The word sanitize has become part of our everyday vocabulary. Unfortunately, social distancing guidelines have also sanitized our interpersonal relationships. “Social glue” interactions, such as a reassuring clap on the shoulder after a meeting or an encouraging word in the hallway, simply don’t occur anymore.

That does not absolve a leader of the responsibility to support their team. You can use these five ways to convey your appreciation and support to a remote workforce.

  • Professional Development. Money spent on your team’s professional development and training is not an expense but an investment. Employees themselves are especially receptive to such an incentive because it is not a fleeting moment of enjoyment but an opportunity to add a permanent feather to their cap. Professional development can take the form of formal courses, seminars, and memberships or subscriptions to relevant apps and websites.
  • Trust. Trust is perhaps the most valuable commodity any of us can share; including someone in your decision-making circle is an expression of appreciation beyond parallel. It tells them that you do not just appreciate their value in their individual role but also in the capacity of a thinker and planner. Remember, of course, to only extend such trust to those who have proven themselves truly worthy of the responsibility.
  • Real Time Off. Our workplaces had already begun to follow us home with our smartphones before the lockdown but now, when homes have become workplaces, it’s worse. Most employees are uncomfortable with truly detaching from work for fear of missing information and appearing incompetent. You can show your appreciation with suggested activities that will actually pry them away from their devices and allow them some genuine time away from work.
  • Gifts. Who isn’t delighted by a gift out of the blue? They don’t have to be lavish or extravagant. It does help, though, if they are personalized. Practical objects like coffee or travel mugs are perfect. In keeping with the theme of remote work, tech gadgets like computer mice and laptop stands also work well. Some companies add their branding on gifts to get a marketing boost from the exercise.
  • Quality Time. Face time may not be possible in the current scenario but leaders still have to create opportunities to connect with team members. Rather than allocate a block of time to someone based on your schedule, have them suggest one that is convenient for them. Perhaps individual phone calls or a group videoconference may work better. Whichever method you choose, invest yourself in the interaction – it will show the depth of your appreciation.

Are you looking for more ways to manage your team during the Covid-19 pandemic? Please visit the Leadership section of my blog for a collection of articles or contact me today.