How to Celebrate Your Remote Team: 10 Online Employee Appreciation Ideas They’ll Love


Remote working is on the increase. Business leaders benefit from reduced office space costs and there’s an environmental benefit too, helping organizations to reduce their carbon footprint. On top of that, two thirds of workers say they’re more productive when working from home. 

Teleworking comes with a host of benefits for workers too, such as greater flexibility and no commuting. However, it also has its downsides. Workers may start to feel a loss of connection and miss the relationships formed in the office which can lead to low morale and a lack of motivation.

When workers are recognised for their efforts, they’re more likely to continue working to the same high standard. Therefore positive recognition can help create a culture where employees want to do well.

As team leaders or employers, there are plenty of ways to show your staff you value them through recognition and acts of appreciation. Here we’ll cover some of the strategies for showing your remote workers that you are grateful for their service.

Give them a shout-out

Whether it is a private or round-robin email, part of your next zoom meeting or via your social media channels, acknowledge somebody for doing something well. Show them you’ve noticed what they’ve done, and that you appreciate their work. You could even make your acknowledgement more personalized by filming a short video message to say ‘thank you’, or ‘you’re a star’, or share statistics with the network to show how well the staff member has performed.

You could celebrate achievements and milestones with a virtual party to help boost morale.

Surprise gifts

Unexpected gifts are great tokens of appreciation and can be selected to fit any budget. 

Whilst personal shout-outs give credit for an achievement, surprise gifts for your workforce say ‘I appreciate the everyday work you do’. Flowers, chocolates, wine or gift vouchers are small tokens of appreciation that can have a big impact on helping staff feel valued.

You could go one step further and send out a care package of treats to share at a zoom meeting to help create a feeling of togetherness, or you could show how much you value the mental health of your workers by creating a wellbeing package designed to help them relax. This could include candles, bath salts, herbal teas, a voucher for an afternoon off, spa vouchers, or even an online yoga class subscription. 

Given the current emphasis on the planet and environment, sustainable, plastic free or recycled gifts show you care about your staff and the planet. Tree kits are a great idea to show you care for your staff and the planet.

Provide practical office facilities

Sending out new technology can have a huge positive impact on your team members’ feelings of appreciation. Old technology can be slow and frustrating to use. Providing up-to-date technology says to your team that you care about making things run smoothly for them. For instance, providing them with a virtual office phone package which enables staff to take calls anywhere there is a wifi connection.

In addition to this, how about providing a ‘work from home package’? Workers are given a budget or a list from which to select ergonomic office equipment to make home working more comfortable and reduce the risk of desk-related ailments.

Implement a wellbeing program

Staff work best when they’re fit and healthy and their wellbeing is taken care of, so there’s a strong argument for creating a wellbeing program. This could mean access to a counselor or therapist, a subscription to a gym, an online class or a meditation app. It could involve an online mindfulness coaching session or practical advice on mindfulness

Even carrying out risk assessments in the home work area of your staff demonstrates an investment in their personal wellbeing.

Host virtual team events

One of the biggest issues with remote working is the feeling of isolation that comes with the lack of social interaction. You can combat this by hosting virtual events such as quiz nights, happy hours, virtual wine tastings or a Friday afternoon social where people have the chance to catch up. 

You could even make use of your shared whiteboard apps to play a game of pictionary!

Virtual team building activities and events can help to tackle the feeling of aloneness and holding virtual icebreakers every so often will bring people together. A virtual escape room or murder mystery will get them working together as a team. An online scavenger hunt or selfie game may help bring out the individual personalities of team members.

Whilst your team may work remotely, depending on the geographical spread of your team, events like these could be held in person.

Send a letter of thanks

This could take a variety of formats. A personal handwritten letter posted directly to the home of team members has a personal touch and shows you’ve taken time to credit them for their work. There’s the option of virtual notes of thanks or appreciation too!

Internal communication channels are also great for this.

Implement a reward program

This may involve a redeemable point system. One of the ways in which to do this would be to buy in a platform that takes care of employee rewards. Points may be accrued on a weekly, monthly or annual basis and redeemed for an item of the team member’s choice. 

This eliminates the worry that the gift may not be liked and gives team members something to work towards.

Buy a gift for the whole family

Extending your appreciation to the family demonstrates that you’re aware your employee may sometimes need to make family sacrifices to work from home, such as a ‘do not disturb before 5pm’ policy. Sending a family gift such as a day at a theme park or a meal for two shows the employee that you value their time and want to give back some quality time for them to do something together.

Don’t forget the pets either!

Remembering that Jenna from accounts has a Siamese cat and sending out some treats, or that Robert from digital marketing has a labrador and sending a toy, can go a long way. It helps people feel more like valued individuals.

Offer online CPD courses

Investing in the continued professional development of your employees is a meaningful way of showing that you value them. Programs to improve their skills and knowledge show you’re invested in their success and career progression. Training can be in-house, peer-to-peer or via an external consultancy training company. Whichever method you choose it’s bound to be a hit with staff.

Invite team members to industry conferences if possible. Upskilling your workforce means they’re better equipped to deal with new projects and responsibilities. This benefits you as an employer but also creates a sense of achievement and recognition in staff. Not only that, it demonstrates to other team members you’re serious about progression.

Set up optional clubs

Book clubs, movie clubs, cookery clubs or even online gaming groups can bring back the social side of office work to your teleworkers. If there are enough employees with a passion for any of these pursuits, they could host it themselves at a set time outside of working hours.

During each meeting, a different book, movie or recipe could be discussed or a different game played. If you as an employer wanted to support something like this even more, you could send scheduled reminders and invites and possibly offer small rewards to the people who take part. 

You can engage the rest of the workforce by sharing movie recommendations, recipe of the month or book of the week with the whole network.

Last thoughts

With facilities for remote workers improving, the number of homeworkers is set to increase. SMEs are now able to access some of the features that have previously been a privilege only large businesses could access, which means smaller businesses are no longer at a disadvantage in this area. 

Take a cloud business phone service for example. This is a scalable solution whereby even call center staff can work effectively from home anywhere in the world.

Overall, establishing a formal process, hub or platform for employee appreciation and rewards is the first step. Without a consistent approach, a recognition program could run the risk of failure. 

Not only can implementing a consistent appreciation program help you build a stronger, better workforce, but your team will have increased morale, more confidence and a greater sense of belonging. They will want to do well.

The strategies you choose should be in keeping with your business ethos and culture. Consider what personality your company has and what would work best for the people who work there. 

These suggestions are just a start. There are a whole host of other strategies that will fit your business and once you start implementing an appreciation program you figure out what’s best for your business. 

Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, and partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.

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