More people work from home (WFH) than ever before since the novel coronavirus pandemic began. If your employees are among them, they might still feel on shaky career ground with all the recent changes.
The telecommuting life offers multiple advantages, but feelings of engagement and security aren’t among them. Many remote workers struggle with isolation and self-doubt that compels them to labor harder than ever. Here are five thoughtful ways to show appreciation for your WFH employees and let them know you recognize their contributions.
1. Send a Thoughtful Gift
As an employer, you can reward your employees with gifts when your budget doesn’t justify bonuses. However, you must follow the proper etiquette — anything too expensive or personal can cause discomfort. You should also send similar gifts to every staff member to avoid the appearance of favoritism.
However, you can still find ways to honor each staff member’s unique tastes. For example, you can send out surveys asking employees about their favorite sports teams or music groups. Use the information to delight them with a new cap or a super-cozy throw.
2. Establish Routine Check-ins
Even if your WFH staff knows their duties like the backs of their hands, they can start to doubt themselves without their colleague’s ongoing reinforcement. Even if they keep records of their achievements, it’s human nature to compare yourself to others and see where you rank. When you remove this checks-and-balances system, your workers feel more insecure about their performance, even when doing their best.
Therefore, a once-a-year performance review isn’t adequate regarding keeping tabs on their progress. Establish routine check-ins to go over their goals and what they need to do to reach the next level in their careers.
Such meetings serve dual purposes. They also provide a place for telecommuters to ask questions since they might not understand the communication chain and hesitate to reach out for help when need be. Check-ins eliminate frustration, because email communication can mean waiting an inordinately long time to answer a question they could address in seconds through in-person conversation.
3. Host More Virtual Happy Hours
One of the drawbacks of WFH life is isolation. Loneliness isn’t only a negative emotion — it can adversely affect your employee’s health and lead to more sick days.
Work does provide a valuable social outlet, and switching to telecommuting can make your employees feel unbearably lonely. Why not hop on the virtual happy hour bandwagon and provide opportunities for your staff to socialize off-the-clock?
Such events offer considerable advantages over the traditional model. You can liven them up with games that get everyone involved — even that shy person who typically stands in the corner.
4. Provide Transparency
When your employees don’t work on-site, they can feel adrift about their future career prospects. Please avoid practices like promises of advancement that aren’t likely to materialize. This rule is especially vital with new hires, as 25% of Americans lost work during the recent pandemic and are struggling to rebuild their careers.
Be open and transparent about advancement potential, and only mention promotions if they are likely to happen. By avoiding any misleading information about career advancement, you can more effectively help get them where they need to be in life, and you’ll keep their trust.
5. Treat Them Like “Real” Staff
If your company has a blend of WFH staff and on-site workers, please make your remote workers feel like more than temp workers serving at your convenience. Offer them the same perks you do to those performing similar labor in-office.
There are some exceptions — for example, you don’t need to issue your receptionist a work truck if you run a plumbing company. However, if other staffers are eligible for PTO, please ensure the folks running the phones from home get the same. Sickness doesn’t discriminate, and even telecommuters need to take their kids to the doctor sometimes.
Treating your remote workers like in-office staff also helps to increase engagement. Since many employers make productivity their foremost concern when switching to WFH arrangements, it only makes sense to improve the ownership such employees take in their work. Incentives work far better than punitive measures if you hope to reduce turnover.
Show Appreciation for Your WFH Employees With These Tips
Although you might not see them every day, your WFH employees are part of the lifeblood of your business. Please show them your appreciation with these five tips.