Including your remote workers in holiday-related festivities can help them feel more like part of the team. However, the distance can make it seem like a challenging task. To make sure every employee has the chance to be involved, careful planning is required. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some excellent ways to get started.
For holiday parties that include recognition for the hard work of your employees throughout the year, consider making the event available through a video conferencing service. That way, your remote workers get to hear all of the great news firsthand. It also offers you an opportunity to publicly recognize the contributions of your telecommuters in front of the in-office staff.
Everyone will have a chance to celebrate each other’s accomplishments and will appreciate knowing they are valued regardless of their location.
When the parties frequently offer food, consider sending your telecommuting employee a gift card to a local restaurant. Alternatively, you can arrange to have a pizza or other delivery food sent straight to their home at party time. This can help them feel more included in the event than neglecting the simple gesture.
If your office has a Secret Santa, white elephant or other gift exchange, make efforts to keep your remote employees involved too. They can participate in Secret Santa assignments via video conferencing and mail their gift to the office for distribution. Similarly, their present can be shipped to them.
To make this work, you will need to set a deadline for when all gifts must be brought into the office before the exchange will be completed. This allows remote employees to ship their gifts to your attention, marked with the name of the recipient, and lets you ship out those for remote workers. Since you can act as a central point, the secret can be preserved.
White elephant and other gift exchanges work a bit differently. Have the remote workers mail their gift to the office before the selected date. Once the time for the exchange arrives, have the remote workers video conference in. They can watch other employee selections, and you can act as their proxy when their turn comes, allowing them to tell you which item to open or trade. Once the process is complete, mail their gift to them.
If you traditionally bring a card or gift to your employees for a holiday, make sure you do the same for your remote employees. A simple holiday card with a gift card is easy to mail and is almost always appreciated, or you can choose a virtual gift card to go with a virtual party. If you tend to select something more personal, take the time to learn your remote employee’s interests and choose something accordingly.
In this regard, do for them as you do for any other employee. That way, they’ll know you don’t see them any differently simply because they aren’t working at the office.
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