At WorkBright, we understand the value of showing appreciation and caring for our employees, customers, and the people around us. We’ve shared a ton of employee appreciation ideas on the blog before, and today we wanted to share a special blog post about showing appreciation during COVID-19. Let’s help our employees get through the current pandemic by showing how much we care!
These ideas will help you connect with the employees you have and show how much they mean to you. Showing appreciation for your employees can take the backseat during an unprecedented time like this, but showcasing how much you appreciate your employees is more critical than ever. Let’s talk about how you can show appreciation for employees during COVID-19.
1. Send Out Handwritten Thank You Notes
A handwritten thank you note can go along way with your employees. Everyone could use a little more happy mail in their lives right now. If you have some time, write a thank you note to your employees and send it to them. If you can write each letter by hand, that would make all the difference. Some CEOs write letters to their employees every year.
Overall, you want to show your appreciation to each employee for what they are doing to keep your business afloat. If handwriting letters in a short period seem like too big of a task, that’s okay. We have plenty of ideas on this list that will make your team feel equally as appreciated.
2. Give Employees More Time To Accomplish Challenging Tasks
Everyone is struggling to get their work done right now. Parents are juggling to raise a family while joining meetings and balancing their workload. Single people are struggling with self-isolating away from their family and friends. Couples are struggling with working from home in potentially tight spaces. It’s an adjustment that has been hard on everyone.
As you are dealing with COVID-19 and the stress that comes with it, consider its impact on productivity as well. Things that used to take less time have become harder to do. Employees are struggling with their lives. Since many of us work from home, our work has unfortunately taken a hit.
Quarantine and self-isolation will not last forever, but we need to be careful about how much we ask from people right now.
3. Check-In With Employees When They Need It Most
Last week when we talked about how to manage communication during COVID-19, we talked about the importance of extending kindness and checking-in with recently laid-off employees. You should also reach out to your current employees when they need it. Chances are, your employees are struggling right now, even if they don’t make that known to you.
What can you do to make this time of social distancing easier on your employees? Well, for starters, you don’t need to distance from them emotionally. You can still check-in with your employees regularly and make their mental health a priority. Set aside time every day to connect with employees and show that you appreciate and care for them.
4. Have A Virtual Catered Lunch
It feels easy to have catered lunches when your employees are all coming into the office. What if I told you that you could still treat your employees to an office lunch when everyone is working remotely? Here’s how to do it so you can show appreciation for employees during COVID-19. Send your entire staff a $20-$25 gift card. Ask them to spend it on getting their lunch from a local restaurant or someplace in their town that delivers or offers carryout. Set up a time during the day where your entire team can sit down, chat with each other via Zoom, and connect over good food.
You can also host a catered dinner by providing larger gift cards and inviting the family of your employees to join you on the call. Another option is to do a virtual potluck where you all bring your own food and showcase what you are cooking on the call (you might want to provide a stipend for your employees to spend on the food.) Food brings people together, and there are many ways you can use that to your advantage while people are socially distancing themselves.
5. Recognize Employee Sentiments Around Layoffs And Furloughs
During our recent article about ways to create a healthier workplace for remote workers, we talked about the importance of acknowledging the impact of the current pandemic. Recognizing the impact of COVID-19 is even more vital as we approach two months of social distancing, and issues like layoffs and furloughs are starting to show up. Every Thursday, we are beginning to see unemployment numbers rise, and the amount of employees filing for unemployment is unprecedented.
Keep your employees up to date about layoffs and furloughs at your company. Come to these discussions with a sense of compassion and kindness. Your employees could be losing their work best friend. It’s essential for companies dealing with layoffs to approach the conversation head-on instead of trying to work around it. Your employees will value your honesty, and it will help them cope with the potential loss and helplessness they may feel.
6. Don’t Forget About Work Anniversaries And Birthdays During The Pandemic
It’s so easy to forget about the basics like birthdays and work anniversaries when the world around you is going insane. These dates are the perfect way to show your employees how much you care about them, though. Nothing like forgetting a birthday to prove that you don’t want to show appreciation for employees during COVID-19. Take some time to mark down these dates in your calendar. You could even schedule out emails to go out to these employees to celebrate their anniversaries and birthdays when you have more mental energy.
Simply acknowledging these dates will make your employees feel more loved and appreciated. If you would typically celebrate these dates, keep celebrating them during social distancing. Your employees will enjoy the normalcy that celebrating these dates gives them.
7. Let Employees Pick A Quarantine Project
Finding a passion for the work that you used to do every day might be a challenge for some of your employees. Many employees would find more value from working on a project that sets their soul on fire, and you can do that by assigning a few hours a week for your employees to work on a quarantine project. What part of their job do they really like? What’s a project that they have been begging to work on for months? Assign each employee a quarantine project that they can put their energy into for a few hours a week, and watch their excitement about work grow.
How does a work project make employees feel more appreciated? According to research completed by O.C. Tanner, “when an employee participates in a special project, they have a 26% increased sense of opportunity.” By giving your employees a quarantine project, they will begin to see more possibilities around them and create potential opportunities for your brand.
8. Make Meetings More Fun With Surprises
If you’ve been on the internet, you’ve probably seen exciting meeting surprises like Goat-2-Meeting popping up on the internet. Goat-2-Meeting is a fun venture started by Sweet Farms that allows companies to bring a goat to their virtual meetings.
You might not want to bring a goat to your next corporate team meeting. There are exciting ways you can show appreciation for employees during COVID-19 by making meetings fun. You might want to do giveaways, rave about company success, do a meeting while working on puzzles, or have a virtual happy hour. Think about the various ways you can make your meetings more exciting while making your entire team feel comfortable.
9. Extend Flexibility Past COVID-19
Many employers have had to become remote due to COVID-19. For many employers, this wasn’t something they ever considered before the virus hit so many parts of the globe. Even if you don’t typically work remotely, you might want to consider how you can use remote work to your advantage after we have a bigger handle on the virus and how it impacts people across the country.
Many employees will likely be ready to go back to work full-time. This isn’t exactly the perfect case study for what remote work can do for employees and organizations. On the other hand, you’ll likely have many employees who found value in working from home once all this is over. How can you improve the flexibility your company offers after this global pandemic is over? Consider allowing more of your team to work remotely if it suits them, or at least offering one or two days a week that employees can work from home.
10. Have An Impromptu Employee Appreciation Day
While the official date for Employee Appreciation Day is the first Friday of March, sometimes we need another reason to celebrate our employees. Employees are dealing with a lot of emotions right now, and you can help them with that by learning to appreciate them in new and unexpected ways. Instead of waiting for Employee Appreciation Day 2021, consider doing an impromptu celebration of your employees for all the things they do for you.
Plan a virtual celebration to tell your employees how much you appreciate them during this challenging time. Connect with them and show them how much they are needed. Your team is the backbone of your company, especially during a time when there is so much uncertainty. We all need a little extra kindness right now, and you don’t have to box that into one day a year.
Conclusion: Show Appreciation For Employees During COVID-19
Your employees matter. Employees are the lifeblood of every company, and you need them to make consistent strides in your company. Letting go of employees when you didn’t think you’d have to is devastating. Your employees need to know how much they mean to you, whether you are bringing in new team members every day or you are cutting back on your staff.
How are you showing your employees how much they mean to you right now?