Any employee working in person during this pandemic deserves a special appreciation. From restaurants to health and medical care, from the tech industry to frontline workers, companies working on site are driving much of our daily needs and future breakthroughs. For this quick article, I’d like to shine a particular light on the biotech industry and their employees – who are creating critically needed and innovative therapies for patients now and for the future — and provide ways to show appreciation for those in-person teams. These ideas can be adapted to really any hybrid in-person, at-home team!
6 Ways To Show Employee Appreciation
With any in-person work right now, safety is the priority. And while providing proper PPE including masks, safety glasses, and hand sanitizer, covers the basics of employee appreciation – take it a step further by making it more like a goodie bag than a uniform. Adding items like company-branded swag, extra sharpies for labeling in the lab, fun pins to jazz up lab coats, and sweet treats like M&Ms, etc anything that might bring a smile to their face!
Additionally, help your team book vaccine appointments! These shots were and still can be difficult to get — so look to form a coalition of people who can check various pharmacy websites throughout the day and night to snag openings and use that as a perk for the employees who are going into the office.
Free Food! (Catered Lunches)
Spyce has had the fortune of catering a lot of office lunches for different biotech companies around Boston. Time and time again we’ve seen everyone, from the co-op to the Senior Scientist, loves free food! To make sure everyone can enjoy this benefit, look for restaurants that can easily accommodate the range of dietary preferences on your team. And to keep everyone safe and socially distanced, it’s important to make sure each meal is individually packed. Gone are the days of the long buffet line.
You can order through specific restaurant websites (supporting local businesses with fewer fees charged to the restaurant) or you can even try out an office food delivery service, like Relish by ezCater or Peach, that rotates through different local restaurants providing employees with different options over the days/weeks
Virtual Happy Hours
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere (dad joke) so might as well celebrate! A way to bond the team while apart can be really helpful to help weather this time. Not all ‘Happy Hours’ need to be booze-filled. You can try out engaging group platforms like Bash, Icebreaker, or Gather. These are much more gamified versions of things like Zoom. I know what you are thinking “another awkward group Zoom convo where only 1 person talks at a time…..” but give these platforms a look. They have breakout rooms, fun prompts and other ways to make interactions feel a little more normal and fun.
Schedule Time For Fun, Make-Up Days And Appreciation:
Many employees have thrown themselves more fully into work to fill the absence left by the lack of activities during COVID-19. While this has contributed to an overall increase in productivity for many technology and science companies during COVID-19, employee burnout is a very real risk. Try bringing more fun into the mix and work in time away from the office/computer for team members. Three ideas here:
- Make-up days. If you have populations of employees doing stressful in-person work or pulling long hours to make tight deadlines, have them schedule make-up time. This could be taking a morning off once a week or even taking every third Wednesday off. A little time away can bring balance, be rejuvenating and help create a culture that promotes psychological safety.
- Save time for fun. Maybe it’s virtual happy hours, a team cooking class, or having your in-person team play some fun social-distant games like cornhole. Get creative and keep looking to spark joy!
- Employee Spotlights and Awards. Being apart, it has seemed harder than ever to do the little things to make your team feel valued. So let’s be thoughtful about it. Schedule an awards ceremony or regular employee spotlight where the selected individual can be recognized for their contribution and who they are. Make it fun and give a gift card to a local restaurant or have them pick the delivered lunch place! And look for little ways to make this more prevalent in the day-to-day. At Spyce, we have a #bravo slack channel where team members can give kudos to their co-workers for things they do.
Feedback, feedback, feedback! You can only serve your team well if you know how they are doing. Pulse surveying provides a quick “pulse” on employee experience. These are brief surveys meant for a monthly or quarterly basis. There are platforms you can use to implement these surveys (15Five, TINYpulse) that have nice tracking and analytics, or you can start with a simple google form and a few good questions. Try to use the 70:20:10 rule: 70% driver or “actionable” items, 20% outcome questions/items, 10% open text questions/items. Check out this article by Qualtrics to dive in more.
This is a little more “fun” than pulse surveys 🙂 Have your team fill out a “Favorites Form” where they can list things like their favorite food, wine/beer, weekend activities, piece of company swag, etc. Then, at a random time, give them a surprise of something you know they will love. Sure, they gave you the idea, but if the employee loves that thing, they won’t care 🙂
Any company that has had to have an in-person component to their business during this pandemic deserves a lot of appreciation. The BioTech industry is one particular tech sector that has had to do this. Finding ways to keep those teams safe and appreciate the individuals for their contributions is paramount to maintain a good culture. At Spyce, we’ve learned many of the lessons above running a restaurant company (that also builds some pretty cool cooking tools). During this pandemic, we’ve had in-person teams in our restaurants and our office that are working hard to create an improved food system. We’ve tested these tactics and had good success! So try them out and if you’re in need of catering feel free to peruse our site 🙂