Creative Ideas for Rewarding Remote Employees

Remote work isn’t a new idea. In ear­ly 2020, just before the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic hit the Unit­ed States, approx­i­mate­ly 7 mil­lion Amer­i­cans were already work­ing from home at least part of the time. Since the pan­dem­ic, those num­bers have skyrocketed.

As of July 2021, around 62% of all employ­ees between the ages of 22 and 65 work from home, at least par­tial­ly. By 2025, the num­ber of remote work­ers in the Unit­ed States is expect­ed to rise to a stag­ger­ing 36.2 mil­lion.

There are many advan­tages to tran­si­tion­ing from an in-office to a ful­ly remote or hybrid office. How­ev­er, it can also be incred­i­bly chal­leng­ing, espe­cial­ly when it comes to reward­ing and rec­og­niz­ing remote employees.

Dissecting Employee Recognition in Digital Teams

Exec­u­tives, super­vi­sors and lead­ers from all indus­tries have been reluc­tant to adopt remote work because they believe it would be chal­leng­ing to pro­vide the same recog­ni­tion and qual­i­ta­tive lead­er­ship that they pro­vide in-office. That isn’t to say it’s impos­si­ble or nec­es­sar­i­ly true. That just means they aren’t accus­tomed to it, so they aren’t equipped with the prop­er strate­gies to han­dle it.

It’s hard­er to know if some­one needs time, moti­va­tion or guid­ance when they aren’t with­in sight. It’s chal­leng­ing to del­e­gate and mon­i­tor projects when sched­ules become flex­i­ble and asyn­chro­nous. It can feel impos­si­ble to pro­vide recog­ni­tion and rewards like free snacks, comped lunch­es and recre­ation­al break­room sports when teams work miles apart in sep­a­rate homes.

Employ­ers can’t just throw gift cards at their peo­ple and call that good lead­er­ship. So, how can com­pa­nies over­come these chal­lenges with­out los­ing their abil­i­ty to recruit and retain top tal­ent? How do they effec­tive­ly ensure that their remote employ­ees feel reward­ed and rec­og­nized? How do they pro­vide con­sis­tent sub-lev­el sup­port to all of their employ­ees, even those who work from home?

6 Ideas for Rewarding and Recognizing Remote Employees

Learn­ing how to rec­og­nize employ­ee effort and pro­mote employ­ee well-being is com­plex, whether an orga­ni­za­tion is in-office, hybrid or com­plete­ly remote. Sup­port and recog­ni­tion must be equi­table for every­one. It’s essen­tial for lead­ers, exec­u­tives and super­vi­sors to cre­ate an ongo­ing and con­sis­tent strat­e­gy for cul­ti­vat­ing, reward­ing and assist­ing remote teams.

Here are six cre­ative and unique ideas for reward­ing and rec­og­niz­ing remote employ­ees that will increase engage­ment and improve the work-from-home experience.

1. Home Offices and Remote Workspaces

When employ­ees tran­si­tion to remote work, they’re going to need the nec­es­sary tools and sup­plies to do their job. Many orga­ni­za­tions may not real­ize it, but some peo­ple don’t even own a desk or com­put­er. Com­pa­nies can assist their peo­ple by pro­vid­ing set-up tools and office sup­plies, including:

  • Com­put­ers or Lap­tops (includ­ing sec­ond monitors)

  • Desks and Chairs (stan­dard or sit­ting-stand­ing con­vert­ible desks for the more health-conscious)

  • Printers/​Scanners

  • Desk­top Phones or Headsets

  • Acces­sories and Cables (mous­es, eth­er­net cables, routers, etc.)

  • Soft­ware and Pro­grams (specif­i­cal­ly to aid in productivity)

Pos­sess­ing the nec­es­sary tools is crit­i­cal to an employ­ee’s suc­cess; they’re non-nego­tiable in a remote work­force. How­ev­er, employ­ers can offer lux­u­ri­ous office equip­ment, upgrades or dec­o­ra­tions for rewards and recog­ni­tion. A com­pa­ny might even reward the top sales­per­son each month, quar­ter or year with a home-office makeover budget.

2. Coffee, Snacks and Subscription Services

In the office, mak­ing cof­fee is intu­itive. Snacks and water are con­stant­ly avail­able, so it costs next to noth­ing to step away for a sec­ond or pop into the break­room for a quick boost. Employ­ees don’t even have to think about it.

Once they tran­si­tion to remote work, they have to pur­chase and take care of those things them­selves. Com­pa­nies can assist them by pro­vid­ing month­ly sub­scrip­tion ser­vices, like Bean Box or Drift­away Cof­fee, or pro­vid­ing a month­ly food deliv­ery bud­get with ser­vices like Grub­Hub. They can also offer stipends or gift cards to help cov­er the costs of the con­ve­niences that employ­ees miss by work­ing remotely.

3. Flexible Schedules and Expectations

Switch­ing to a remote work envi­ron­ment is a big change for employ­ers, but it’s also a pret­ty sig­nif­i­cant change for employ­ees. They’re forced to trans­form part of their home into a work­able office space. They’re con­stant­ly sur­round­ed by the stress­es of every­day life that non-remote employ­ees can escape when they go to the office.

Orga­ni­za­tions can improve this sit­u­a­tion by rec­og­niz­ing that remote work requires a lit­tle more flex­i­bil­i­ty. For exam­ple, if an employ­ee earns a sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment, why not reward them with a half-day or a three-day week­end? A lit­tle time off to spend with their friends or fam­i­ly can pro­found­ly impact employ­ee well-being.

4. Celebrate Digitally

Com­pa­nies should­n’t for­go sig­nif­i­cant mile­stones that they’d typ­i­cal­ly cel­e­brate just because their teams are remote. If it’s some­one’s birth­day, employ­ers should give them a shoutout on the com­pa­ny’s social media. If some­one is cel­e­brat­ing a work anniver­sary, super­vi­sors should still rec­og­nize and cel­e­brate that achievement.

Com­pa­nies like Group Greet­ing spe­cial­ize in dig­i­tal cel­e­bra­tions, which is per­fect for teams that work from home. Orga­ni­za­tions should nev­er let a lit­tle remote­ness stand in the way of cel­e­brat­ing their people.

5. Travel Options: Work From a Vacation Home

Peo­ple who work remote­ly can essen­tial­ly work from any­where. As a result, com­pa­nies can offer rewards in the form of trav­el, stay and air­line accommodations.

How incred­i­ble would it be to work from a four-star resort in the Caribbean or a cab­in in the woods (pro­vid­ed there’s reli­able inter­net)? They can enjoy the scenery in the morn­ing, work through the after­noon and set­tle into nightlife once they’re offi­cial­ly unplugged. If an employ­ee con­sis­tent­ly pro­vides out­stand­ing work and proves to be an invalu­able asset to the team, why shouldn’t they be rewarded? 

6. Offer Customizable Lifestyle Benefits

One more way to reward and rec­og­nize employ­ees is by offer­ing them lifestyle employ­ee ben­e­fits that are proven to have a pos­i­tive and pro­found impact on their lives. Most tra­di­tion­al employ­ee ben­e­fits aren’t usable until employ­ees are sick, hurt, dead or over 65 years old. So, why not offer ben­e­fits that employ­ees can use today?

Fringe’s cus­tomiz­able lifestyle ben­e­fits plat­form dis­pels the need for a one-size-fits-all ben­e­fits pack­age. With their plat­form, team mem­bers are giv­en points, which they can use to choose between over 100 unique lifestyle ben­e­fit options, like sub­scrip­tion ser­vices and food deliv­ery. Plus, com­pa­nies can always add points to an employ­ee’s account to rec­og­nize and show appreciation.

Inter­est­ed in learn­ing more? Sched­ule a free demo today.