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Build stronger connections with remote workers through recognition programs

Employee reward recognition programs may make it easier to oversee virtual workers. These programs provide the tools managers need to motivate employees and help build connections that encourage cooperation and improve team efficiency.

New technologies allow companies to give employees more flexibility with their work schedules. Telecommuting and virtual workforces allow businesses to increase productivity while increasing employee satisfaction. However, it can be difficult to manage remote staff members effectively.

Employee reward recognition programs may make it easier to oversee virtual workers. These programs provide the tools managers need to motivate employees and help build connections that encourage cooperation and improve team efficiency. A survey by TrackVia found that 40 percent of workers have worked with someone they have never met for an extended period of time. This reality can lead to confusion and mistakes if communication is not carefully controlled.

Employees prefer face-to-face communication
Reward programs allow companies to stress the importance of strong communication skills and create channels for regular feedback on achieving company goals. The method managers use to offer advice and acknowledge success can be essential to building a cohesive company environment. Even though many employees enjoy working from home, 69 percent of respondents said they preferred getting positive feedback in face-to-face communications. This also correlated with sharing negative news, with 63 percent of workers noting a preference for personal discussion when it came to receiving bad news.

"When it comes to increasing workplace productivity, it's clear that tools like email and instant messaging help, but don't replace personal collaboration," said Charles Var, vice president of marketing for TrackVia, which conducted the research. "Context also matters as people's preference for communication appears to change based on what they're doing."

Face-to-face communication is often an invaluable part of the success of reward and recognition programs. The Miami Herald notes that remote workers can often feel "out of the loop," making it difficult for them to stay atop of the latest company news or work closely with others. Taking the time to publicly recognize individuals for their commitment, or for a specific accomplishment, helps build connections that are often missing when employees work from home regularly.

Public recognition allows all staff members to feel like part of the team and creates shared goals that improve cooperation. The act of acknowledging hard work will generate results for programs and keep office morale high. When combined with personalized feedback on performance this helps boost productivity and efficiency. Businesses that have a lot of virtual workers may consider having occasional team building events as part of their efforts to improve communication.

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