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Rewards & Recognition for Remote Team Members (40+ Unique Ideas)

With more team members working from home now than ever before, you might well be wondering how you can do end-of-year rewards and recognition, or really any type of employee recognition. Employee satisfaction and motivation should always be top of mind for managers and HR leaders, but this is even more important when employees are working remotely. Recognising employees with a simple, heart-felt “thank you” can go a long way, but what else is there?

When it comes to employee rewards and recognition, often the first thing that comes to mind are in-person celebrations or physical gifts that don’t work well if team members are not in the office. If you have a mixture of remote and office based staff, be very careful about designing rewards that are really only available for people in the local office. This sends a not-so-subtle message that team members that work from home aren’t as highly valued (and remote employees already have a tendency to feel left out and mistreated).

👉 Tip: Design rewards and recognition for remote workers first

Even if only part of your team is working remotely, when planning your rewards and recognition ideas, the most important thing is to make a decision that you’ll design your rewards for remote team members first. In most cases, this will naturally mean that your rewards will work for the whole team.

Ideas to recognise employees working from home

There are a few more challenges associated with rewards and recognition for employees when they don’t work in the office, but they’re certainly not insurmountable. Here, we’ve put together a collection of ideas for rewarding remote (and all) employees.

Home service perks

One idea is to give the gift of a service that will help your team members keep things running smoothly at home. Laura Roeder from MeetEdgar says that their team members list having a clean and comfortable workspace as a big part of their “ideal workday”, so they cover the costs of a monthly house clean for all staff. Some ideas include;

  1. Paying for a cleaning service
  2. Gardening service
  3. Voucher for a food or meal delivery service

Technology perks

The tools your team members use for work can make a huge difference to their job satisfaction. You could either think of something everyone will like, or you could consider giving employees an annual technology allowance. This could go towards items such as;

  1. An extra monitor
  2. A tablet
  3. Better headphones
  4. A laptop upgrade
  5. A new app of their choice

Giving rewards like this might seem a bit boring, but these things are likely to be used and appreciated everyday.

Workspace upgrades

When employees are working in the office, you can control the quality of the furnishings. But this is not the case for people working from home. You might find that employees are working on sub-standard furniture, or they might really value having more options. You could give them a budget towards things like;

  1. A better, more ergonomic chair
  2. A new desk – perhaps a standing desk, or even a treadmill desk
  3. A membership for a co-working space
  4. A budget to redecorate or improve their home office – painting, heating, air-conditioning, etc

Health benefits

Keeping your team healthy is in everyone’s interests so why not align some of your rewards to your employees’ health? Health insurance may be boring, but is still highly valued by most people – especially those with families. Or maybe you’ve already covered that, but you could think of some rewards that might help your employees stay healthier. Try finding one of these specific gifts or give your team members a budget to spend towards things like;

  1. A gym membership
  2. Yoga classes
  3. New running or walking shoes
  4. Setting up a home gym
  5. A meditation course

Learning and development

Most people want to keep developing and expanding their skills and it’s another area that can often benefit your organization. These days there are so many online training courses available, so why not encourage your team to take advantage of these? Some ideas to consider here include;

  1. A company-wide membership to a training platform that gives everyone online access
  2. A budget to use towards courses of their choosing
  3. A book allowance for books related to learning and development

Holidays

One problem with working from home is that some employees may find themselves working all the time. So when you’re thinking of rewards for your team, think about ideas that make it easier for them to take breaks away from work. Obviously, this may not be easy in the current environment, but some ideas include;

  1. Extra vacation days
    Holiday allowance is often a talking point between friends so this will position your organisation in a good light externally and most employee love this as a reward

For someone that travels frequently, either personally or with work, you could give them;

  1. A subscription to a travel lounge
  2. Or a pre-check authority to make travelling more pleasant
  3. A travel bag
  4. A voucher for AirBnB or a hotel chain

Special treats

Every now and again it’s nice to give your team members something special and personal that they’ll remember. Some ideas that work for employees working from home include;

  1. Vouchers to a nearby restaurant (if restaurants are open)
  2. Vouchers for a massage or facial
  3. Vouchers for an online store
  4. A subscription to a music streaming service (such as Spotify)

Alternatively, you could arrange for a surprise delivery to your team member’s home for something like;

  1. A cake or set of cupcakes
  2. Pizza delivery
  3. Chocolates
  4. A gift hamper
  5. A bottle of wine or a set of craft beers
  6. A bunch of flowers or indoor plant
  7. A candle or oil burner

Team building events

When team members are working in the office, you might think of your annual end-of-year event or retreat as a workplace perk. Of course, these don’t work in the same way when people cannot be physically together, but there are some creative options you can use instead. There are companies that specialize in online team building activities and they include things such as;

  1. Trivia games
  2. Cooking classes (some send all the ingredients out beforehand and then run the class together)
  3. Escape games (problem solving specially designed for an online environment)
  4. Music quiz
  5. Pictionary, charades, words with friends or other games
  6. Fitness challenges – such as step challenges, number of workout day challenges, etc

Positive recognition

Of course tangible rewards are nice, but let’s not forget about positive recognition. This is an incredibly powerful (and often under-utilized) reward and it’s easy to adapt so that it benefits local and remote team members alike. Some ideas include;

  1. Publicly recognizing one team member each team meeting, highlighting their recent accomplishments
  2. Interview team members and feature them in your blog, intranet, social media or newsletter
  3. Doing a random ‘shout-out’ message using your internal communications tool to praise a particular employee
  4. Sending a thoughtful physical “thank you” card to your employees (something they can display in their home)

Although people won’t usually ask for this, public recognition goes a long way.

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So there you have it – a whole heap of ideas to reward and recognize your team, even if they are working remotely. Implementing these ideas does take a bit of planning and forethought, but these small gestures can mean a lot to employees. The impact they might have on employee satisfaction, motivation and retention is difficult to measure but is likely to be signifcant.

Why leave it there?

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