Appreciating Your Employees During the Holidays … Remotely

Thursday, December 17, 2020

In a recent employee survey about the fall term, some employees shared that they don’t feel appreciated in our virtual environment. During this time of year that’s usually filled with potlucks, in-person comradery and face-to-face thank yous, it can be even more difficult to feel appreciated with the loss of in-person connections. How can we help our employees feel appreciated during the holiday season? Here are some ideas:

Consider a virtual party, happy hour or coffee break. Set up a time for your team to Zoom without a work agenda. Maybe lead some holiday trivia or an at-home holiday scavenger hunt. For example, Forbes.com recommends a scavenger hunt in which all team members find the weirdest item in their fridge.

Or, your celebration could include a virtual gingerbread war. Teambuilding.com suggests sending each of your participants a gingerbread kit in the mail that includes gingerbread people, frosting, candies and more. Then, you can build your sugary homes together or in advance and show them off for a sweet competition.

For additional ideas, check out the games that Assistant Vice President, Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs Daniel Barkowitz’s team played during a Financial Aid team meeting.

Send your team members cards or small gifts. If it’s in your budget, send your team members a card with a personal note or a small gift to their home address. It could be as simple as made-at-home cookies or a small gift card for a cup of coffee or a smoothie. Or, consider sending an e-gift. For example, Amazon eGift cards are available starting at just $1.

Organize a recipe exchange. With employees eating and cooking at home now more than ever, try a recipe exchange. Check out this recipe exchange — an actual holiday cookbook — developed by our Organizational Development and Human Resources team.

Host a virtual photo booth. Teambuilding.com also suggests hosting a holiday photo booth. Take screen shots of your Zoom celebration using these fun, downloadable Shutterfly photo booth props. Or, bring your own props like Santa hats, reindeer headbands, garland or hats and gloves (especially fun in Florida).

Make a good old-fashioned phone call. With Zoom now the workplace rage, sometimes it’s nice to just go old-school and not have to fix your hair prior to a call. Give your employees a ring and thank them for their hard work and wish them a happy Winter Break.

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