17 Ways to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day!

by Mar 2, 2022

This Friday is the first Friday in March. And that means *drum roll please*…it’s the celebration for Employee Appreciation Day! While it’s easy to fall into the rhythms of work, celebrating the people that make that work possible is essential. 

Ways to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

Here are 17 fun and creative ways to show your employees how grateful you are!

1) Make it feel like a celebration

Adorn the office with colorful balloons, decorations, and other fun items to make it feel like a celebration.

    • Virtual Alternative – Change your Zoom background to something fun, and have your employees do the same! Even a slight change to the environment can make the day feel special.


2) Provide some serious grub.

Provide lunch that goes above and beyond the pizza or deli sandwiches you normally order. Seafood or fine Italian, perhaps? Make sure to dedicate a table or area to the spread so that people can pop in throughout the day to socialize. 

    • Virtual Alternative – Send each employee an UberEats gift card so that a special lunch can be delivered straight to their doors. Then dedicate a “free period” for people to virtually socialize, take a break from work, or enjoy their food away from the screen.


3) Schedule a “3 Fun Things” meeting.

What better way to show appreciation than to get to know your employees on a more personal level. Have everyone brainstorm “3 Fun Things” happening in their lives, unrelated to work. Draw names in random order, pass a ball around, or pin them on Zoom, so they can share their three things.


4) Get people smiling

Drop some random jokes, funny videos, or memes into your meetings to get people smiling 🙂


5) Be positive

Make it a point to only say positive things to and about people, and encourage your employees to do the same. This is a day of positivity and encouragement. And who knows, maybe it’ll catch on and become a regular intention!


6) Grant your employees an extended, paid lunch

Encourage them to spend it out of the office! Bonus points if they spend it socializing with other co-workers. Super bonus points if you join them!


7) Host a fun, creative competition

Whether it’s voting on a silly costume for the CEO to wear, designing a temporary new logo, or fun paintings to put on the walls, encourage employee involvement and creativity.


8) Set off a sticky-note chain!

Have a fun treat for each employee to grab on their way into the office – perhaps a chocolate bar, la croix, or some company swag. Make sure each item has a sticky note on it, with a message intended to make them smile (i.e. “how are you so utterly fabulous?” or “you make the world a better place”). Leave a blank sticky note underneath, and encourage them to write their own kind message to leave on someone else’s desk throughout the day!

    • Virtual Alternative – Send a random funny e-card to each employee throughout the day…nothing serious, just something to make them smile.


9) Host an office pajama party

Channel your inner child, and remember the most exciting day of the school year…..pajama day! Host an office pajama party, where employees are encouraged to wear their fun, comfy clothes and slippers.


10) Schedule an in-office volunteer day

Gather supplies to make care packages, tie blankets, or any other simple service project that can be easily worked on throughout the day. One of the best ways to grow together is to serve together!

    • Virtual Alternative – Create a virtual volunteer competition/game (i.e. award for the department with the most creative service idea, the individual who makes the most blankets that day, etc)


11) Upgrade

Identify something in the office that is frequently used and ready to be upgraded – perhaps a copy machine, printer, or break room? Then upgrade it!

    • Virtual Alternative – give everyone a small allowance to upgrade something in their home office or purchase a fun item to keep them smiling all year long.


12) Appreciation video

Do a brief survey, asking employees to praise other employees anonymously. Compile the responses into a brief appreciation video that recognizes each employee for the special talents they bring to the table. Make sure everyone feels mentioned and included! 


13) Play office Bingo, set up office karaoke, or play “name that tune.”

Fun games are a great way to break up the work day and make it feel special. 

    • Virtual Alternative – Virtual karaoke is a thing, people. A wonderful thing.


14) Give fun awards out to each employee!

Examples can include “most likely to respond to an email within the minute”, “office comedian”, or “best pre-coffee attitude”. Anything will do. Just remember to stay positive, inclusive, and personal.


15) Declare it a “no meetings” day!

A clear calendar can be a huge sigh of relief for employees who need a chance to get caught up.


16) Party!

Enough said…


17) Say thank you

Out loud. In the most genuine, heartfelt way you can. And, provide hand-written notes to all of your employees to show them you took the time to thoughtfully consider their individual contributions to the team. 


Whether you use these suggestions or come up with creative ideas of your own, the important thing is to make the day special, fun, and memorable for your employees.

So add it to your calendar. Gather your supplies. And put in the effort to make Friday your most GRATEFUL Employee Appreciation Day yet!


Let’s create a plan to build a positive workplace! | Invite Catherine to speak | Check out our webinar library

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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