How Appreciation Awards Can Be Used to Motivate Your All-Remote Team

In the last two years, thousands of businesses went 100% remote. Some were startups already piecing together a team through low-cost cloud tools, others were long-time workplace employers who saw productivity go through the roof when the distractions of the workplace were removed. However, no matter how productive your team may be when working remotely, there have also been challenges. Engagement and appreciation are two issues that ring out among remote workers.

Fortunately, you have far more options than sharing snacks and pats on the back. Awards for achievement, dedication, and employee appreciation can make a world of difference for employees that feel physically disconnected from their work and team. 

The Epidemic of Remote Work Isolation

Many remote workers feel isolated, and as if they have "out of sight, out of mind" disappeared to their supervisors and team members. While working harder than ever before, achievements that would have been worth commendation in the office go practically unnoticed in remote work environments. Managers, too, have struggled to take care of their teams. While it was once easy to share words of encouragement and in-office support, many struggle to properly reach out and show the same appreciation now that the team is remote.

For those who are not naturals at creating a sense of warmth and connection through remote channels, sending physical gifts of appreciation can transform that feeling of isolation into one of camaraderie and pride. Let's dive into the ways that appreciation awards can be used to engage, reassure, and motivate your all-remote team.

Small Gifts Show Remote Workers They Are Not Invisible

Many employers learned early on that sending even a small care package of snacks could begin to heal the rift caused by remote work. If you've been to summer camp, taken a tour in the military, or gone on a mission trip, you may already know that receiving a care package can transform a tough journey of separation into a warm moment of connection. 

Even a small gift that arrives in the mail is a tactile reminder to your employees that you remember they exist, that they have not just become a username and a work quota in the eyes of their employer. If you want to send a little something to everyone to rebuild that connection, consider snacks, desk toys, or even fun socks.

If your team really came through during the remote transition or startup runway, send a small award to commend them for their dedication as part of your reconnection care package.

Commending Employees Who Stepped Up to the Challenge

In the last two years, some employees truly went above and beyond in adapting to remote conditions, handling projects, and/or leading their teams. An employee on your team may have saved the day by taking over an important task, making sure deadlines weren't met, sharing their remote work tricks with others, or even showing previously undiscovered leadership qualities when times were hardest.

Don't let that amazing performance go unappreciated. Sending a physical award can show that you saw their effort and understand just how valuable their tenacity has been to the team and the company as a whole.

Achievement Awards Ensure Hard Work is Measured and Recognized

One of the biggest problems since remote work began has been excellent performance going unnoticed. Previous methods employers used to recognize and thank in-office employees have fallen by the wayside in the face of stress and separation during the remote transition. Employees who achieved up to three times their typical in-office productivity when working at home have already shown a pattern of losing motivation when that performance goes unnoticed.

It may be difficult to share a pat on the bag or bring donuts to celebrate a quota knock-out for remote work, but you can always send an award. In fact, a crystal award to place on the desk or home office shelf can make all that hard work feel worth it alongside the manager's heartfelt thanks and public recognition of their dedication.

Contest Awards that Motivate the Whole Team

You can also use real awards to motivate your remote team in a contest environment. Whether your team traditionally holds contests or you are starting a new tradition, any type of performance race is especially motivating when there is a prize to be won.

In this case, order your trophy before the contest begins. Put it on display; maybe even give it a live camera to show your team what they are competing for. Not only can a contest be a friendly form of team competition, but winning such an award will look (and feel) amazing as part of their career history.

If your team loves the first contest, make plans to hold one every year, and design a unique trophy each time to be won.

Emojis are Not An Award Equivalent

When talking about remote team appreciation, it's also important to remember that emojis are not as motivating as some managers have come to believe. Sending an email or Slack message with a tiny image of balloons and streamers is nowhere near as encouraging as a real party or care package. Many employees hoping for real appreciation often feel cheated when their recognition is shown in emojis alone, and a slightly larger festive graphic is hardly a consolation prize.

Bring the Team Together with Team Awards Everyone Can See

One of the best ways to bring your team together is to give everyone a matching award for excellent remote teamwork performance. If your team pulled through on an important project, delivered a project ahead of schedule, or saved the day from catastrophe at the last minute, don't hesitate to send everyone an award to show your appreciation.

Not only is receiving an engraved crystal piece motivating, but seeing the matching trophies in each team member's home office background can make everyone feel closer, and remind them of the excellent teamwork they have achieved in the recent past.

Congratulating Team Members on Home-Earned Certs

Remote work has also led to a delightful renaissance of employees pursuing their own professional development through online courses. In the time saved commuting and with new no-classroom-necessary standards, many have begun earning new certifications and licenses that should be celebrated. If an employee has independently completed a certification course - or similar new qualification in your industry - show your recognition with a congratulatory award.

Not only will an award make the new cert that much more satisfying, but you will also increase the likelihood that your employees of increasing value will remain on your team.

Don't Forget Employee Anniversary Appreciation

Finally, don't let the new remote work arrangements cause you to miss your anniversary with each employee on the team. Recognizing work anniversaries has been a long-standing way to show that employees are appreciated more with every year and assures them that they have not disappeared into the background hum of company operations.

Employees who expect their anniversaries to be forgotten will be delighted and surprised when, instead, a package arrives with a beautiful thank-you award and perhaps a few treats to take the place of an office party.

Show Your Appreciation for Remote Employees with DIY Awards

DIY Awards is proud to work with employers to customize awards, trophies, and elegant prizes for employers across the country. We know that many remote teams need to rebuild that sense of connection, camaraderie, and to feel recognized for the hard work they do. Let us help you design and deliver the perfect award for every occasion to engage, motivate, and inspire your valuable remote teams.