| 14 October, 2021 | 9 Min Read

20 heartfelt virtual recognition ideas to bring your remote team closer

Employees need to be appreciated now more than ever as managing to get work done while trying to survive in a pandemic drains them out. With the limitations imposed on physical gatherings, celebrating their achievements seems impossible – but not for long. We have highlighted 20 virtual ways to recognize the efforts of your remote workers.

Employees love to be appreciated just like everyone else. Duly recognizing their good works is just the right motivation they need to grow despite lacking constant management. The 360 feedback tools can help improve remote productivity, but it also makes remote employees feel connected and valued for their excellent performance in such challenging times.

The enforced remote working caused by the pandemic has made celebrating our unsung heroes even more difficult. As managers, we know it’s time to rise to the occasion and inspire our employees with that special recognition they deserve. That's where the best free HR software comes in handy.

This post will show you 20 creative ways to appreciate your remote workers’ contributions virtually using such software and productivity apps.

Why recognizing your remote employees matters

While working from home has so many benefits, transitioning from going to the office to staying at home all day can be overwhelming. Remote employees feel partially withdrawn from the company, as they don’t get to fully indulge in office activities. The team bonding, lunch breaks, company culture, and other activities that keep employees engaged are unavailable.

Therefore, recognizing and awarding shows that the company does acknowledge their hard works. It also makes up for missing out on all the fun activities and peer-to-peer communication.

Recognition for remote employees also reminds them that the building doesn’t make the company, but they do. For most employees, recognition gives them something to look forward to, hence, increasing productivity.

20 fun virtual employee recognition ideas to bond with your remote team

1. Publish employee recognition posts on the company’s social media

Maximize the use of your company’s social media account. Do not just limit it to sales and marketing; show your customers and other employees the worker behind the success of a project or product. Social media recognition works best for Gen Z employees, as they are most active on social media and more eager to share the accomplishment with peers.

Celebrate each department, team, and individual for their collective efforts in helping the company grow. Social media recognition is also a great way to introduce remote workers to other members of the crew.

Moreover, social media shout-outs help build an audience for your company. As the awarded employee shares this post to their timeline, it will expand your brand exposure to the public. With so many benefits, this method is quite simple to execute. So why not?

2. Send a gift card

Remote employees usually create a mini workspace at home to increase their productivity. However, they don’t always have all that is required to keep them comfortable. Show some appreciation by sending gift cards and vouchers that’ll support their convenient workspace dreams.

This method is frequently used for peer recognition as it is quick, flexible, measurable, and efficient. For that cause, company culture apps, like Sprynkl, allow colleagues to send recognitions instantly with notes and points, which then can be traded for real gift cards.

Grove HR - virtual recognition ideas

Send instant peer recognitions with thank-you notes and points


3. Create a virtual recognition wall of fame

Just like with your team bulletin board packed with statistics and achievements, you can also create a virtual wall of fame for your remote workers. You can create a forum on the company's internal platform to praise your employees for a job well done and have everyone acknowledge their contribution.

4. Host virtual recognition events and parties

Who doesn’t like a little bit of fun and dancing? Host a party for your remote workers and help them cool off. To improve the ambiance and make it seem like an actual party, tell everyone to dress up and ‘bring along’ a fancy bottle. Make it even more special by hosting an awarding ceremony for high performers of the period. 

Here are some employee recognition gifts ideas you can present to the winners.

5. Celebrate work anniversaries and birthdays

Grove HR - virtual recognition ideas - birthday announcement

Celebrate with your remote workers on their special days. Make them leave early, announce at meetings, send emails, and have a small song to wish them a happy birthday or work anniversary. 

If you have a large team, forgetting these dates is unavoidable. However, you can use Grove HR to get automated notifications about upcoming birthdays and anniversaries. Plus, it will ping the team on the exact day as well.



Get notifications on co-workers' birthdays on Grove HR


6. A handwritten thank-you note

Yes, we have several applications through which we can send messages to our remote workers. I mean, they’re with their devices for several hours. Well, nothing beats the efforts put in having a thank-you note written and specially dedicated to them. Have this note attached to a custom package or present (e.g. an online gift card) to show more appreciation.

7. Surprise meals or meal coupons

Working from home means there’s little to no time to cook or even order a meal. Surprise your remote workers by sending a coupon with discounts, or better still, have that meal delivered at their doorstep, courtesy of the company.

8. Surprise employees with a custom package

Grove HR - virtual recognition ideas - custom package


Sending packages with the company's logo on them is an ideal way of showing appreciation. It helps them feel connected to your company even though they might be miles away. You can also include some company apparel, mugs, water bottles, and a face mask.




9. Give them a long weekend

Remote workers barely have time to practice any form of self-care - they work round the clock. Giving them that compulsory break they are so unwilling to provide themselves by making Friday a work-free day for them. This way, they get to enjoy a long weekend filled with movie nights, grocery shopping, eight hours of sleep, and energy recharging. 

10. Paid overtime

Suppose your company is working on a project with a pretty close deadline. It is sometimes impossible to complete without having your employees work overtime from home. Compensate them with pay that tallies with the extra efforts and time sacrificed. 

11. Give them access to an online professional development course

Remote employees want to enjoy the satisfaction that comes with being productive – it is a form of self-gratification. According to LORMAN, 86% of millennials would be kept from leaving their current position if training and development were offered by their employer. So for sure, they would be excited about an opportunity to learn professional courses and prompt career growth. 

12. Wellness packages

Show some concern for their mental and physical well-being by sending wellness perks. Send them yoga equipment, a subscription to a meditation app, fruits, and healthy snacks. Include some sanitizers, hand soaps, and face masks.

13. Host virtual games event

Games are a fun way to improve employee engagement and experience peer-to-peer bonding. Schedule virtual game events for your employees and watch them get competitive like never before. 

Grove HR - virtual recognition ideas - Team building activity

Download the 50+ fun team building activities for your remote team


Though you should only schedule these events during work hours. Hosting these events outside work hours, is you dictating what they should do with their free hours, which is bad company culture.

14. Create a virtual wellness program

In the same light of catering for the health of your employees, create a virtual wellness program. Establish daily or weekly goals that they can use to monitor progress.

For example, ensure they do stretches for at least ten minutes daily. To ensure total employee engagement, give rewards to the most dedicated employees.

15. Involve other employees in the process

Do a little bit of collaborative nomination by getting employees to choose who deserves special recognition. Give them a platform to nominate and vote weekly or monthly, and have the remote workers with the highest votes celebrated.

16. OTT Subscription

Let your remote workers know that you care for their free time too by giving them an OTT subscription of their choice. Something they can watch when they take a break. For employees who enjoy watching Netflix, have their next subscription paid for and pitch for them some of the best movies on leadership and management that’ll enhance their self-growth.

17. Face-to-face recognition, virtually

Yes, we know you’re far apart and can’t possibly meet at the office. Well, thanks to technology, you can express your gratitude by placing a video call through to your high-performing remote workers. Use online meeting tools to announce their accomplishments and your excitement for their successful contributions.

18. Write a LinkedIn recommendation

Writing a LinkedIn recommendation is a morale booster for remote workers. Having other high-performers and companies read a recommendation from management is a massive win for your employees. Put a smile on their faces by taking at most ten minutes from your time to write an appealing recommendation. You can also utilize some well-written templates to get started quickly.

19. Organize an online leaderboard

Bring out the competitive side of your employees by keeping the recognition program gamified. Assign points to employees with more achievements and completed tasks and see how it motivates other employees to be extra productive. While being at the top of the leaderboard is a good reward, you should prepare a budget for an actual reward too.

20. Build team spirit virtually

Employees need to feel a connection with each other, no matter how little. Get your virtual team to bond by having them share their breaks. Whenever there’s a lunch break or coffee break, host a meeting to eat, relax, and catch up on  remote working life

Employee recognition begins with you

Showing your remote employees appreciation is not as difficult as you may think. It all depends on your dedication to the success of this course. Recognizing employees is good for business and their well-being, especially mental health and morale.  

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