How to Include Your Mobile Workforce in Office Holiday Activities

December 7, 2018

The mobile workforce continues to grow, with 70% of people reporting that they work away from the office at least one day a week and over 50% spending at least half their week working out of the office, according to a study by IWG. Chances are your organization has some remote employees. With the holidays upon us, it may not be feasible to include these valued team members in celebrations and other holiday-related activities on site. With a little creativity, it is possible to make sure that their still able to feel that important connection to work that is so vital to maintaining satisfaction and engagement.

Holiday Charity Drives

While everyone loves a fun holiday party, the holidays are a great opportunity to drive a sense of community in the workplace. Nothing brings people together better than helping others, and many organizations participate in holiday giving. Corporate philanthropy is proven to build a culture that maintains engagement. Employees of companies that participate in some type of holiday giving are 22% more likely to believe that their company has a clear purpose and are 50% more likely to express support for corporate values, according to Entrepreneur. From canned food drives, to volunteering at a giving event or participating in a sponsorship like Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, there are endless ways to involve on-site employees in holiday giving. For remote employees, there is a chance of feeling left out unless employers think creatively of ways to include them.

If a company decides to adopt a few (or many) families to support over the holidays, lists could be made available online so it’s easier for remote employees to participate. An organization might want to cover the cost of shipping a gift to the main office so that the employee has the satisfaction of donating something tangible. Employers might consider giving remote employees some dedicated time off for holiday volunteering or offer to match a donation that an employee makes to a local cause, extending the corporate philanthropy to the employee’s own community. Daymaker is an example of a technology driven platform that connects corporations with over 60 non-profits. The solution includes a branded corporate giving page that shares details so that employees can feel a more personal connection to the individuals they and their employer are supporting. Digital giving platforms are an easy way to connect remote employees with corporate giving.

Remote Employees and the Office Holiday Party

Depending on the size of the company and the location and number of remote workers, some organizations may consider covering the cost to bring remote workers onsite to the annual office party. For the majority of companies, the logistics and expense make that an unrealistic endeavor. Fortunately, the same technology that has given rise to a remote workforce can also make it easier to help these employees feel part of the holiday festivities. SHRM suggests using conferencing technology to bring employees together and celebrate individual contributions and team success. Virtual holiday parties can be fun when they include games that connect those on and off site such as office bingo, Pictionary or charades, as well as ugly sweater contests. Gift cards to a local restaurant or a check to cover drinks and a night out are also ways to share holiday cheer with employees who can’t attend an on-site office party. Organizations that take the time to make sure remote employees don’t feel forgotten are better able to maintain strong connections that foster engagement.  

Gifts for Remote Employees

Secret Santa, white elephant and other holiday office gift exchange traditions can and should be modified to include remote workers. Simply include their names in the exchange and give them the opportunity to ship a gift in time for the fun. For employees who are not able to be present for gift exchange parties, consider putting together a care package with all the same party favors and a few extras can be opened during a video call. Some employers send gift cards and ask employees to share a photo or description of how the gift was used. Recipe exchanges are another holiday office tradition that can easily be made virtual. Experience gifts can be a great option for remote workers, are especially popular with younger generations of workers and have been proven to increase engagement.

Creative Management of a Mobile Workforce

Managing and maintaining engagement of today’s growing remote workforce can be a challenge during the holidays and throughout the year. Asure Software partners with organizations to improve the productivity of remote workers and supports every facet of managing a modern workspace.