can conference in to receive updates. Having an open-door communication policy with employees is important because they can share if they are having trouble meeting a deadline or are facing unforeseen challenges whether in their personal or professional lives.
3. Recognize Birthdays and Work Anniversaries
As a way to show your staff that you value them personally as well as professionally, highlight birthdays and work anniversaries. It can be as simple as placing an acknowledgment in your company chat system or sending out a weekly email with the upcoming dates. If you are able, you could mail a card on the occasions as an extra way to show how much you care about your employees.
4. Host Virtual Team-building Events
Hosting virtual team-building events is one of the simplest ways to make your remote work environment a positive one. You could host trivia games, happy hours or coffee breaks, a talent show, or even show and tell. While these might seem a bit basic or elementary for your employees, your staff needs to have opportunities to bond and share a few laughs together. Team-building is fundamental to having a positive work environment and improving employee morale, and remote workers need to have the opportunity to participate in team-building events.
5. Set Clear Expectations
In a remote work environment, it can be easy for messages to be lost in translation, and to avoid any miscommunication, set clear expectations of what you expect from your remote employees. As a way to reduce everyone’s stress, be direct and upfront about the deadlines and quality of work you want your employees to accomplish.
As management, it can be easy to micromanage your employees in a remote work environment since you can’t physically see them working, but micromanaging is the opposite of making employees feel respected. Instead of micromanaging, simply be honest about what expectations you have, trust your employees, and take action if they aren’t being met.
6. Be Flexible with Working Hours
Employees should feel comfortable enough to come to you and ask to change their work schedule if an emergency arises. If you are willing to work with your remote employees, they are more likely to be upfront if they need to change their hours instead of trying to do it without your permission. If your staff knows that you are more than willing to work with them to accommodate their schedules, they will be relaxed as they work because they know that you care about their well-being as well as their work productivity.
7. Introduce New Team Members
Introducing new team members is a quick yet effective way to acknowledge your remote staff. In a remote work environment, it can be challenging for new team members to feel accepted and meet their teammates so you must make the effort. Introduce new employees in a video conference so everyone can put a face to the name and have the new team member answer a few questions (favorite movie, dream vacation, childhood dream job, etc.) to help everyone get to know one another. If video conferencing isn’t possible, you could do an employee spotlight email on your new team member and send it out to the rest of your staff.
8. Challenge Your Employees
To help recognize your remote workers, challenge them in their professional efforts so they continue to develop their skill sets. Challenging your employees is important because it shows them that you care about their future and you are improving your company’s quality of work.
On an individual basis, provide employees with new professional challenges that will stretch them professionally, and as a whole, you can offer articles, webinars, and podcasts for your staff that will help them learn more about the industry and ways to improve their professional skill sets. As a way for employees to grow professionally and feel more connected with one another, you could start a mentorship program where newer employees are matched with an established employee who can help them adjust to the company culture and provide industry insight.
9. Send a Treat or Gift Card
Consider sending a treat or gift card to your remote workers. In a traditional office setting, management frequently offers treats such as donuts or cookie trays to show employees their appreciation, but in a remote work environment, it can be hard to show your thanks. Sending an e-gift card or a bakery treat to your remote workers is a small gesture that will go a long way in making employees feel worthy. You could even provide a few company apparel options and allow your employees to choose one of the options; not only are you showing that your employees that you care, but your company is also receiving advertising when your employees wear the apparel.
10. Start a Virtual Book Club
As a way to boost employee morale, a virtual book club is a wonderful way for employees to connect on topics that aren’t work-related. Each month or quarter, employees could select a different book whether it’s a business book or a piece of fiction; this would be a wonderful way to challenge your staff to read books that would help grow their professional careers. You could host a video chat where employees could discuss the book or post questions in a group chat where they could answer at their leisure. If the majority of your workforce isn’t interested in reading, you could use the virtual book club format to discuss podcasts or other entertainment forms.
11. Participate in Fantasy Sport Leagues
For employees who enjoy sports, having a company-wide fantasy sports league is ideal for boosting employee morale. Employees could choose to pay an entry where the league winner wins the cash prize, or you could offer a free league for those who just want a fun experience. Participating in a fantasy sports league will encourage interaction among employees at all levels, and it will be a great way for employees to get to know one another.
12. Provide Shoutouts and Recognition
One of the easiest ways to make employees feel worthy is to give recognition for hard work. If an employee has stepped up in a new role or finished a large project, celebrate their accomplishments by sending out a company-wide email or posting in your company chat. You could host a virtual awards ceremony where you share employees’ accomplishments and even name an Employee of the Month. It’s important to also highlight employees who are often overlooked in departments because their work is just as important to your company’s success.
13. Mail a Letter
Most people enjoy receiving a handwritten letter in the mail because it provides a nice change from bills and junk mail, and your virtual employees will enjoy receiving correspondence from you in the mail. You could mail cards for the holidays or your employees’ birthdays or work anniversaries, and it would be well-received if you wrote a note saying how much you admired an employee’s hard work and that their efforts were noticed. If you aren’t able to send handwritten cards, you could send emails to employees that provide recognition or celebrate their special days.
14. Encourage Employee Wellness
As management, it can be easier to show your staff how much you care about their professional efforts rather than their personal wellness. Whether it’s for physical sickness or mental health, make sure your staff feels secure enough to take off the needed time to recover from an illness. Bring in health professionals to lead virtual wellness opportunities including yoga sessions or discussions stress management, mental health, or nutrition. Encouraging your employees to take time for their own wellness will leave everyone feeling less stressed which will ultimately increase employee productivity and result in fewer employee sick days.
15. Offer Money for a Home Office Refresh
One of the largest challenges remote workers face is having a conducive space in their homes free of distractions and disturbances. Consider providing a small stipend that would allow remote workers to refresh their home office spaces. Even a small stipend of $50-100 would be a nice surprise for your staff and allow them the opportunity to purchase items that would help increase their productivity. From a new office chair to a standing desk to a whiteboard system, each member of your staff is sure to have an item or two on their wish list for a home office refresh.
When employees feel appreciated, there will be an improvement in productivity, wellness, work quality, morale, and engagement, and acknowledging your remote staff’s efforts is much easier than you might think. Employees feel valued when you make sincere efforts to improve communication, offer team-building activities, provide wellness opportunities, and extend your thanks for their specific efforts.
Valerie Cox is a contributing writer for Franchise Direct. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, and volunteering in her local community.