Celebrating Success with Remote Teams

, Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

After deploying a site, finishing a project, figuring out a better approach, overcoming hurdles, etc it’s nice to celebrate that success. Sometimes it is hard enough to find time and figure out how to celebrate with in-house employees, but celebrating the success with remote employees is even more difficult.   Since remote employees aren’t able to participate in most of the company events, it is important to figure out ways to celebrate the successes with them.  Here are some approaches that have worked for us or that we plan to start implementing:

  • Schedule the celebration outing when remote employees are in town. Even if that means postponing the launch party or happy hour for a month or two, if the remote employee(s) was a core part of your team, it’s worth it to wait.  Having the launch party without them would seem incomplete anyway!
  • If you can’t include the remote employees in a celebration, thank them in other ways.  If there is no way to have them celebrate with you, then figure out another way to thank them.  Getting them a gift certificate or some other gift is a nice way to show your appreciation for their work.
  • Personalize the thank you.  If you want to celebrate with some sort of thank you gift, such as a gift certificate, food or item, get to know first what the team members might like!  I remember being on a team that worked long hours over months to get a site deployed. The owners of the company gave us a thank you gift that was well-meant but not personalized – they gave each of us a bottle of Dom Perignon, but if they had gotten to know everyone on the team first, they would have known that most of the team didn’t drink alcohol!  Spending a few minutes to find out what the team members might like, whether it’s talking to them directly, to their team members or friends, is worth it to know the gift will be the right one for that person.
  • Chotchkies? yes!   After talking to one of our remote employees, they changed my mind about chotchkies.  They mentioned how it’s nice to get a project-based chotchkie after each launch of a big project. In their remote space, they can designate an area to put all those chotchkies and it reminds them of all the project work they have done and all the cool teams they have been a part of.  I used to think they were useless, but thinking back, I had fun with some of those chotchkies and even have kept some over the years.  That’s not something we are currently doing at Beaconfire, but I think it’s worth looking into.

I’d love to hear more ideas on ways you have successfully celebrated successes with remote team members, or if you work remotely, what you have really appreciated.

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