11 Virtual Employee Appreciation Day Ideas to WOW Your Team
Gratitude, it’s not just something that your therapist tells you to write out in a journal. Expressing appreciation is essential to motivating your team and with Employee Appreciation day right around the corner we have some epic ideas of how you can do just that!
A simple thank you goes a long way. You can take it back to the basics with a handwritten thank-you note or spice it up with a social media shoutout. I mean really who doesn’t want their 15 minutes- okay maybe 15 seconds- of fame? Post an Instagram story, in-feed post, or even a LinkedIn recommendation. Not only will this boost morale but it will also make your team look better in the professional world. Remember appreciation isn’t reserved for just one day, try to make it a regular on the schedule with employee shoutouts and “crush-it calls” during weekly meetings. Even consider shouting out employee’s hard work in your slack channels; after all a little goes a long way!
Speaking of 15 minutes of fame, give your employees the spotlight they deserve with an awards show. Complete with personalized superlatives, mini trophies, and even a short speech, this event screams gratitude. You can have your team vote on superlatives like “best office hype man” or designate awards yourself like “highest sales”. Whatever you do just make sure there’s a great playlist to get your team hype.
Let’s Get Personal
Joe’s been dying to unleash his inner Jimi Hendrix with some guitar lessons and Luna desperately needs to escape the chaos of her three kids with a trip to the spa. Personalizing gifts not only shows that you pay attention but also gives tons of conversation fuel for the next corporate happy hour. But don’t stop there, you don’t just have to limit yourself to personalized gifts to your staff. You can also experiment with creating rewards that correlate with the company’s story. Perhaps a trip to where your company all started is the perfect way to raise team spirits. If you’re not as familiar with your crew, no worries, random raffles are always a hit, especially with big prizes like massages and flight tickets that align with the company’s brand.
Bring Your Pet to Work
You’ve heard about Linda’s cats long enough; isn’t it about time you met Mr. Snuggles? Whether you're a dog, cat, or even a dreaded snake person, this is the perfect way to show appreciation and meet some new furry faces. At the next meeting embraced the quirks of zoom and encourage your team to bring their pets. The best part? You don’t even have to worry about allergies because you can meet everyone’s four-legged friends remotely. Whether they want to dress up Fiko or keep Basilisk in the cage, that’s up to them. Either way, they’ll be thankful you took the time to let them show off something important to them. If you want to go above and beyond you can even mail out packages ahead of team, complete with treats for both the pups and pals.
“Get smart,” it’s not just an iconic movie- well I guess its icon status is debatable. Provide some learning opportunities to not only better your company but also your employees. It’s easy to feel stuck during these “unprecedented times” so help an employee out with some much-needed growth. You can hire someone to teach a class or have each staff member take turns sharing an interest. This way it’s also a bonding opportunity. While some may choose to focus on skills that are related to the company, you can also focus on a hobby. After all, who doesn’t want to know how to make an epic craft cocktail?
Lunch on Me (well you)
Let’s be real, we’ve all passed the “taking time to better yourself” phase of quarantine. The meal prepping and Chloe Ting workouts lay discarded in the corner of your room right next to the skinny jeans that you’ve traded in for sweatpants. So maybe home-cooking is out of the question, but we all know the way to anyone’s heart is through food. And that’s why treating your employees to lunch is the perfect gift. So break out the big guns and treat them to their go-to chipotle order or send an edible arrangement. This is especially great during the pandemic because you can take this time to support local businesses by sending out gift cards to your employee’s favorite spots.
We already discussed the importance of personalized gifts, but it can be easy to get stuck when brainstorming ideas. Sure, you and Jared talk every morning over coffee, but when it comes to his interest beyond the paper headlines and morning weather your mind goes dryer than the Sahara. No worries, personalized caricatures are perfect for everyone and you don’t have to worry about gifts being uneven. Not only is sending out caricatures of your employees beyond funny and quirky, but it’s the perfect way to decorate the office! I mean who doesn’t want to see a bobblehead version of your boss?
8. Go Green
Honestly, everyone could use a hug from a Benjamin Franklin. I mean I’d settle for an Andrew Jackson right about now. Whether they use it for a greasy McDonald’s lunch, their kid’s orthodontist bill, or splurge on some earrings they’ve been eyeing, giving your employees the option and a little financial breathing room will definitely be appreciated. Extra perks if it comes in a funny card with a personalized note!
And now it’s time for our absolute favorite way to show team appreciation…an offsite. I mean are you really surprised it’s literally in the name. Team retreats give you a chance to bond with your employees outside of the work environment while also showing them a cool place and giving them memories to last a lifetime. I mean when’s the last time they went clear-kayaking in the Caribbeans or ax-throwing on a western ranch?
So maybe traveling is not the best option for your team. No worries, you can still reward them with a little time off for a staycation. Weeks in front a computer screen tend to drag on so break up some of the monotony with some time away. Whether they catch up on the Bachelorette or force their kids to have a family bonding day, it’s up to them. If you wanna go above and beyond you can even send treats that make it feel like a retreat. Consider sending a spa care package (complete with bath salts, candles, the works) or a bottle from your favorite winery. Or take some advice from LinkedIn’s LiftUp! program, and provide your employee with a RestUp! Week. After all, time off to recharge is what everybody needs right about now!
11. Plan a Virtual Event
So offsites may take the cake as our favorite way to show employee appreciation, but team bonding events are a close second! Establishing a sense of community is essential in making your employees feel valued. And what better way to do just that than with bonding events? Happy Hour, cooking classes, game nights, you name it, it’s probably on our lists of epic events. Plan it yourself or let us help you! Can you really go wrong with a virtual escape room or lipsync karaoke?
Bonus: Wellness Program
As we mentioned earlier, it’s essential to implement employee appreciation in your regular work schedule; one day a year simply won’t cut it. Setting up a wellness program can help you do just that. Implementing goals like fitness challenges and weekly meditation settings will help your team feel more involved and prevent burnout. Taking time to have your employees brainstorm their goals, perhaps even include a mood-board party, is a great way to keep your team on track. For its full extent of benefits, utilize the raffle system to provide incentives for your wellness program, you’ll be surprised how involved your team gets.
Whether you’re planning a life-changing retreat or taking it easy with a spa care package, we can’t wait to see what epic ways you use to spread the love this employee appreciation day, so make sure to tag @theoffsite in your post!