Working from home right now is currently where we are and what we get to do to keep working. We may find after the world gives the approval to go back to the office that many companies realize remote meetings are not only possible but actually an opportunity that sticks around for the long-term given its many benefits.
However, managers and leaders who thrive around people and feel they do a better job helping their people thrive in-person may continue to find it challenging to make celebration and recognition possible when everyone is at home.
It used to be if a big product release or sale was made, everyone would skip to the local pub for a celebratory toast. If it was someone’s work anniversary or birthday, a manager would take them to lunch. And if it was the Friday of a very long week, leadership may order food in to get the last bit of work done and give the team a hearty “thank you” for a job well done.
But then things got complicated. We are ALL at separate mailing addresses with fairly strict orders to remain so. In a time where good news and pats on the back are more important than ever to balance the at-home overload and worldly news revolving around us, how do you celebrate wins, milestones, and achievements adequately with your team?
Just say, “Thank you.”
Let’s start with the basic “Thank you.” You could be with an employee on a 1:1, in a small group, or in your large staff meeting online. Take the time to authentically acknowledge someone or a team for something they did and let them know their work did not go unnoticed and was appreciated. Even in large organizations where fanfare, swag, and a food budget is in abundance for typical moments like this, what really counts is your taking the time to verbally recognize and share.
Send them a small surprise.
If you can afford a little gift and the shipping that comes with separate mailing addresses, surprise your people or team with a little surprise. Our CEO sent us all a gift box with amazing popcorn dripping in chocolate right as we were adjusting to working from home and it lit up not only our team but our families to have this unexpected gift to show we were appreciated.
Schedule win time.
Sync with your leadership team to devise a plan to meet as a group to collect and recognize individual and team wins. Enable teams to share accomplishments with leadership who should keep track of them (this is even more meaningful if leadership identifies this proactively). Plop a brief meeting on your calendars with a Docket agenda dedicated solely to making sure wins are shared and thanks are expressed. When working remotely, no win is too small so keep an open mind that not everything is a huge customer sale…a programmer knocking out a challenge or preventing an ugly bug is just as impressive.
Create a win channel.
Set up a chat channel just to report wins, accomplishments, and thanks. Encourage all team members to use the channel to give a shout out to someone who did something exceptional or went out of their way to help someone else.
Share it on social.
Use LinkedIn and other social channels to highlight star employees. You can share accomplishments and thanks where their social network can see the value they add to your company (which gives a great, free ego boost!). Take it to the next level by asking your designers to create personalized badges you can use with themes that speak to the person you are commending to make it fun.
Make a remote happy hour.
Set up a virtual happy hour that gives everyone time to chat, relax, and enjoy a little social time. Make it a part of their work day so that they don’t have to give away extra family time to make it happen.
Would real happy hour be cool with drinks flowing from fountains and food steaming on trays? Sure, but at this time, your team needs the ability to “get away” from obligation, talk without an agenda, and hear a thoughtful “thank you” or virtual high five from the person leading them through an obstacle course of new business challenges.
Nothing is too small. Reset your company culture and take the time to recognize your teams and the hard work they are doing every day. And make sure National High Five Day becomes a part of your corporate calendar!