According to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), half of all employees who say that they don’t feel valued at work reported that they plan to look for a new job in the next year.
Being too busy, not knowing where to start, or simply not caring — these are just a few of the typical roadblocks in the way of leaders showing meaningful appreciation to their employees. However, with COVID-19 and the growth in flexible work environments, leaders are facing a new challenge — how to show appreciation from a distance!
We’ve put together a list of 8 creative ideas for showing your team members some love and appreciation from afar!
1. Have your team take the Motivated by Appreciation Remote Inventory
The Motivated by Appreciation Inventory is a powerful assessment tool to help leaders and managers understand how to communicate appreciation to the members of their team in a way that’s meaningful and speaks to each individual’s specific communication style.
Due to COVID-19, the MBA Inventory has launched The Long Distance version, to give specific guidance to those who want to show appreciation from afar during this challenging time. There’s no better time than now to begin to understand the unique values and communication styles of your team members.
2. Find out their favorite food or beverage and have it delivered
This may seem like a small thing, but it won’t go unnoticed by your team members! Take a quick survey — over email, Slack, or whatever communication channel you use — and ask your employees to tell you their favorite coffee drinks or local spots for lunch! Surprise them sometime in the next few weeks with a delivery to their door to show them that you’re thinking of them and thankful for the work they’ve been doing and the adjustments and sacrifices they’ve made during this time.
3. Send a package in the mail
Everyone loves getting something in the mail — especially during quarantine! Whether you need to put out another survey, ask fellow team members, or do a little appropriate social stalking, take the time to discover what they like!
The package can be simple and doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Some ideas could include a candle or plant to brighten their home office experience or if they have kids to distract during this time, send coloring books and games. For pet owners, send dog treats or a toy that their pet will enjoy.
4. Write a note or letter
Everyone could use a few words of encouragement these days! Take time to write your team members a note saying thank you and expressing your appreciation for the unique ways they contribute to the team. For anyone who is especially motivated by words of affirmation, taking the time to write something out by hand will be incredibly valuable.
5. Invest in practical office items
Working from home presents new challenges to your team when it comes to not having access to the tools and resources they’re used to having in the office. Things like good pens, a printer, and a whiteboard are often taken for granted until they’re not accessible. Considering helping your team with their at-home office setup and addressing a few of their major work-from-home pain points.
Are your team members on the phone constantly? Get them a nice headset (we recommend gaming headsets as the most comfortable and practical). Are your employees sitting in uncomfortable dining room chairs eight hours a day? Let them expense a good office chair or standing desk.
6. Unstructured "human" time
When appropriate, taking yourself out of “boss” mode can be an important part of connecting with your team — especially during a crisis like the one we’re experiencing now. Whether it’s a text, phone call, or video chat, find a time to reach out to each of your team members and see how they are doing, work-related conversations aside. Take time to ask them how they’re doing and be open about your experiences as well!
7. Brainstorming or helping with projects
For anyone who is especially collaborative and extroverted, having to work on projects alone may feel soul-crushing. Thanks to technology, however, there are plenty of ways to work together. Offer to jump on Zoom to hear your team members' ideas or knock out a project. Doing so will hopefully encourage that same collaboration among your team.
8. Just ask
All gifts aside, this tip might just be the most important — take time to simply ask your team what they need and want. Not only will it make your team members feel seen and heart, but it will also allow you to meet each individual in their unique situation so you can help them where it matters.
Between a delivered cup of coffee and a meaningful conversation, your employees are sure to feel loved and cared for wherever in the world they may be!
Looking for more ways to effectively engage your remote team? AGL: Coaching for Good is here to help! Schedule a call here!