6 Employee Appreciation Day Ideas: Spread a smile at work!

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Simple Employee Appreciation Day Ideas

Get inspired by our employee appreciation day ideas and spread a smile at work. Rebecca has 6 quick and simple ideas for you.

Employee Appreciation Day is here!

Spreading some smiles at work doesn’t have to involve big budgets or massive planning.

Our employee appreciation day ideas can be implemented at the very last minute.

The tips range from free, to a limited amount of cash being spent.

Here we go!


1. Post-it notes rock

If you were to ask your team members – when do they think was the last time you told them why you like having them on your team?

Catch someone doing something right.

Make it visible!

Write a post-it note for everyone on your team and make sure it’s super visible as they arrive at work. Hang them in the reception?

Or in the break room? You could also hang them at each person’s work station.

However, if you hang them in the same place, people can look at each other’s notes, which surely will kickstart positive conversations.

A wall of fame to highlight the great job they’ve done!

Take a quick moment to read them out loud.

This way the rest of the colleagues might learn something new about a fellow coworker. Or find a way to tell your customers? Perhaps on social media?

It feels great to get praise and getting noticed, right?


Extra tip: Don’t just copy some cheesy employee appreciation quotes.

Keep it real, it doesn’t have to be long. “I just love how you always manage to smile even on a Monday morning” goes a long way.


2. Surprise Breakfast

When we analyze our real-time employee morale data, it’s clear that FOOD has a positive impact when you’re trying to boost morale at work.

How about a Waffle Friday?

Get all your team managers to take the time to informally chat with employees.

Encourage them to small talk and ask them how they are doing lately.

Copy Avitech’s waffle recipe!

They get 10% higher mood when organizing this simple employee appreciation idea.

Employee appreciation ideas

Got more cash?

Perhaps get catering, organize a Lunch Roulette, or get a food truck to pop by.

Speaking of pop,  you could also do a popcorn day.


Extra tip: Perhaps get the CEO to serve the waffles? Sends a great message to your staff.



3. Announce a (uhm… future) Staff Appreciation Day

Late with the planning?

Yup, that happens.

Buy yourself some time and announce a future event. Sneaky, but effective.

What does your team like?

Some managers organize kayaking, bouldering, pub quizzes, mini-golf, Hot Dog Tuesday, happy hour, bowling, or salsa dancing (yeah, that wouldn’t work for my team).

Or even just a simple lunch at the downstairs restaurant next Wednesday.

Make sure to tell people at the event how much you appreciate them! And why.

And perhaps ask your staff how they think you can improve things at work?

Do your employees feel valued? That they’re getting the recognition they feel they deserve?


Employee appreciation day ideas, hotdog tuesday

Extra tip: Come up with a catchy, funny name for the event.


4. Fresh fruit in the kitchen

This is also handy if you’re late with the planning for your employee appreciation day.

Stop by your local market in the morning and pick up a massive load of fresh, gorgeous looking fruit.

Leave it in the kitchen and bring your team around for a little chat and appreciation.

Show your employees you care and boost your workplace health. If you have a few minutes over: leave a little recognition / thank you note with each fruit.


Extra tip: Pineapples look awesome! 


5. Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Getting appreciation from your coworkers is a cheap, simple and effective way to create a better work culture.

In the day to day, we are so busy that sometimes it’s easy to forget to show appreciation for one another.

Here you can also use post-it notes or anonymous employee appreciation letters.

To help, you can hand out notes with different pre-written starter phrases they can choose from:

  • I like working with you because…
  • What I most appreciate is how you…
  • Hey, thanks for…
  • Did you know that I really like that you…

If it doesn’t make your employees cringe too much, get them to read the appreciation letters out loud for a bigger impact.

At Celpax we löve Peer-to-Peer Recognition!


Extra tip: Perhaps there is some team member who needs some extra appreciation? Prepare a special employee appreciation letter from the whole team. And get a fun design.


6. Board games in the breakroom

Perhaps Risk will swallow most of the workday, but there are many games that you can finish in half an hour less.

If you’ve got kids, raid their board games to see what you can bring to work the next day.

Or ask your employees to bring their board games.

A few decks of cards, Ludo, Uno, etc can be the basis for a glorious Team Tournament.

Glue the team together as they argue over the RIGHT rules, hehe.

If your team is on very short break, like in call centre environments, adjust and use short games. Or, spread it out during the week. That makes the happiness last even longer!


Extra tip: The winner gets… 10 free coffees from the downstairs café? Or a voucher to spend on the team the following week?

Or perhaps gets to decide on the next team building activity?


staff appreciation


Final ideas for your Employee Appreciation Day

Hope you found our employee appreciation day ideas useful?

We didn’t get into Covid related issues as we assume you’re already used to adopting.

We also didn’t get into appreciation methods like a bonus or buying presents like:

  • Magazines
  • Fuel coupons
  • Books
  • Netflix payments
  • Support a local shop or restaurant

..etc as many companies are struggling with budgets these days.

And as we’ve shown, recognizing employees doesn’t have to be expensive if you have a very low budget.

When there’s a will there’s a way right?

The official day is the first Friday in March.

But there are so many ways to be a good manager and recognize your employees, any day of the 365 days per year.

Now, go be a good manager and colleague, and spread a smile at work :)

Best of luck and Happy Employee Appreciation Day!



Would you like to measure the impact of your employee appreciation activities? 

Measure employee morale for free with our Celpax device.



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Rebecca Lundin, CelpaxHej! I’m Rebecca, co-owner at Celpax. We use simple tech tools to measure and create a great work environment. And build a better society while at it!

Let’s talk Employee Appreciation Day Ideas and Employee Recognition on Twitter.

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