7 Tips for Rewarding Your Remote Workers

With the New Year approaching, it's customary to take a moment to reflect on the past 12 months and look back on all that we've accomplished. Now's the time to recognize and reward your team for all their hard work over the past year.

But with more and more global professionals working remotely-up to 70 percent, according to one recent study-you may be scratching your head as to how to appropriately and meaningfully celebrate your team members. Whether you have one professional who works from home or an entire business run by virtual employees, here are some tips for making sure everyone feels appreciated:

Party together

If you have an office holiday party, include remote workers. Always invite them to the physical party, even if you think they won't come. If they can't make it, offer to set up a video meeting or consider flying them in, like David Lewis, president and CEO of OperationsInc., an HR outsourcing firm, does for the handful of remote workers on his 60-person team in Connecticut. Lewis told SHRM that the cost is worth the benefit of having everyone feel connected and appreciated. If you have multiple team members offsite, consider helping them set up their own party. With the rise of telework technology, virtual office parties are becoming a thing. Ask your remote workers what they might enjoy most.

Write a note 

Virtual rewards are wonderful-who doesn't love a Starbucks gift card or massage certificate? Yet, the personal touch of getting something in the mail goes a long way toward helping a remote worker feel like part of the team. Consider sending handwritten notes that accompany a physical gift or gift card. It doesn't have to be pricey; it just has to be personal.

Participate in group giving 

Give remote workers an opportunity to participate in "white elephant" or "secret Santa" gift exchanges by mail or online. The small act of inclusion can mean a lot.

Shout out on social media

If your remote workers are on social media and use it for business, make sure to give them props publicly. Recognize them on whichever platform is most relevant with a group thank-you message or with individual notes of recognition.

Give a day

The holiday season is a time when many people like to volunteer. Consider giving an official day off for your remote workers to engage in charitable work.

Convene regularly

One of the best ways to make remote workers feel like part of a team is to get everyone together in person. The most successful companies with virtual teams schedule at least twice-yearly retreats and team building trips. Now would be a good time to send out an invitation to such an event.

Create opportunities for thanks

Give all your employees, in-office and remote-, tools to recognize and reward each other. Provide them with online e-cards they can send and consider giving them stacks of simple thank-you notes they can mail.

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