The coronavirus pandemic has challenged and transformed practically every aspect of our daily lives, from the ways we get our entertainment and our education to the ways we socialize and connect with those we love.
But perhaps the biggest impact has been on the way that we work. According to the latest estimates, 34% of employed Americans made the abrupt transition to telework as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s a significant adjustment to make in a short period of time. As workers acclimate to this new normal, they need more support than ever before. A strong rewards and recognition strategy is one of your best tools for leading your team during the transition to remote work.
Rewarding the Safe Transition
Remote work may be something that’s new not only to your employees but also that’s new to you. However, you might find the transition easier, and more effective, than you might have imagined. Studies show, in fact, that remote workers tend to be happier and more productive than on-campus workers.
However, there are some hazards associated with remote work that you and your team must be mindful of from the outset. The first and most important is ensuring that your employees are using data security best practices. This includes ensuring that Wi-Fi and internet connections are private and that sensitive data is never stored on a personal or non-password protected device.
When you find your employees implementing these essential privacy measures, right from the beginning, it’s a good idea to build in a reward. Consider offering special perks, such as offering a local gift card. Give one to the employee who is the first to password-protect their work device. Or to the one who reaches out regularly to fellow employees.
If you’re a small business, you might not have the resources to outfit your entire staff with new work tech. However, if you can, consider investing in some new gadgets to help up your rewards game. For instance, your company might even pony up for a free laptop, tablet, or cellphone and instruct employees on how to set up a secure VPN for their remote work. These can be ‘loaned’ out to employees through HR for use for the duration of employment and come in handy for employees who either cannot afford new tech upfront or who use an operating system at home that’s different from the one used at work.
Keep Them Motivated
Rewards aren’t just for promoting best practices right from the start. They’re also powerful motivational tools, especially when your employees, and the company, are facing tough times like these.
The good news is that rewards don’t have to be costly. Sometimes the best rewards are about connection and recognition.
So when you’re working remotely, be sure to make video chats and conferences a routine part of your work life. When your team is gathered together in cyberspace, take the time in each meeting to recognize employees’ achievements.
When you’re recognizing your employees, make sure to be specific. Tepid or generic praise may be worse than no praise at all. So focus on details. Celebrate the unique value each employee brings to the team. The best motivation, after all, is feeling needed and appreciated.
To do this successfully, though, you’re going to need to build employee evaluations into your remote work routine. That’s not as daunting as it may seem, however. In fact, many employees enjoy performance reviews because it helps them feel recognized and appreciated. Employee evaluations, in general, increase both employee motivation and engagement.
Keep Them Balanced
One of the hardest parts of working remotely is that your work, literally, follows you home. Remote workers often struggle with work-life balance because the temptation to “always be working” can be too great to resist.
You can help your employees maintain a healthy work-life balance by building PTO into your rewards structure. For instance, you might offer one hour of PTO for every new client signed or one day of PTO for every major project completed.
Transitioning to remote work is not always easy, but doing so in the middle of a pandemic is especially challenging. A strong strategy of rewards and recognition, however, can make this process flow much more smoothly. Through rewards and recognition, you can promote employee best practices and drive motivation and engagement even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Guest post courtesy of Beau Peters