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8 Employee Appreciation Day Ideas

Employee Appreciation Day falls every year on the first Friday in March. It’s a day when employers from coast to coast thank their employees and show their appreciation for the hard work their team puts in all year long. If you’re looking for a unique way to show how much you care, Custom Ink has you covered! Whether you want to customize a one of a kind gift for your staff or were thinking of holding an event to bring your team together, check out our list of 8 fun ways to celebrate your employees.

  1. Pancake breakfast
  2. We have to include a pancake breakfast because 1) Who doesn’t love pancakes? And 2) Custom Ink does this for our employees! Each year, leadership at Custom Ink mans the griddles to flip up some flapjacks for our world-class Inkers. It’s a great time for everyone to take a break, get together, and appreciate all the hard work we do throughout the year. Hold your own pancake breakfast on EAD by sending out invites and transforming a section of the office into a true pancake feast. Create a topping bar with different syrups, jams, fruits, and whipped cream so everyone can enjoy their pancakes just the way they like them. What’s better than flapjacks on a Friday? The chance to catch up with team members all across the company over a delicious breakfast!

  3. Custom zip ups
  4. We love to talk about zip ups as corporate or employee gifts because they’re so versatile in any work setting. Work outside all day and need some protection from the elements? Throw on your zip up. Sitting at your desk Monday through Friday and get chilly? Yep, grab that zip up. These make for great gifts because they’re functional and offer a polished look, so your employees will know you took time picking out an item to show you truly care. This year we love The North Face Mountain Peaks Quarter Zip Fleece Pullover. It comes in men’s and women’s sizes up to 3XL, and the stretch fleece is super durable and breathable. Its gridded texture even gives it some added style. Another great option is The North Face High Loft Full Zip Fleece Jacket. Cozy, fluffier jackets are having a moment and this one is as teddy bear-like as it is warm.

  5. Massages
  6. A classic gift but a good one? Massages. Taking 20 to close your eyes and release all the tension from a day on your feet or in your office chair is a gift anyone will love. Bring a team with massage chairs to your workplace and in the days leading up to Employee Appreciation Day, create a signup sheet where people can grab a slot to receive a massage that works with their busy schedule. Amp up the spa vibes by choosing a specific room for the massages, ensuring it’s dark and relaxing. Add a table with healthy snacks and cucumber water for participants to take with them afterwards.

  7. Personalized blankets

  8. Zip ups are an awesome gift to use on the job or during a commute, but if you’re looking for a gift for employees to enjoy on their own time, we love a good blanket. Not only do blankets encourage taking some time to relax, but gifting a cozy one with your logo will remind your employees you care each time they use it. We’d recommend the Field & Co.® Picnic Blanket. Not only does it have a comfy fleece side but it also has foam padding and a PEVA (vinyl) backing that makes it perfect for using outside. Anyone would love to cozy up with this and it’s perfect for bringing along to the park or a sporting event to gather with friends.

  9. Gift cards to nearby restaurants
  10. Is your workplace in an area with great dining options? Treat your employees to happy hour on you. Since gifts aren’t always one size fits all, we’d recommend purchasing gift cards to a handful of local restaurants, coffee shops, or businesses so there’s an assortment to choose from. On Employee Appreciation Day, walk around to each person and let them choose a gift card. This way they can get exactly what they want to enjoy some time away from the office as a “thank you.” We can’t think of any employee who wouldn’t love a few complimentary coffees!

  11. Escape room
  12. Take some time off and away from the office to work on your team building. Escape rooms are a popular way to have fun but also work together. There are tons of great options out there, like spy-themed or murder mystery rooms. Find an escape room in your area and see if you can book up the facility for Employee Appreciation Day. Bring all of your staff and let everyone split into teams to try different challenges. Not only is this a great way to get out of the office and have a mental break from work puzzles in favor of puzzling and tactical team building, but it’s an opportunity for your employees to spend time together and get to know one another.

  13. A monthly treat throughout the year
  14. Want to give the gift that keeps on giving? On Employee Appreciation Day, designate a gift for your whole staff that will repeat throughout the year. Maybe it’s bringing therapy dogs in on the first Friday of every month. Or, let everyone work from home on the first Monday of each month. This is a great way to show your appreciation for your employees all year, not just Employee Appreciation Day. If you want to get the whole team involved, come up with three options that could be the ongoing gift, and let your employees vote on it. Which ever idea wins, kick it off on March 6th!

  15. Meeting-free day
  16. All those meetings that should have been an email? Not on Employee Appreciation Day! Take a day off from the meeting mania and implement a “no meeting” rule on March 6th. This will give employees time to have coffee together, chat with the deskmates they never seem to see, or have lunch with some coworkers. Make it a day of talking about what really matters vs. what’s on the calendar. It also might give workers the time to catch up on projects they’re passionate about or give them an extra hour to brainstorm new ideas. Use this day as an opportunity to email out an effectives meeting guide and to reevaluate how your place of work treats meetings–and how you can do better in the following year!

Unite your employees for Employee Appreciation Day.

What are your plans for Employee Appreciation Day? Is there a way you’ve celebrated in the past that your employees totally loved? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

Kate wants her work to impact the little but important moments in people’s lives—like birthdays, anniversaries, and family celebrations. She loves coming up with witty copy that might inspire someone to create an awesome t-shirt!

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