Updated: Mar 7, 2022
The first Friday in March is Employee Appreciation Day. If, like us, you appreciate your employees every day, it's a chance to make an extra fuss of the people who keep the metaphorical wheels turning, and maybe encourage your team to appreciate their colleagues too. You can never have too much appreciation! Well, we don't think so anyway.
We’ve put together 30 ways to show you care and appreciate your employees on Employee Appreciation Day and beyond!
1. Team meal
Breakfast, lunch, dinner… in the staff room, at a posh restaurant…
Whatever your business and budget can manage, team meals are great way to get everyone together for a relaxed hour or two. Employees will appreciate the freebie as well as the chance for some down time to get to know each other without their work getting in the way.
2. Restaurant vouchers for remote workers
If some or all of your team work remotely and it’s not possible to get everyone together for a meal, they don’t need to be left out. Send them a voucher for a restaurant they enjoy near them, or for a takeaway service, so they can enjoy a free meal too.
3. Early finish
Who doesn’t appreciate going home early? If you can, give everyone an early finish – you could stagger it over a week or month if it’s not possible to let everyone go early the same day. Be as generous as you can with how early they can go. 5 minutes before the end of a shift, whilst appreciated, won’t make a huge impact, but a whole afternoon off would be a great bonus.
4. Extended lunch
Many of us can be a big foggy-headed after lunch anyway… Encourage your employees to take an extended lunch to go for a walk, read a book, practice some mindfulness or even have a nap! They’ll come back feeling completely refreshed and ready for the rest of the day.
5. Wellbeing day
If you appreciate your employees, you want them to be healthy, right? Why not help look after their health and wellbeing by getting some experts in to hold mini health consultations, nutrition talks or mindfulness workshops.
6. Desk massages
Many massage clinics will come to your workplace to offer massages to your team. You can usually choose how long the massages will be – from around 15 minutes to an hour, and whether they’re seated or lying down. They can even be done whilst your employees are sitting at their desks!
7. Team activity day
Close the office for the day and take your team on an adventure. There are so many options for team activity days, from raft building, to escape rooms, to murder mysteries and cooking classes.
Get feedback from your team about what they’d like to do and treat them all to a day out. Your team will have an opportunity to bond, as well as improving their communication and team working with certain activities.
8. Thank you cards
There’s nothing more personal than a hand written thank you card. Take some time to think about each member of your team and what specifically you appreciate about them.
Does their sunny disposition light up the office? Do they unfalteringly meet their deadlines? Do they always do the washing up? Have they risen well to a new challenge? Whatever it is, big or small, there’s always something to appreciate about everyone. You don’t have to write reams of gushing text, just a couple of lines is usually enough.
9. Appreciation wall
Dedicate a wall or notice board to appreciation. Encourage your team to write notes giving credit to each other when they appreciate something someone’s done. This could work long term, and perhaps the person with the most notes at the end of the month or year could be awarded a prize.
10. Thank you party
Whether it’s in the office at lunch time, or in a swanky ballroom one evening, a party is a great way to really make a splash and create an air of celebration.
Put up some banners and balloons, dish out some party poppers and party food, put on a party playlist and let your team let their hair down.
11. Fun day
Could you hold a fun day at your workplace?
Create opportunities for fun throughout the day – depending on your budget, you could use the board room as a ping pong table and have a tournament, get some smoothie bikes hooked up to a video game, have a lunchtime football match between departments, hire some fairground rides and a candy floss van, Put the boss in some stocks and let employees throw wet sponges at them…
The possibilities are endless!
12. Free travel
Many employees have already paid out by the time they arrive at work, just to get there. Whether it’s just of a day, a week, or longer, offer to reimburse your employee’s travel costs to work so they can all start on a even footing.
13. Be their assistant for a day
If you’re the boss, a manager, a supervisor, or team leader, why not offer your services to the team and be their assistant for the day. You can make all the tea, get through the pile of filing and photocopying, empty the bins, and whatever your team ask you to do to help them.
They’ll appreciate the extra help and might just get a kick out of bossing their boss around.
14. Lie in vouchers
We all have those mornings when getting up feels like the hardest thing in the world. Give your employees lie in vouchers allowing them to come into work a couple of hours late when they need it.
You can specify that it needs to be prearranged if necessary, but otherwise allow them free rein to invoke the lie in voucher on those difficult mornings when they need it most.
15. Movie night/afternoon
Turn a meeting room into a cinema, get some popcorn and drinks, ask your team what films they’re interested in seeing and have your own movie screening.
You’ll need a licence to screen films at work, and the cost depends on how many films you’re screening and how many times.
Alternatively, you could take the team out to the cinema – some cinemas will let you hire out a screen so you’ll have it all to yourselves.
16. Spend a day in another department
Maybe someone in your sales team has always wondered what Finance do, or someone in Marketing thinks they might be interested in HR. Help your employees expand their knowledge of the business by spending a day in another department of their choice to learn the basics.
It might help them identify where their real passion lies if they’re not sure about their current role, or give an insight into how the wider business functions, making them better at what they do. It can also help form bonds across departments and make processes run more smoothly.
17. Make a budget & let them choose
It’s nice to feel in control – if you’ve got a budget in mind to do something fun or different for your team – let them know what it is and let them choose how to spend it. If it’s something they really want they’re likely to appreciate it more.
18. Have an awards ceremony
Everyone loves being recognised – recognise their achievements in front of their colleagues, and hand out medals or trophies celebrating those who’ve really put in the effort or been amazing team players.
19. Appreciate them publicly
Sing your employees’ praises from the rooftops – or at least on social media. Show your customers and clients what a fantastic team you have and share a photo or employee profiles highlighting your team’s strengths.
Make sure you get permission to share photos of your employees – some will appreciate the publicity but others might not be so keen.
20. Wall of fame
Introduce a wall of fame for showcasing photos of employees who’ve done something really special and gone above and beyond. It helps show a lasting recognition of what they’ve done, as well as showing the rest of the team what’s possible and what is really appreciated by the company.
21. Offer learning opportunities
Appreciating your employees fully means helping them grow. Offer opportunities for personal and professional development – from allowing them to do free online courses during work hours, to paying for professional development courses or even contributing to university fees.
Showing an interest in seeing your employees develop their knowledge and skills will show they how valued they are, and how much you want to see them succeed.
22. Create a dedicated space for downtime
Look at the facilities you already have for break areas – do you have any or are they as good as they could be?
Make sure you have somewhere comfortable for your employees to go at lunch time and if they need a break. Involve your team in decisions about décor and choice of seating to be sure the end result is appreciated and fulfils their needs.
23. Celebrate external achievements
Employees have lives outside of work, and may of them do amazing things in their free time. Find out what your team are working towards outside work – are they training for a marathon? Are they rehearsing for a play? Do they volunteer for a local charity or run their own cupcake business on the side?
Show an interest and celebrate and promote their external pursuits and achievements, and appreciate the whole person, not just the employee.
24. Start a suggestions scheme
Be it a box with paper cards, and online form, or carrier pigeons, a suggestions scheme is a great way to get your employees’ voices heard.
Make sure to acknowledge each suggestion, and follow up with a response. Even if you’ve not been able to implement it, your employee will appreciate hearing why it’s not been possible and that you took the time to consider it.
You could offer incentives for good suggestions that the company implements to really inspire some creativity.
25. Remind them of wider impact
Most jobs have an element of monotony, and it can be easy to forget the big picture when you’re sat behind a computer all day staring at numbers. Remind your employees of all the positive impacts the company is having on the community and the wider world, that they are contributing to by being there. Who does your company help? How does it help them? What difference does it make to people? Share that knowledge and so how the work your employees jointly do is appreciated beyond the company.
26. Give time out to volunteer
Doing things for others makes us feel good. Allow your employees some time out to volunteer for a charity or good cause.
You could arrange a team day out litter picking, or gardening in the local community, or create links with a chosen charity and let your team use their skills to help. You could leave it open to your team and let them each pick a cause and organise a day’s volunteering themselves.
If you’ve the resources, perhaps you could put together a small group to go abroad for a week or two to volunteer helping struggling communities or environmental projects.
27. Furry friends at work
If your team like animals, why not arrange a bring your pet to work day? Alternatively, there are companies that can bring puppies, kittens and other animals into your workplace for your team to play with. Stroking animals is linked to stress relief, so it’s bound to put a smile on people’s faces.
28. Hold specialist workshops
Think about your team’s needs and search for specialist workshops that could help them. Perhaps a workshop on financial wellbeing and budgeting or pensions would suit your group, or a stress and resilience workshop would be more helpful. Perhaps your line managers would appreciate some training about managing stress in their employees, or you want to help your team find ways to communicate and understand each other better. Talk to your team and find out what they’d like to know more about and plan a morning to get a specialist in to work with the team as a whole.
29. Introduce a happy hour
Weekly, monthly or just as a one off – if you had an hour to make your employees happy, what would you do? Put on the answerphone, give everyone free mocktails and dance the macarena? Down tools and nip to the park for a game of rounders? Hire a posh food van to pull up in the car park and some Face-in-the-Hole boards for some fun photo opportunities? A big box of lego and an hour to play?
A brief burst of joy can be invigorating and recharge your team for a productive afternoon, as well as giving them fun memories to look back on.
30. Start an employee happiness committee
Ask for volunteers across all departments and form an employee happiness committee that represents your business. Set aside a budget for the EHC to spend on happiness inducing activities for the whole team and allow time for them to meet every month. Handing the responsibility and decision making over to your employees gives them some autonomy, inspires creativity and means you can be confident that the money is being spent on what your team really wants. Free Health Promotion Resources: Be the first to receive Health Chatter information, and other content related to employee health and wellbeing by signing up to our Health Chatter emails.