How to Recognize Your Teleworkers
Statistically, one in five employees now works from home as a telecommuter. These numbers will likely increase as online businesses become more popular and traditional jobs rely more on technology. Teleworkers do a great deal of work for their businesses but are often forgotten during the holidays or appreciation weeks. This drives morale down, especially since telework can be quite isolating. Today, we’re going to focus on how to show appreciation to your teleworkers.
Be Aware of How Teleworkers Help
Most employees aren’t fully aware of how teleworkers positively impact office culture. For example, since teleworkers don’t have to drive to and from work each day, they save money on travel time and gasoline. Thus, they don’t come in to work irritated because of traffic or gas prices, and they don’t have to call in late because of vehicle trouble. They can also produce quality work more quickly and efficiently than many office employees because they usually don’t experience as many distractions. Teleworkers often have more time to care for themselves physically and emotionally, too. This keeps their morale up and positively influences the whole work environment.
Additionally, employees who work from home are often more loyal than those who don’t. They’re easy to hire and retain. Finally, most teleworkers are disciplined enough to stick to deadlines and follow directions from a remote location, so they don’t require the supervision and disciplinary action other employees might.
Talk to Them
As mentioned, isolation is one of the hard parts about telework. Teleworking has many advantages, but telecommuters don’t have coworkers in the same room to talk to. Many of these employees work alone at home while their children go to school and their spouses take on traditional jobs. Thus, teleworkers can feel isolated and as if their work doesn’t matter. Reassure them it does. Drop them notes to say hi or get to know them, not simply to relay assignments. Include them in brainstorming sessions via phone or Skype. Ask what they think about current telework policies and take their suggestions into consideration.
Finally, give teleworkers plenty of notice about meetings and deadlines. Be aware that everyone may live in different time zones and have different schedules. Set important meetings at least 24 hours in advance. When you recruit a teleworker, ask about his or her scheduling needs. For example, does this person have young children who need to be picked up from school? Does this person care for an elderly parent or have many pets? Does he or she have a second or third job?
Telework means gift giving must look different, but it needn’t be difficult if you think creatively. Many online companies reward employees with gift cards for Amazon.com and other online stores. Some employers arrange a teleworkers’ lunch at a central location a few times a year. Product or service discounts are also appreciated; for example, if you provide remote tutoring services, offer discounts on supplies. If you provide web content, ask teleworkers if they have websites and if they would like a discount on a set number of press releases or blog posts.