Picture of Bridgette Klein

Article by: Bridgette Klein — View more articles by Bridgette Klein

Posted on: April 16, 2020

Recognize Your EmPloyees Without Violating Stay-At-Home Orders

Saying it is a unique time right now is an understatement. Never before has the American workforce been as disrupted as it is today. Jobs are being done from home that people didn’t think were possible to do at home, and grocery store employees are some of the most essential of all.

And we know some of those employee recognition budgets have been reduced or entirely cut. However, we believe that now is arguably the most critical time to recognize and connect with employees. Below we’ve added some of our favorite ideas, but what are some other ways we can recognize remote employees?

  1. Personal Notes

In a time of digital communications, handwritten notes show extra appreciation. Make sure to use stationery and thank your employees for their accomplishments and hard work. It’s a nice touch and gives a personable feel. Work with your HR and operations teams to make sure employee privacy is maintained. This might mean working with HR to have the personal notes addressed.

  1. Encourage Virtual Hangouts

It can feel isolating working from home, so find creative ways to get people together virtually. That can be a coffee chat on a specific topic or merely an online happy hour. We’ve done both in the last few weeks and we’ve enjoyed both immensely. It will be different from going for drinks after work but look on the bright side: you might get to see how your coworkers decorate!

  1. Fun(ny) Awards

It’s in our nature to like to give our coworkers accolades, so why not take this time to be a bit more interesting than “employee of the month”? Some relevant awards might include:

  • Most likely to have their video conference interrupted by a family pet
  • Most likely to be wearing pajamas or athleisure
  • Most likely to work from bed
  • Least likely to mute themselves during a call
  • Least likely to take a lunch break
  • Least likely to adhere to a standard schedule
  • What other ideas can you come up with for The Remoties?
  1. Branded Journal

Did you know that journaling is proven to help you prioritize and better understand your emotions? Journaling also helps with improving emotional intelligence and is impactful to having crucial conversations – both imperative to working remotely. One of our favorites out there is the CreativeSpark journal. We love that it has space for coloring, journaling, and doodling.

  1. Home Office Supplies/Stipend

Home offices are nothing like working in a traditional office, and one of the most significant differences can come from the available supplies and furniture. Because it was such a quick change to mobilize remote workforces, many people who are now working virtually, were likely unprepared to do so. Our process includes a monthly supply stipend, in part to help cover internet and other infrastructure expenses, but we’ve also used Amazon business accounts to directly send employees the exact supplies they’re going to use. But, if you’re looking to go above and beyond, investigate giving employees gift cards to purchase a more ergonomic chair or a stable desk.

  1. Free Lunch

Obviously, this one is going to look a bit different when most employees are working from home, but you can still provide your employees with a free lunch. Start by looking into options that include providing a food delivery gift card or coordinating a physically distant food drop off. You can even work with companies like Uber Eats to send specific restaurant deliveries to your employees – you may just want to give them a head’s up that a delivery is coming so they are adequately prepared (pants, anyone?).

  1. Create a Virtual Wall of Fame

Have an area online where you can post employees’ pictures and a short description of how they’ve made a difference. It gives a sense of accomplishment to be publicly recognized for a job well done. You can even take it a step further and acknowledge them on social media. Work with your marketing department to come up with the best way to share how amazing your coworkers are. 

  1. Allow Flexible Timing

Let an employee’s schedule have a little bit of flexibility. If they need to leave early for a doctor’s appointment or assist with dependent care, let them – as long as they’re available for necessary meetings or video conferences. Another option is to give a few free days off to be used as they wish. Your employees will appreciate the free time. If a full day isn’t in the cards, try a half-day or even a few hours.

  1. Something Meaningful to Them

Do you have someone on your team who is obsessed with Dr. Pepper? Or what about someone who loves llamas? Everyone has something – or lots of things – that are meaningful to them and chances are they’ve talked about it in a work setting or decorated their desk to represent their passions. By sending them something tied to what they love, you’re showing that you genuinely pay attention to who they are outside of their work.

  1. Streaming gift cards

We’re all spending A LOT more time on the Internet, especially on media consumption sites like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. In fact, according to the Global Web Index, “over 80% of consumers in the U.S. and UK say they consume more content since the outbreak, with broadcast TV and online videos (YouTube, TikTok) being the primary mediums across all generations and genders.” With that in mind, why not show some appreciation by helping them consume their favorite bingeable show?

  1. Coworker Cutouts

Tight-knit teams and extroverts are missing their coworkers, so why not find a way to liven up their home office? If you have a full-length picture of your team members, it’s easy enough to have a standup made. And if you don’t, you can even use their latest headshots and a goofy costume to make the cardboard cutout.

  1. Recommend Them…On LinkedIn That Is

Is LinkedIn a social media platform? Yes and no, but this one falls much more into the professional side of LinkedIn. Take a few moments to write up why you enjoy working with your teammates and post it to LinkedIn. They’ll be grateful you took the time to acknowledge them.

  1. Caffeination

Most of us start our day with coffee or some sort of other caffeine. Do you know what many people aren’t as used to doing? Making coffee at home. So, help them out with a bag of delicious beans, a fantastic coffee mug, or even a French press to ensure they can make coffee whenever they want (even if the power goes out).

  1. Put Them on the Website

How do you determine the team members who make it on the website? Is it a certain level of authority or a rung on the organizational ladder? Why? Perhaps it’s time to rethink your position. If you have temporary employees, it might not make sense to list them all on the website. However, we would argue that by listing the team members – no matter their role – assists in them feeling connected and that everyone is a member of the same team. It reduces some of the “us” and “them” mentality prevalent among organizations.

  1. Don’t Forget to Say Thank You.
It might be the most obvious, but people often forget how to use these words. Make sure your employees know that you appreciate their hard work and effort. And the best part? Saying thank you is free.


What creative ways have you found to recognize your team? Share your creative and unique ideas in the comments. No matter what you do, providing recognition often means a lot to employees, especially during the tough times we’re facing.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this idea with one of our team members, you can get in touch here.