Showing Appreciation for Remote Employees in a Sustainable Way

Jori Hamilton - Contributing Writer

Posted on Thursday 26th May 2022
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels:

More companies have begun to discover that remote operations are not just practical but beneficial. Alongside boosting productivity and employee satisfaction, it can also be a more sustainable approach to business. However, if you’ve started employing workers based at home, you’ll know there are also distinct challenges. One of these is how to arrange employee recognition.

A strong recognition program can be key to boosting morale and keeping remote workers engaged. However, you certainly don’t want to utilize forms of rewards that damage the environment. Failures in both of these areas can see you losing retention and negating the environmental value remote operations offer. Therefore, it’s wise to establish green yet impactful ways to demonstrate appreciation.

We’re going to run down a few of the sustainable recognition options you should consider implementing in your company.

Sustainable Support

One of your most important ways to demonstrate appreciation for your employees is by providing them with solid support. This is especially vital for remote employees, who can often feel more distant and disconnected from traditional resources. As such, it’s important to offer resources to actively support workers while maintaining high sustainability standards.

This can include regularly giving them access to new tools that make their jobs a little easier. There was a time when companies used to give their employees branded diaries to support good organization. However, personalized digital planners that workers can use on a computer, phone, or tablet are more practical remote tools. While they take the same format as paper planners, they’re more versatile. Not to mention you’re not utilizing non-renewable resources in printing or creating excess packaging waste from delivering it. 

Another key form of appreciative support for remote workers is professional development. This is too often overlooked for those working from home. But it shows you respect their contributions and want to invest in them. Regularly check in with employees and talk about their development goals, both related and unrelated to the business. You can then provide access to relevant e-learning courses and fund their certification exams. This is also more sustainable than subsidizing in-person courses which require workers to utilize gas and generate emissions through traveling.

Green Gifts

Gifts are one of the most common forms of employee recognition. Bottles of wine, electronic devices, and treats have all been standard hallmarks to express appreciation to workers. However, these types of rewards are more practical to achieve within in-person office environments. Not to mention the process of delivering large items to remote workers isn’t always the most sustainable activity. But there are some green gift options available.

This can begin with simple gift certificates. These require no use of resources through printing and can be delivered electronically. However, they can also seem a little impersonal. So it’s important to offer certificates for stores matching your employees’ individual interests. This takes a little more time, but it can be effective in demonstrating genuine care for workers.

Flowers and plants can also make for meaningful gifts. They bring some additional color and positivity into workers’ home office spaces. Not to mention they can enhance your employees’ appreciation for the natural world. However, they do require additional resources to keep alive. It can be more sustainable to utilize preserved plants that are maintenance-free and last much longer than fresh flowers. It can also mean you can provide vibrant out-of-season flowers during the winter months. However, it’s important to ensure these are delivered by couriers using hybrid or electric last mile delivery methods wherever possible.

Remember, providing company-branded swag can make for good recognition gifts for remote workers, too. You can offer them a useful item while also helping them to feel more connected to your business. There is an increasing range of green options here, too. Reusable tote bags, bamboo kitchenware, and even clothes made from recycled materials can be adorned with company logos

Ethical Experiences

Physical gifts and useful resources are great rewards. But they don’t always leave a lasting impression on workers. Among the most valuable ways to demonstrate employee recognition is by providing them with access to fun and fascinating experiences. This also reduces potential waste from traditional gifts once they’ve outlived their usefulness. It’s also great for remote workers. It doesn’t require them to be at the office and provides them some quality time in a new environment.

Take some time to research the eco-tourism amenities in workers’ regions. Many local tourism boards today keep a database of such resources to meet the growing demand. This could include kayaking or rafting in local nature spots, tours with local wildlife reserves, or horseback riding in a national park. Even a gift certificate for a bicycle tour through nearby historical areas can be impactful. 

It may be the case your company budget extends to arranging for your remote team to meet for a relaxing weekend away together. This can be a great reward, but it’s important to make sure you’re utilizing sustainable methods throughout. Identify local green hotels in your intended destination. Wherever possible, arrange for eco-friendly rail travel rather than flights. If workers need to drive to the location, organize carpooling.


Effective employee appreciation programs are essential to maintain worker engagement. For remote workers, it’s important to establish rewards that fit their circumstances and promote sustainability. Provide green methods of support and development, offer gifts that don’t utilize unnecessary resources, and reward workers with sustainable experiences. When you apply a little additional time and effort here, your remote workers, your business, and the planet itself can benefit from positive outcomes.


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