March 5, 2021 is Employee Appreciation Day. With many companies nearing a full year of remote work, it is the perfect time to recognize your employees in a meaningful way. Not only did employees show that they can remain productive at home, but “nearly 70 percent of professionals who transitioned to remote work because of the pandemic say they now work on the weekends, and 45 percent say they regularly work more hours during the week than they did before” (SHRM, December 2020). 

With “Zoom fatigue” becoming ever-present amongst workers, employers are struggling to think beyond virtual happy hours or virtual cooking classes for ways to show appreciation and engage their employees. Here are some ways you can show appreciation for your employees without asking them to jump on another video call: 

  • Give employees flexibility in how they work (and make it explicit) 
    • For employees who are caring for children, elderly parents, or family members with disabilities, the pandemic has made it much harder to stick to typical business hours. Consider making it explicitly known that employees can work atypical hours in order to accommodate caregiving and that it is acceptable to place blocks on their calendar to ensure meetings do not compete with family responsibilities. By making this explicit, you are relieving the employees who need it most of any guilt they might incur.  
  • Provide opportunities for career development and professional growth
    •   Providing reimbursement for industry conferences or continuing education courses will show your employees you care about their professional growth. Companies might also provide a subscription to one of many online learning platforms, such as Masterclass, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning. 
  • Share feedback on their performance (not just during review cycles) 
    • Constructive feedback does not have to be saved for performance review cycles. Sharing with an employee what they are doing well and where they can improve on a regular basis can be a meaningful way for employees to feel recognized and supported. Especially in a remote environment, where employees may feel insecure about whether their achievements are being recognized.  
  • Provide company-wide “no meeting” blocks or “wellness” days-off  
    • Since the pandemic, fewer employees are taking time off. This leads to declines in productivity without proper breaks and increases chances of burnout. In order to ensure that employees will truly take time off, consider providing company-wide wellness days every other Friday or one Friday a month where the entire company shuts down to participate in self-care activities. If that’s not possible, consider implementing company-wide “no meeting” blocks on calendar and ensure this is adhered to across all teams within the organization. This will allow for focused time on projects without meetings, or may even encourage employees to go for a walk or practice yoga.  

Additional Resources

Disclaimer: This content is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, medical or tax advice. It provides general information and is not intended to encompass all compliance and legal obligations that may be applicable. This information and any questions as to your specific circumstances should be reviewed with your respective legal counsel and/or tax advisor as we do not provide legal or tax advice. Please note that this information may be subject to change based on legislative changes. © 2021 Sequoia Benefits & Insurance Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Shannon Arens – Shannon is a Wellbeing Consultant at Sequoia. She partners closely with Enterprise clients to assess, develop, and recommend a holistic wellbeing strategy designed to the meet the diverse needs of employees. Outside of work, Shannon enjoys spending time with her two children, going for a run, or relaxing in her backyard.