How often do you take the time to thank your team? Employee appreciation is a powerful and inexpensive way to increase employee retention and decrease turnover.

According to this study by Workhuman and Gallup, employees who feel appreciated are 56% less likely to look for a new job. When your team feels valued, employee engagement improves, productivity increases, and you boost employee morale.

To help you appreciate your team, we have developed 40 remote-friendly employee appreciation ideas that you can use immediately.

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What is employee appreciation?

In its simplest form, employee appreciation acknowledges team members’ contributions and efforts to the workplace. Appreciating employees makes them feel valued and may be the difference in morale and staff retention.

It’s one thing to appreciate employees, but you also need to acknowledge them with proper recognition. That’s where employee recognition comes in.

Recognition programs are about rewarding team members for their achievements. 

Employee appreciation is still critical in making someone feel like an essential and valuable part of your team.

Why Employee Appreciation is Important

Employee appreciation is not just a nice-to-have gesture; it’s a fundamental component of a thriving workplace. Recognizing and valuing your employees is essential for several compelling reasons:

  • Boosts morale and job satisfaction: Employees who feel appreciated tend to be happier and more satisfied with their work. This positive morale can have a ripple effect on their overall job performance.
  • Enhances retention: Appreciated employees are more likely to stay with the company. High turnover rates can be costly and disruptive, making retention a crucial concern for organizations.
  • Increases productivity: Happy and motivated employees tend to be more productive. They are driven to excel and contribute their best efforts to the company’s success.
  • Fosters a positive culture: Employee appreciation contributes to a culture of respect and gratitude. This culture, in turn, attracts top talent and makes your company a desirable place to work.
  • Promotes innovation: Employees who feel valued are more likely to share their ideas and take calculated risks, contributing to innovation within the company.

Employee appreciation is not just a feel-good practice; it’s a strategic investment in your organization’s success. It leads to a happier, more loyal, and productive workforce, fostering a positive work environment where everyone can thrive.

40 creative ideas to appreciate employees that are remote-friendly

Let’s take a look at these 40 remote-friendly employee appreciation ideas.

1. Celebrate birthdays

Wish your staff a happy birthday on their special day. You don’t have to go too overboard to do it, either. Simply showing someone you’re thinking of them can go a long way. Pick up a cake or some tasty treats so everyone in the office can participate. Maybe even give them an extra vacation day to take the day off.

Even a simple happy birthday message on Slack goes a long way. Throw in a GIF and ensure the rest of the team can join in the celebratory wishes.

2. Host a virtual happy hour

Get together with your team virtually and share your favorite cocktails, beers, or non-alcoholic drinks like Kombucha. As a team-building exercise, you could play a game of pub trivia.

You could also sponsor the happy hour for bonus points. Focus on creating a fun employee experience that destresses your team members.

3. Recognize work anniversaries

Employee loyalty is something that should be celebrated. So why not fuss over those special staff members giving their all day in and out?

Celebrating a work anniversary can get people more interested in their jobs and remind them how much they are appreciated. Send out a personalized message congratulating them on your chosen communication app.

4. Set up an employee appreciation Slack channel

As your business grows, it becomes trickier to meaningfully appreciate everyone you have on staff. So why not start your employee appreciation Slack channel?

To raise morale, businesses are turning to the more flexible concept of peer-to-peer employee recognition and staff appreciation.

Hubstars is the name of a Slack channel that we use at Hubstaff. The idea is to give kudos to someone you work with that goes the extra mile. Once you give someone a shout-out, everyone in the business responds to the Slack post. Those that are recognized get $50 in their PayPal account. Sweet perk, right?

5. Honor your team on Employee Appreciation Day

There is no better time to implement these fantastic new ideas than Employee Appreciation Day. Employee Appreciation Day is on the first Friday of March. Whether you go big or small with the festivities, try making your staff feel valued and listened to.

Many organizations set this day aside for staff to choose and pursue their ambitions. Or maybe let your team take the day off to recharge their batteries.

6. Send thank-you gifts 

Care packages or thank-you gifts are a fun and thoughtful way to express appreciation for a team member. Returning home and finding something special to acknowledge the hard work from a previous job could be the difference between a happy or disgruntled employee.

Employee appreciation gifts are perfect for remote teams. With many companies delivering across the globe, there’s no better way to show appreciation. 

7. Gift company swag

A bit of shameless self-promotion never hurt anyone, right? Company swag can be a great way to show new hires they’re valued from the start. Get your team feeling like valued employees and part of the organization on a larger scale.

Before boldly splashing your company logo on every piece of merch and apparel you can get your hands on, try and think of quality and longevity.

At Hubstaff, everyone can choose three pieces of company swag when they start. You can choose between t-shirts, hoodies, hats, beanies, water bottles, or a phone cover. Most people share photos of their new swag on Slack when they receive it.

8. Appreciate and get to know your team’s passions

Taking a genuine interest in your team’s lives outside work has many benefits. Encourage your team to share the hobbies, interests, and accomplishments they pride themselves on in their personal lives.

At Hubstaff, you can talk about your life on different Slack channels. Here are a couple that we like.

#personal-family – In this channel, team members share all sorts of family celebrations: weddings, graduations, birthdays, new arrivals, and anniversaries.

#adventures – This channel is all about sharing vacation adventures.

Appreciating all accomplishments, not just work-related ones helps create a more genuine, supportive culture.

9. Gift a holiday bonus

One way to show appreciation for your team is to offer your staff a bonus over the holiday season. It’s also great to incentivize time off to keep team members refreshed and happy.

Remember, it does not always have to be money or a gift card. Many companies offer exclusive trips, goodies, and experiences to keep team members engaged.

10. Provide a budget for a remote office

In these times of ever-increasing remote work, a home office budget or reimbursement plan can go a long way to show your staff you appreciate them. If you ask, you will probably find that the average remote employee’s home office is a mishmash of furniture.

Investing in your team members’ remote office spaces shows them they are valued business members.

Simply offering a small remote office stipend is a great way to attract new employees and retain existing ones.

11. Host virtual or live retreats

Hubstaff virtual retreat

With remote work on the rise, retreats become even more crucial for fostering teamwork and building a remote company culture.

Even if it’s only once or twice a year, take the time to host a company retreat. Plan something all-inclusive and thoughtful for your staff.

We’ve settled to have a mix of two virtual and one live retreat a year at Hubstaff. Check out our recent virtual retreat and live retreat.

12. Pick an employee of the month

Award the best employee each month with the employee of the month award. Giving your staff simple recognition will increase morale and encourage healthy competition. You could allow employees to nominate their peers for the award to keep the competition healthy.

Awarding an employee of the month is a way to show appreciation for those who excel in their role. It can also help employees who are struggling to find motivation.

13. Allow flexible schedules

Give your team the trust and freedom to work when they are most productive. Allowing employees to live their lives will only result in happier team members who are more focused at work.

Flexible work conditions make it easier to hire the best people. It also makes employees more productive.

14. Build a culture of trust

Empower your employees to think and take action for themselves. Showing your team how much you trust them can lead to a greater sense of integrity and ownership of one’s work.

Many of the employee appreciation ideas in this article are designed to build trust. For example, getting to know your team and offering flexible working hours.

Trust is essential to any team’s success. Building trustworthy relationships among peers helps teams work better together and achieve their goals.

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15. Put your staff on your website

Why not put your staff on your website? Let your employees or teams write their bios. They can even share some hobbies, interests, and fun facts about themselves to stand out.

Building connections between your clients and staff can only bring familiarity and positive results. Clients will appreciate the transparency, while employees can enjoy the opportunity to put their unique stamp on their work.

16. Provide learning opportunities and encourage growth

The growth of your employees is crucial to your business’ success. So why not help with the education of your team members?

Hubstaff provides an education budget for each team member every year. If it’s not feasible to pay for it all, we at least try to be lenient to staff needing time off to learn.

After all, employee growth is often directly correlated to business growth.

17. Provide mentorship

When done correctly, mentoring programs can be a valuable asset to new team members and experienced staff. When leaders pass on their teachings to others, it makes for smooth transitions and stronger bonds between co-workers.

When you start at Hubstaff, you are paired with a “culture ambassador.” The culture ambassador is there to help you throughout the onboarding process. They become a valuable asset that can answer all your questions when you start a new role.

18. Have fun with food

Sharing a meal is a great way to keep teams engaged. Whether you host an in-person feast in the office or swap multicultural recipes with your remote team, food is a gateway that connects us all.

Breaking bread helps us learn about one another — and everyone loves a free meal. Consider taking staff out, ordering donuts, or maybe calling in a food truck.

Or try what we do at Hubstaff. Have someone host a cooking class and pay for the ingredients. Here’s how it works:

  • Someone on the team puts their hand up to lead the cooking class (the chef)
  • The week before the cooking class, the chef sends out the recipe so you can buy the ingredients
  • Hubstaff reimburses anyone who joins for their ingredients
  • The chef hosts a live cooking class on Zoom
  • Everyone makes the dish and shares images of their creations on Slack

19. Create family-friendly work schedules

Don’t forget to think about your team’s personal lives. Allow for family time when planning employee schedules. People will feel appreciated if you acknowledge their life outside of work.

Having a work-life balance helps prevent burnout. Well-rested and socially engaged team members are more productive.

At Hubstaff, I can do my work whenever I like. It gives me the freedom to surf almost daily, keeping me mentally and physically healthy. 

20. Give props from the tops

The small gestures still matter — especially when they come from the top. It may be cliche, but even a simple “thank you” from management can make a huge difference. Cultivating a culture of mutual appreciation is crucial — and what better way to do that than from the top down?

Research shows the most meaningful recognition is from a manager, a high-level leader, or the CEO.

21. Award promotions and raises

Raises and promotions are essential for keeping your staff feeling motivated and valued. Your employees are more likely to perform better if compensated fairly and shown a clear path to success.

Make sure you reward an employee for hitting their milestones. If ignored, team members may become disgruntled and look for new opportunities.

22. Listen to your employees

How often do you check in on your employees and hear what they say? Have you ever let your team choose the projects they handle? Simple ideas like these can make a big difference in the culture of your workplace.

Giving your employees a chance to express their thoughts is a great way to show appreciation. Take an interest in their lives, too. Sometimes, lending an ear to listen to what’s going on in an employee’s personal life can help them refocus on work.

23. Offer a health and wellness program

Show your gratitude and appreciation by prioritizing the health and well-being of your employees. After all, healthy is happy. Effective wellness programs can promote healthier behavior, reduce stress, and increase employee productivity.

You could start a team-building “wellness challenge” where you encourage people on your team to do something healthy daily. It could be exercise, drinking more water, breathing, meditating, or healthy eating.

You can also incentivize good health in the workplace by walking or running for charity.

24. Pay attention to the vibe

Is your team happy? What are you doing to monitor the overall vibe of your business? These questions are tough to answer when you’re working remotely.

At Hubstaff, we check on each other with Officevibe. Each week, we receive a survey with a series of questions. The survey questions gauge the business’ vibe and allow everyone to share safe, anonymous feedback.

25. Utilize software for employee appreciation

Why not utilize software to appreciate your employees better?

Hubstaff workforce software has an employee productivity tracker that has built-in achievement badges. Achievement badges can motivate your team to work better, boost productivity, and drive team members to achieve their goals.

You can also use software like Nectar to automate events like birthdays and work anniversaries. Markerpad is another option that automatically posts fun GIFs to Slack on your employee’s birthdays.

26. Showcase employees on social media

Highlighting employees on the company’s social media pages is a simple way to show how much you value your team. Include a photo and talk about how much you appreciate this team member. You can also have some fun with it and include a fun fact.

When you talk about your team on social media, you show them how much you appreciate them. This social tip is also a creative way to build the employer brand of your business.

27. Take the time for yearly reviews

Don’t rush this process. Take the time to prepare for yearly reviews. Ensure you express appreciation in their assessment and follow through on what is mentioned.

Accountability goes both ways; if management doesn’t take employee reviews seriously, neither will your staff. Give clear, concise feedback before, after, and during a review. Whether they’re excelling or struggling, employees should never feel blindsided by the results of a review.

28. Give them a day off for being wonderful

The most significant yet simplest form of recognition could be giving employees the day off. Burnout is a significant workplace issue — even for remote teams. On average, remote employees work more hours than in-office team members.

Give your team a random day (or even half day) off occasionally. You could see morale improve right before your eyes.

29. Personalized milestone celebrations 

Instead of celebrating only birthdays, consider acknowledging personal milestones such as work anniversaries, achievements, or life events. This approach demonstrates a more profound recognition and connection with your team members.

30. Virtual wellness challenges

Organize virtual wellness challenges, encouraging your remote team to engage in healthy activities. Competitions related to fitness goals, meditation, or healthy eating can boost your employees’ morale, well-being, and camaraderie.

31. Professional development opportunities

Invest in your employees’ growth by providing access to courses, workshops, or certifications that enhance their skills and knowledge. This benefits individual career development and contributes to the company’s overall competence.

32. Wellness challenges

Encourage a healthy lifestyle by organizing wellness challenges. These challenges could include step competitions, healthy eating contests, or mindfulness practices. Offer rewards or recognition for participants and winners to motivate engagement.

33. Virtual coffee chats

Promote team bonding by arranging casual virtual coffee or tea chats. It’s an opportunity for employees to have informal conversations, discuss shared interests, and build relationships beyond work-related topics.

34. Book club

Start a company book club where employees can read and discuss books related to personal or professional development. It encourages learning and thoughtful conversations among team members.

35. Charitable initiatives

Encourage your employees to get involved in charitable activities or volunteer work. You can support their efforts through donations, paid volunteer time, or company-sponsored charitable events.

36. Creative competitions

Organize fun and creative competitions among your team. These could include a home office decorating contest, a cooking challenge, or a talent show. These competitions add a dash of fun to the work routine and inspire camaraderie.

37. Personalized thank-you notes

Take the time to write personalized thank-you notes to your employees, specifically highlighting their contributions and achievements. This personal touch shows genuine appreciation and recognition.

38. Subscription services

Provide subscriptions to streaming services, fitness apps, or other digital services that employees can enjoy during their free time. It’s a unique way to enhance their well-being and leisure activities.

39. Family-focused benefits

Support employees with families by offering benefits like flexible family leave or childcare assistance. This demonstrates that the company values its work-life balance and family commitments.

40. Peer recognition program

Establish a system where team members can nominate and recognize their colleagues for exceptional efforts or achievements. This not only fosters a culture of appreciation but also strengthens team bonds. You boost employee morale when you encourage employees, not just the leadership team, to acknowledge and reward employees working hard. 

Don’t forget to say thank you every day

Give your employees the appreciation they deserve wherever they work.

According to a recent study, more than 85% of employees want to be thanked daily. More than 74% of the team members feel that how they’re appreciated at work is synonymous with their mental health.

Motivate and encourage your team by simply saying “thank you.” This random act of kindness will significantly impact your company culture.

You now have 40 ways to show your employees how much you appreciate them that are remote-friendly. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try one at a time. Bookmark this page and refer to this list when you need to make your employees feel appreciated. You’ll have plenty of employee appreciation ideas at your disposal, and your employee morale will soar.

Give the gift of time

Appreciate your employees by making the switch to asynchronous time tracking.

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Category: Culture