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Creative Ways to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day and Boost Team Morale

Jerika Holton
Mar 2, 2023

Employees are your organization’s greatest expense and the most cherished asset. Bob Nelson, the author of 1001 Ways to Thank Employees, realized this and started Employee Appreciation Day in 1995. While not a formal public holiday the day of employee gratitude is celebrated the first Friday of March each year to highlight the contributions employees make to the organization and foster a positive work culture.

Although Nelson believes employees should feel appreciated all year, he created National Employee Appreciation Day as an opportunity to give thanks to those who help keep your organization running.

“Take time to appreciate employees, and they will reciprocate in a thousand ways.”

-Bob Nelson

Fun Ways to Celebrate with The Team

While celebrating Employee Appreciation Day is not mandatory, it can be a great way to show your team you care. You may be surprised to know there are creative ways to celebrate employees that are also tax deductible like business meals, travel, and holiday parties.

Thank You Notes

Thank you notes may sound like an “old school” approach, but it is still an effective way to show appreciation. Forbes reports that thanked employees are twice as likely to be highly engaged at work. If possible, consider doing personalized thank-you notes for a more genuine experience.

Holiday Party

Take your team out during after-work hours to a bowling alley, golfing, or a venue of your choice to unwind and interact. Being outside of the office setting allows employees to feel a sense of relaxation and be open to building relationships.  

Team Meals

Cornell researchers found that the employees who eat together often got higher marks for team performance. Start the day off with an appreciation breakfast or take a break during the day to have lunch with your team to get to know each other and boost team performance. This bonding time is also a great time for managers to communicate their appreciation and thank employees for their hard work.

Paid-Time Off

Offer your employees some time off to spend with their family, friends, or just simply relaxing. The break can be a great time for employees to recharge. If your organization is utilizing a time-off module, you can easily manage and communicate the time off with your employees and account for the time during the payroll process.

Send a Thank-You Gift

Send employees fun thank you gifts or exclusive company swag. According to Merchology, 81% of workers said they felt appreciated when their employers gave them gifts. If you can, consider personalizing the gift, this makes the gift feel more genuine instead of giving employees the sense that you are giving the gift out of “obligation.”

Celebrate With Your Team, No Matter the Locations

Efforts listed above such as time off and sending gifts can be a great approach to show appreciation to remote workers, however you must get creative when discovering ways to engage employees. So, Employee Appreciation Day is a great opportunity to help them feel connected. Here are a few ways you can bring your team together for the holiday.

Utilize Employee Self Service

The employee self-service portal is an effective tool to stay connected. It is critical to stay engaged with employees, no matter their working location. Maintain strong communication through messages, alerts and notifications, or on the homepage of the portal. Get creative with fun images and thoughtful messages to send on Employee Appreciation Day to show gratitude to those you may not see daily.  

Virtual Events

Connect with your team virtually through tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other video conferencing solutions. Working at a remote location can cause employees to feel lonely due to a decrease in human interaction and communication, so it can be beneficial to dedicate time for employees to engage with the team. In fact, SHRM reports that 70 percent of workers don't feel like they are able to socialize enough when working remotely. Take the time to play fun games like Bingo or trivia, or to get to know your team in a relaxed virtual setting! If you want to spruce up the experience, offer fun prizes, send employees supplies for the event, or treat employees to lunch.

Host a Virtual Lunch

Just because your team is remote does not mean you cannot share a meal together. Using options like Doordash or Hoppier allow your employee to choose meals to enjoy together on the video conferencing platform of your choice. Or send employees meals as a thank you gift and allow them to enjoy their meal while they unwind during their lunch break.

Be creative with the meals you try. Here at Greenshades, the marketing team followed the lead of a team mate to make homemade pho! By combining ginger and other herbs we created a flavorful dish that we enjoyed as a team. A cost effective and exiting way idea to celebrate with the team.

Have a Great Employee Appreciation Day

According to Zippia, 37% of employees say that employee recognition is the most important motivator for them to produce great work. So, while Employee Appreciation Days forces you to slow down and show gratitude, it is important that you are thanking employees as often as you can.  

At Greenshades, we are a fully remote company. To stay engaged we hold a company-wide team-building event monthly. A time to let our hair down and laugh with members of all teams. From paint by numbers to cookie decorating, finding interesting ways to connect is critical to an engaged workforce. If you are interested in becoming a Greenie and joining us on our unique employee experiences check out our career page.

From Greenshades to your team, Happy Employee Appreciation Day! If you want to learn more about how we can help you stay engaged with your team contact or visit

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