7 Thoughtful Ways for Supporting Remote Workers During the Holidays
This year will be the first holiday season where the majority of people will be working from home. Usually, this would be the time for the company Christmas party or the end of the year bonus. Both are excellent team-building exercises and huge motivational factors for employees, and businesses can't just cancel them. Companies with a distributed workforce need to be proactive and ensure their remote staff has all their needs met and are motivated to take on 2021.
It's a lot easier to motivate people in person. You can see and feel their reactions and directly respond to them. Employee engagement in the remote work era is much more difficult. You have to be creative with your team activities when you are left with only virtual meetings. As the holidays come around and this strenuous year comes to a close, let's take a look at how you can provide your workers with a little extra cheer this holiday season.
Facts about the Remote Workers
- Sixteen million people in the U.S. have begun working remotely since March 2020
- Fifty-four percent of remote employees said they had become overly stressed during the workday, and 45% experienced high levels of anxiety
- 80% of remote workers would consider quitting their current position for a job that focused more on employees’ mental health.
There are plenty of ways to support remote workers. The list below will teach you how to keep your remote team working effectively and happy during the holiday season.
Virtual Christmas Parties
The office Christmas party is often a highly anticipated event by all the members of a company. It's a chance to blow off some steam from the year and enjoy the good times with the people you're working around.
Building social interaction, good teamwork skills, and collaboration can help your company. People that know each other better have improved communication and comfort in their work.
Hosting a virtual office Christmas party can provide the socializing your remote team needs. Due to social distancing, many people miss their colleagues. Going from seeing people every day to months inside your house can be devastating. Your remote team member might even be alone for the holidays because of restrictions or fear of infecting elderly family members. Seeing their friends and coworkers for a night of celebration and fun will provide some much-needed cheer during this season.
Ideas for a Virtual Christmas Party:
- Play Office or Home Bingo: Label everyday items or behaviors from the office on a bingo card. Call out each and see who gets Bingo!
- Exchange stories or tips and tools from remote working: Your distributed team might have their unique routines or experiences with remote work. Go around and have the entire team share their learnings.
- Virtual Team Building Exercises- A more connected team equals increased productivity.
- Baking Contests: See who the best baker is in the office (or at least who's baking looks the best). The winner can receive a gift card or a new baking tin.
- Internet Raffle or Lottery: This is a classic at Christmas parties and can be translated to the remote work world easily. Email each remote employee a number and then run the lottery!
Christmas Care Packages
Nothing says "we appreciate and support you" like a personalized gift basket. Why not cheer up your staff with a thoughtfully designed Christmas care package? There are plenty of great websites and stores that offer bulk packages that can be delivered to your entire remote workforce.
This present could be your employees sunshine on a rainy day. A surprise (or even expected) gift of chocolate, a nice bottle of wine, or even some discount coupons is a great way to breakup the home office monotony. To an employee who's been struggling with motivation from home, it can even give them that extra drive they need to make it into 2021.
Home Office Furniture Stipends
Sitting at a desk all day can be a nightmare for your back and your overall health. Many remote employees are still getting by with the equipment they have had since the beginning of the pandemic. A sore back since March can decrease employee satisfaction. Sending a furniture stipend shows that you're aware these times haven't been easy and that your employees' comfort is a significant concern.
Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Shopify have begun offering $1000 stipends for their employee's home offices to improve employee comfort. However, the logistics of sending various ergonomic furniture to all of your distributed team can often be very time-consuming.
A remote office solution can make it easy to outfit your remote workers with the equipment they need. Growrk has a platform where you set the budget, each employee chooses the item they want, and Growrk ensures they receive the item before the holidays.
Furniture stipends are the perfect holiday gift for your employees because it demonstrates a commitment to employee satisfaction. If your distributed team needs to do another few months at home, this will make them feel taken care of. If your employee has been working eight hour days at their kitchen table, then an ergonomic chair or an adjustable standing desk for small spaces would be the perfect present.
New Years Bonuses
People have suffered this year financially. With unemployment rates, pay cuts, and layoffs at an all-time high, many households are struggling to stay afloat. 33% of companies reported they would offer some kind of bonus to their employees this year due to the COVID-related troubles.
Employees have also spoken out about preferring money to gifts. A year-end bonus should be around 100% of a monthly salary and even higher depending on time worked at the company, position, department, annual success, and revenue sharing.
Time Off Stipends
Employers have realized the benefits of time off during the holidays. 94% of employers offer Christmas Day as paid time off, while 54% offer Christmas Eve. New Years' is even more common, with 97% of employers offering paid leave for the day and 33% offering for the 31st.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics says 70% of employers offer some type of paid time off in general. The majority of employees interviewed said that paid leave was more important to them than salary raises or bonuses. Employers who give paid leave also see reduced lateness and absence, increased honesty, more likely promotions, and lower stress in their employees. Remote workers who have paid holidays have increased motivation to perform their tasks because they can use their time off to do the things they love.
Personalized Gift Cards
If you know where your employees like to shop or spend their time, then a personalized gift card can also be a great option. Suppose you know your employees like a specific service; you can then approach the service about buying a large number of gift cards for a reduced rate. Personalized gift cards give your remote workers the benefit of going to their favorite businesses with some extra money while you won't have to spend such a high amount as a bonus or a stipend.
Hand Written Notes
Sometimes acknowledgment of your hard work is payment enough. Personalized notes from your boss or a CEO highlighting what you did well this year can show many things. Bosses can take this as an opportunity to highlight their employee's strengths and accomplishments. Your employee's work is validated, and it helps them feel recognized by the company and part of your mission.
Supporting remote work is Important
These are some helpful suggestions, but you might still be asking yourself, "how?" How will any of this make a remote manager or HR team's life easier? Why is supporting remote work so important?
Working from home can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Employers need to acknowledge this and do what they can to prevent it. Holiday bonuses and events can make people feel recognized and help them deal with their depression and anxiety.
More money in the bank, a nice meal from a gift card, some time off, or a thoughtful present are all excellent at reducing these psychological issues. Overall, be open-minded and a good listener for your employees during this time of year.
Building Company Culture
Often, companies can be categorized as removed or cold during remote work when it comes to their employees. The only connection between the company and the employees is a computer, and all conversations focus on work-related topics. That disconnectedness can carry over to job perspective as people start to see their jobs as just signing in and signing out. The office's physical interactions have been removed, and all that's left are their tasks and the email notifications.
Providing support and benefits for your employees during the holidays promotes a better company image. The culture will appear caring and family-oriented, precisely what you want to build a stable and productive working environment. Instead of everyone working in their own silos, they will feel as if they are part of something bigger. Your employees will look at you as a resource as opposed to another chore during difficult times.
Probably one of the most significant negatives of working remotely is the strength of relationships. It's challenging to have a complete relationship with someone through a computer screen. We are so used to in-person interactions that any connection online can feel superficial, especially if everyone is muted with their cameras off during conference calls.
By supporting your team during the holidays, you provide them with more opportunities to be social with one another and build better relationships. Healthy relationships mean better employee experience and increased productivity.
Starting the New Year Right
Every year is different. This year has been the most unique in a very long time, and much uncertainty remains about 2021. It's essential to begin on the right foot with your business, and there's no better way than by showing your remote workers that you care. Workers with high morale are considered 13% more productive, so start the next year with a productivity bump and happy staff!
Motivating your Employees
Experts say that supporting your staff during the holidays increases morale and helps the company hit its targets. Showing your remote workers that you care by supporting them with online events, yearly bonuses, gift boxes, stipends, gift cards, and handwritten notes will help them feel recognized by the company.
An employee's relationship with their company is imperative to productivity. If they feel no personal connection to their job, they will only put in the work they must to get paid. By supporting them, you'll show they're contributing, which will motivate them to go the extra mile.
If you want your employees to be happy, satisfied, and productive, then the list of suggestions above will get you there. Make sure you pick one or more options that you feel will help your company specifically. Let's all work together to get through these troubling times. Happy holidays!
Would you like GroWrk Remote to help you take care of your remote team these holidays with ease?