Five Ways to Reward Remote Workers

Posted in Meetings and Events, Incentive and Recognition, Employee Recognition

by Iain Thomson on Jul 19, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Making sure everyone feels valued, wherever they work

A workforce is made up of tonnes of different types of workers. You have full-time staff, part-time staff, those who work remotely, and plenty of others. All staff are valuable to the business’ needs and output, yet remote workers can be overlooked by employers who don’t see them regularly, concentrating more on those  staff they see every day.

Nearly 14% of those in work in the UK work from home – 4.2 million people according to the Office for National Statistics – which also found that those who do work from home tend to be concentrated in higher skilled roles than those in the office, showing just how valuable they are to organisations.

It’s important to show your appreciation towards remote workers, and include them in your recognition schemes. Here are five ways you can reward your external staff so they always feel part of the team.

Celebrate their success as part of the team

When workers go above and beyond at work, they want to feel some appreciation for it. A company-wide email is okay but its effects are short-lived. Why not take the opportunity to celebrate by having a team get-together that champions everyone’s successes?

When everyone can revel in the organisation’s success, they’ll be more inclined to push for greater success in the future. A celebration is a great way of thanking a team for their contributions to the business-  it’s a win-win for them to enjoy themselves and feel appreciated for their hard work.

Hakan Evner, operations director at Morgan McKinley, talks about just how important events are for a great company culture , highlighting Christmas parties as the perfect example. Evner said: “It’s a great way of helping celebrate the culture of a company beyond just business success, and it also helps your staff get to know each other – particularly when the company is large.”

Events don’t have to be huge either  – from a light-hearted team bonding event, to a glitzy company award ceremony with trophies, red carpet – the works. All employees, not just those who work remotely, value this type of recognition – and HR agrees.

Alternatives to financial recognition

Providing remote workers with experiences can be a fantastic way to reward their efforts. Family trips out are a great idea – as many remote workers choose to work from home to ease childcare pressures – but discounts for their high-street shop, or even travel discounts can also be effective. The best approach is to go personal with your reward scheme or employee benefits offering – the more the you know about staff members, the better you can ensure the reward you provide them will be appreciated.

Of course, there isn’t the opportunity for a quick water cooler chat with a remote worker, so it’s important that your comms plan includes methods that reach staff outside of the office and fills them in on exactly what they’re entitled to.

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Little things go a long way

Showing your appreciation for remote workers doesn’t have to cost the earth. Treating them to lunch, for example, is a small, simple way to show your gratitude.

In a list of the top ten perks employees prefer, extra vacation days, verbal recognition and gourmet treats all rank highly in the list, so there are plenty of ways to rewards staff without spending vast amounts. Talk to them and see what they want – it could even be something as simple as a little gadget at home to help them at work, such as a new laptop case. You’ll be surprised what they come up with.

Have a little fun

Many companies have reported increased productivity by allowing staff to work from home, yet remote workers might feel out of the loop when it comes to the fun stuff at work.  Missing the team lunches or the impromptu post-work pint might not seem like much, but it can make your workers feel divided.

There's no shortage of fun ways of saying thanks, of course! Sports and activities for example, can bring out a little healthy competition between people, so why not have a ten-pin bowling tournament with teams made up of a mix of office staff and remote workers? Or a trip to the local laser quest to find the sharpest shooters in your team? Even mini golf can be a fun way to get people socialising.

But, it doesn’t have to be a company thing, employers can provide vouchers for activities for people to enjoy with their friends and family, from meals out and cinema trips, to pampering and adventure days .

When recognising team members, differentiating between how members of staff are rewarded can be demotivating, so make sure rewards are fair to all staff. The result? It shows you’re fair as an employer, and see rewards as a genuine way to promote company values.

Visit your remote workers

Technology has made it easier to interact with anyone, anywhere at any time.. Connecting online can remove the personal touch you might be aiming for with your recognition, so visiting remote workers fairly frequently can allow that working relationship to develop further. Gallup’s report into employee recognition found the most memorable recognition is from an employee’s manager, and that’s even the same for staff who aren’t office based.

Millennials are the generation most open to flexible working and working remotely, and like being appreciated too, with 26% of millennials admitting recognition motivates them to their best at work. If your younger workers are not based in the office, letting managers go and see their remote staff is a great way to provide that positive feedback face to face.

Clearly a visit from their boss might not sound like the reward remote workers want, but going there with a gift is always a nice touch. 82% of staff believe that they’re not recognised for workers as often as they deserve, so the fact that a senior person from the company has taken the time out to see them, and praise them will go down well. Gifting remote workers with other rewards, such as cinema discounts, or other lifestyle offerings like experience days can surprise staff who thought they had you all figured out. The quirkier the gift or experience you can offer, the more they’re likely to remember it, and presenting it in person is the icing on the cake.

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