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10 Remote Employee Recognition Ideas That Always Work

Kate Williams

Last Updated:  

31 May 2024

5 min read

It costs nothing to say ‘thank you’. Yet this simple act has a huge impact on employee morale; for remote staff, the need is even more crucial. This is why you need a lineup of easy yet effective remote employee recognition ideas.

How do you show appreciation to employees remotely?

While remote work has perks such as reduced (or zero) travel times, it also sheds light on other facts.

  • 43% of remote employees take three weeks or less of paid vacation per year.
  • 22% of remote employees report that unplugging after work is their biggest challenge.
  • Remote workers can be 20 to 25% more productive than their onsite colleagues.

Remote employees are just as vital as office employees to your company’s growth. That being said, how do you keep your remote employee morale on an all-time high? How do you ensure that the staff is motivated, even without face-to-face interaction? The answer lies in employee recognition.

10 remote employee recognition ideas for 2022 (and beyond)

There are plenty of virtual recognition ideas that recognize the hard work put in by your telecommuting team members. For this article, we have handpicked the top ten ideas for rewarding remote employees that will do the trick – and won’t stretch your budget beyond a certain point.

1. Curated e-gifts

It is a given that you can’t be physically present to honor your team members. Similarly, delivering gifts to them in person is a no-no right now due to the uncertainty that’s looming large. In this case, how do you show remote employees you care?

Remember, each of the employees will have a different set of preferences and dislikes. So, offering them a gift that they have no use for will be a sure-shot dud.

The best solution here is to opt for e-gifts that are curated according to their tastes and hobbies. Think of audiobook subscriptions, online gaming subscriptions, music and podcast subscriptions, and so on.

There are so many options to choose from. All you’ve got to do is take your pick. SnackNation has a list of excellent sources for curated gift boxes, and Etsy has affordable options as well.

2. Drop a gift card in their inbox

One of the best virtual thank you ideas is a surprise gift card. This is a great remote employee recognition idea as some of the cards have extended expiry dates. Moreover, you can purchase them in bulk, and send one to an employee every time they achieve a new milestone.

Some of the most popular brands like Amazon and iTunes offer gift cards priced at different rates, which you can opt for. These are tiny appreciation measures that will go a long way in sealing the deal when it comes to recognizing their efforts at work.

3. Get creative with videos

So you can’t thank a remote employee in person. Why not send them a video?

Videos are thoughtful rewards that are easy to create but work magic. There’s a plethora of free video creation and editing apps like Canva, Lumen5 and Ripl to record videos, edit and share in team channels in a jiffy.

The best part about this idea is that you can also share the videos on social media platforms. This will help you gain visibility for your company culture, and attract the talent you need to grow.

4. Monthly/weekly appreciation awards

As some countries are still reeling under the after-effects of the pandemic, there is no surety about how and when employees will return to their office desks. This is where weekly, monthly, or even quarterly appreciation awards can come handy. The reasons are aplenty –

  • It is something that will engage the employees with a mission
  • There will be something to look forward to every month.
  • A certificate for the awards will lend credibility to the work done.
  • Everyone will be aligned to achieve excellence.

Here’s a tip: come up with creative names for the awards and it will bring cheer to the entire team. Think along the lines of – ‘Rising Star’, ‘Consistent Performer’, ‘Tireless Marathoner’…and so on!

5. Give a shoutout on LinkedIn

Have you tried out LinkedIn’s Kudos feature? It is an inventive way to show appreciation for your team members and can be given by one peer to another.

This open acknowledgment of a job well done is valuable for the recipient and can boost the morale of the employees. Try the feature here and see how it works for you!

6. Shoutout on other social channels

While you are at it, why stop with LinkedIn? Create appreciation posts, add some bells and whistles to them and that’s it. You will be all set to publicly recognize the efforts of your employees’ hard work.

Make the most of Facebook and Instagram stories, get creative with filters, add some music, and do whatever it takes to jazz it up. As remote employee recognition ideas, they cost next to zero to create and implement.

7. Claps, claps, claps

Acknowledging good work in front of everyone in the team also belongs to remote employee recognition ideas that you must try. Whether it is your daily huddle or weekend virtual conferences, mention the employee who has done something noteworthy and clap for them.

This exercise in exposing the great work done by the individual will also inspire others. Another way to show this type of appreciation is to indulge in a little performance by the entire team. Make them sing a special song to laud the colleague or maybe ask them to break into an impromptu dance. You get the drift, right?

8. Let them indulge in wellness

Health and wellness are trending topics, which go hand-in-hand with remote work. This is exactly the reason why you need to focus on self-care activities for your employees.

As a token of your appreciation towards them, give them free coupons to activities and seminars that allow them to take care of their wellbeing. For instance, give them free passes to an online musical event, or yoga-at-home sessions. This takes us to the next point.

9. Give them time off

Let’s face it. Most remote workers are juggling work and tasks at home. Some of them are stretching their regular working hours. Many times, due to technical snags, they have to take quick action, which may or may not take up their time. In the long run, this can lead to burnout and frustration.

As an empathetic employer, put yourself in their shoes and show them that you care by giving them some time off from work. Encourage them to take a day or two off from work during the week by giving them advance notice. Draft a nice email that comes as a beautiful surprise the moment they open it.

10. Peer-to-peer employee recognition

Last but not the least, go for a virtual peer-to-peer recognition program or tools like Kudos. This can be implemented by asking the employees to post appreciation for their colleagues on a common portal where everyone can see it. This can be done anonymously as well through 360 degree surveys.

At SurveySparrow, we also have a points-based system where employees can award each other points. These points can be later redeemed for a gift card, certificate or any other form of reward to be selected from the portal (or from a list for that matter).

Bonus: Recognize their efforts in the newsletter

If you have a company newsletter or bulletin, you can use it as a medium to recognize deserving employees. Sometimes, these newsletters are not just circulated internally, but also sent to clients or published on the website. This will give them the perfect platform to gain recognition.


When COVID hit the world, lots of organizations sent their staff home, making them work from remote locations for an indefinite time. This overnight change started becoming what people labeled as the ‘New Normal’ and we know for sure that it is going to influence the future of work as well.

There is no doubt about the fact that rewards go the extra mile when it comes to employee engagement. When they are all working alone, managing personal and professional chores, it is the recognition that keeps them afloat. The ideas that you implement will also help retain your top talent even after the pandemic becomes a distant memory.

While these were our top ten ideas, don’t just restrict yourself to these. You can always use the Employee Incentive Questionnaire to ask your staff for remote employee recognition ideas. You may never know which step might permanently become a part of your company culture! Create a free account to give it a try.

Kate Williams

Product Marketing Manager at SurveySparrow

Excels in empowering visionary companies through storytelling and strategic go-to-market planning. With extensive experience in product marketing and customer experience management, she is an accomplished author, podcast host, and mentor, sharing her expertise across diverse platforms and audiences.

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