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Don’t Forget Your Remote Employees This Holiday Season

Across the nation, millions of Americans are now working from home at least part of the time. It’s a great perk, and a win-win for both the employee in question and the company they’re working for. The work still gets done, but the employee enjoys an enormous amount of flexibility, and what’s not to like about that?

Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to working from home, one of the largest of which is the sense of isolation. That can be keenly felt over the holidays, because studies have shown that one of the biggest benefits associated with workplace festivities and celebrations over the holidays is the fact that those events fosters a greater sense of belonging, which improves morale and increases productivity.

Of course, those things only hold true if your employees are allowed, or able to participate in them, and sometimes, work-at-home employees get left out of the mix.

In some cases, that’s by design, and in our view, it’s a poor management decision. After all, holiday celebrations are meant to be enjoyed by all, not just by those who punch a clock inside the office on a daily basis. By excluding your work-at-home employees, you only magnify their sense of isolation, which can work against your bottom line in tangible ways.

In other cases though, it’s not a matter of policy, but simply an oversight that causes work-at-home employees to be excluded. The good news is that that’s an easy situation to remedy. It’s just a matter of keeping your eye on the ball and making sure all your employees are taken care of and included, not just the ones you see on a daily basis.

While the particulars vary from one company to the next, broadly speaking, the major events of the holiday season follow the same basic arc and include things like:

  • Some kind of Christmas dinner or party
  • Usually some sort of gift exchange
  • Often some kind of contest or party, during which prizes are awarded and rewards given for recognition of excellent performance over the course of the year now coming to a close

If your off-site employees didn’t get an invitation to last year’s Christmas party, make sure they’re not left out this year. Be sure they’re included in the Secret Santa or similar event your company is hosting, and of course, if you’re giving tokens of appreciation to your employees for a job well done, make sure that the at-home segment of your work force is recognized for their efforts and contributions too.

Everyone likes feeling appreciated. Everybody likes to feel as though they matter, but the simple truth is that for all its flexibility, and for all the advantages inherent in working from home, there are some very real drawbacks too, and those can work against you if you don’t take the time and a bit of extra effort to include that segment of your workforce.

This holiday season, make sure all your employees know how important they are to you. Make sure everybody is included.