Showing Gratitude To Your Remote Team

Why is Gratitude Important?

Team leaders shouldn’t feel like they need to reward their employees simply for being there, or for doing their basic jobs. More importantly, a little encouragement goes a long way, and there are several ways to make employees feel valued and to reward them for going above and beyond. Maybe it was a good month, or a productive quarter. Perhaps one team member really stepped up and saved the day. Perhaps so many deadlines were hit that the project got off the ground ahead of schedule. When your team is working remotely, how do you show your appreciation? It’s important to give an employee a knowing smile or sincere, heartfelt, thank you in person when they’ve done a good job. How do you bridge the remote work gap and provide those same vital moments virtually?

It’s not always easy to ensure that remote team members feel noticed, appreciated and valued. With a little planning and consideration, managers of remote teams can instill the spirit of gratitude into their team.

Giving of Gifts

This seems like a no-brainer, but gift-giving is one of the best and simplest ways to show your appreciation to your team members. Especially when the whole team has accomplished something, or perhaps as a year end thank you, you as a manager taking the time to give a little token of your appreciation to the people who work so hard for you really fosters a feeling of gratitude.

It doesn’t have to be something extravagant—even something as simple as a gift card lets your team members know you’re thinking of them and are appreciative of the value they bring to your team. And if you’re worried about having to fuss with shipping or picking just the right thing, there are even some sleek online gift-giving options like GiftRocket you can consider to further break down those distance barriers.

Visibly Acknowledge Accomplishment

Often more powerful than gifts, however, is simply regular acknowledgment that your team is performing well. As managers and leaders it can be easy to get so caught up in our own responsibilities that we forget to take the time to show gratitude to the people around us that we rely on every single day.

Set aside time in the weekly team status meeting to recognize jobs well done, work anniversaries or career milestones. Post a comment on your company’s intranet or team workspace acknowledging a team member’s work. Or, while it may not be the most cutting-edge of communication tools, never underestimate the power of a good email for making your team members feel noticed and appreciated. By sending a quick note congratulating someone for a win or thanking them for their hard work on a project (and copying the rest of the team, of course), you create a quick, simple and visible moment of pride.

A few specific suggestions

Wondering exactly what your team might like? If you’ve taken the time to really get to know them, you should be able to come up with some creative ideas. Here are a few from Paul White, Ph.D.:

  • Having “coffee” via Skype to catch up on life outside of work.
  • Emailing funny pictures based on recent conversations.
  • Sending “celebration kits” including some small gifts and food.
  • Allowing a co-worker to call and “vent” and share their frustration.
  • Checking in to see how their day is going.
  • Make sure that issues discussed in the main office are shared with remote employees.
  • Send a handwritten thank you note to the person’s home address.

These little moments of gratitude from manager to team—receiving a gift or note of praise—are so important for building that team dynamic. While the opportunities for these moments may be harder to come by when you or your team are working remotely, their impact is well worth the extra effort.

Very best wishes for your every success,