Employee Appreciation Day ideas that will make their day
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8 last-minute Employee Appreciation Day ideas that will make their day

Read this article for inspo on employee appreciation ideas that are perfect for in-person and remote teams.
Erin Fry

Erin Fry,

Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day can help build morale and a company culture centered on the employee experience. After all, recognition and gratitude are key to keeping employees happy and engaged!

Keep reading for 8 ideas to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day that are easy to implement for in-person and remote associates as we near the holiday. 

Idea #1: Use your internal communication tactics to recognize your team

Whether you have an intranet, internal email, a tool like Slack, or a whiteboard where you like to put up kudos, start Employee Appreciation Day off with a note of appreciation! We also recommend using these tools to communicate any celebrations planned for the day. 

Based on your technology capabilities, consider encouraging employees to recognize one another. While it’s great to be thanked by your company or leadership team, specific recognition from those you work with daily can help people feel more valued and seen. 

Creating a space inside your comms tools for regular shoutouts and recognition is a great way to encourage a culture of positivity. It's nice to be recognized and celebrated for the work you're doing. You get what you give and your appreciation goes a long way in showing employees that you care.

Idea #2: Write a handwritten thank you note

If you want to take idea #1 one step further, show your employees you value them by writing a personalized, handwritten thank you note. A handwritten note holds more weight because of the time and effort it takes to create. 

Ask managers to write thoughtful notes that can be dropped off at the desks for in-person reports or sent in the mail for those who work remotely. If you have a smaller team, consider asking leadership to write notes to everyone or at least the folks they don’t get to interact with daily. It always feels good to be recognized by the people at the top! 

Idea #3: Send them a gift

Employee Appreciation Day is an excellent opportunity to surprise and delight your team with a gift. Common corporate gift options include branded items such as clothing, drinkware, and remote work gifts. While these options are ok, you risk delivering items that don’t fit, won’t be used, or aren’t needed. This means a ton of waste, you're basically lighting your money on fire.

A good alternative is to leverage a corporate gifting solution like Loop & Tie, where employees can select a gift they want or gift-it-forward to a charity of their choice. Loop & Tie is also a great solution for last-minute gifting for both in-office and remote associates, as you can send or schedule your gifts within minutes.

Here’s how it works:

1. Select a gift collection based on your budget (starting at $25!)

2. Design and personalize your gift experience

3. Upload your employees’ email addresses and send the gift invitation

Once you send your unique gifts, we will take care of the rest! In your dashboard, you’ll see gift engagement, redemptions, and thank you notes. Plus, you’ll see your gifts' positive impact on the environment through our support of regenerative agriculture programs.

*Tie Tip: Sign up free and send gifts in 5 minutes

Idea #4: Plan a team activity

Help your team members bond by planning a team activity! The activity can take people away from the office, happen at your office, or be hosted virtually. Regardless of where it happens, ensure it’s an activity everyone can participate in regardless of location and physical abilities. 

In-person employees: Some ideas for in-person teams include escape rooms, bowling, watching a movie, playing board games, taking a cooking or art class, or visiting a museum.

Remote associates: If you’re looking for ways to engage remote associates with an activity, consider playing virtual games. My favorites are a scavenger hunt for items commonly found at home and jackbox.tv

Idea #5: Host a wellness hour

It’s common for companies to host happy hours to celebrate different occasions, but that can alienate those who choose not to drink. That’s why we recommend hosting a wellness hour. The best part? It can be at any time of the day.

In-person employees: Your wellness hour could include healthy snacks, space to meditate or stretch, coloring and puzzle stations, nap pods, and soothing music. If you have the time and budget, you could also bring in a massage therapist to give quick neck massages. 

Remote associates: Encourage them to take time to do something that boosts their wellness and consider sending them a care package! Make it easier on yourself by letting them pick a wellness-themed gift from our Morning Rituals or Unwind gift collections.

Idea #6: Bring in a meal to share

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like free food, especially in the workplace. To celebrate Employee Appreciation Day, consider bringing in breakfast or lunch (or both!)! If you can, have your in-person and remote meals support locally-owned restaurants where your purchases have a greater impact.

In-person employees: Keep in mind any allergies or preferences team members have so everyone can enjoy the meal. Also, make sure you order enough so everyone leaves full. There’s nothing worse than being restricted to 1 slice of pizza or running out before everyone has had a chance to get food. 

Remote associates: If you have a team of remote associates, you can reimburse meals for the day or provide them with a gift card for meal delivery services. Make sure you know what is available in their area if you purchase a gift card for a meal delivery service!

Idea #7: Give out team awards

In a previous role, I organized an end-of-the-year Dundies-style award ceremony where everyone received at least one award. Team members nominated each other for individual and group awards. Everything from “moved desks the most” to “ignores StrengthsFinder results and instead sorts you in Hogwarts Houses” awards were given out.

Whether fun or serious, Employee Appreciation Day could be a great time to engage team members with an awards ceremony. Make it easier on yourself by having employees nominate each other for awards and then whip up a presentation to announce them. If you’re hosting the ceremony in person, make sure there’s a way to video in so remote associates are included and don’t miss out. You’ll win extra points if you supply treats for everyone for the event.

Idea #8: Give extra paid time or volunteer time off

In recent years, people have prioritized their lives outside work more. We’ve seen people leave jobs in search of ones that offer better work/life balance. We’ve seen more posts on LinkedIn about escaping the hustle and grind culture behind in favor of pursuing hobbies and spending time with loved ones. 

Help show your employees you value their time, families, and hobbies by giving them extra paid or volunteer time off. While you can offer this up for Employee Appreciation Day, you could also grant your team members some flexibility and encourage them to use that extra time when it works best in their schedule by the end of the month, quarter, or year.

We hope this list of ideas inspires your plans for Employee Appreciation Day and your ongoing employee engagement programs. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate, we hope 2023 is a year of boosted morale, connection, and retention.

If you’re ready to get started with employee recognition gifts, send gifts today by signing up for a free account.

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