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Business Development

Celebrating #EmployeeAppreciationDay Safely in 2021

They might all have different backgrounds and skill sets, but they all help pilot the firm toward its mission in their own unique way.

Your employees are crucial to your firm’s success. They might all have different backgrounds and skill sets, but they all help pilot the firm toward its mission in their own unique way.

You appreciate them every day, of course, but Friday, March 5th is #EmployeeAppreciationDay, so you should emphasize just how much they mean to you and your business.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, most of the normal activities for the day fall outside of the proper social protocol so we have to think outside of the box.

Here are some ideas for showing your appreciation for your team no matter your current work circumstances.

Employee Appreciation Ideas for Your Remote Working Team

Many of us haven’t seen our employees in-person for several months. While work carries on, the personal interaction has diminished. Despite this, here’s a chance to really do something special for your team to reaffirm that, although you are distant, you appreciate them now more than ever.

  • Mail a Card - Something as simple as a postcard, especially if it’s handwritten with a personal note, will light up anyone’s day amidst the bills, work, and spam often cluttering the mailbox. If you have a bit more of a budget, a gift card for a coffee -- or even a meal -- will be greatly appreciated as well.
  • Deliver a Dessert - With so many food delivery services on the rise, this idea can be economical while still surprising an employee by having something sweet delivered to their door. One awesome company that specializes in delivering sweet treats is, which allows the recipient to pick out their own favorite sweet treats, from candy to cookies and more.
  • Start a Fun Tradition - This is more outside the box, but that’s what makes it memorable. Options include a virtual book club where employees exchange books, a gift swap done through mail, leading an online charity fundraiser, or any number of fun events that can include an employee and their whole family to make them feel special and part of the whole team.

Employee Appreciation Ideas for Your Socially Distant Team

Depending on the specifications of the company, their location, and the industry, other Employee Appreciation Day’s can be celebrated with social-distance. These celebrations can include gatherings for socially distanced workplace fun.

If this applies to your firm, be sure to take a chance at these gatherings to recognize employees who have made a difference in the company. Talk about work, but most of all, talk about everything else. Use the time to bond with the members of your team.

Given the cold weather sweeping across the United States recently, an outside gathering might be a refreshing break from being pinned inside. Here are some ideas for workplace enjoyment combined with a recognition of employees’ hard work:

  • Picnic at the Park - Cater some individually-boxed deli lunches and have employees bring a chair or blanket for some outdoor relaxation and a gratis meal for them. To make it even more fun, invite their families and play some socially distant games.
  • Backyard BBQ - Chances are, your office has that employee who’s willing and excited to host the team. Equally likely, you know exactly who that person is. Reach out and see if they could host a cookout. Make plans, invite everyone to bring a dish, then have a potluck style dinner.
  • Recreation - How often do we get to go ice skating, roller-skating, or hit the golf course? Considering making a reservation at an ice rink, skate rink, or booking a tee time to enjoy some outdoor fun with your employees. But first, consider polling your employees and see what they would prefer. Have a mixed bag of preferences? Do all of these activities in small groups and then converge at a central location for a picnic afterward to recognize the employees.

Employee Appreciation Day for Post-Pandemic

One other option on the table for 2021 is a small, in-office celebration during the official Employee Appreciation Day in March to say thanks to the employees, and then planning a bigger celebration for later in the summer.

We are all looking forward to the COVID-19 pandemic coming to an end, which will mean back to business as usual and back to more typical social gatherings and celebrations. With this option, there are going to be a lot more ways to celebrate employee appreciation, and you get to do it twice! Don’t worry, your employees won’t mind.

Once we are able to have gatherings again, some suggestions of including activity and making a day out of employee appreciation include the following:

  • Team Building - Take everyone to the climbing gym and take a belaying class. Try an escape room. Anything adventure that encourages teamwork while having fun will do the trick. Working together with coworkers is always a great way to strengthen relationships both in and out of the workplace.
  • Brewery/Food Tours - Most metro areas have fun options for touring different bars and restaurants. Even some companies that provide brewery tours or sightseeing tours will offer a tour of your choice if you contact them in advance. This can provide a fun atmosphere where employees can spend time together and enjoy the evening in a more relaxed manner.
  • Game Night - Have a game day or game night either in the office or at an employee’s house. Bring a video game console and games, board games, and card games. There will be something for everyone to enjoy. Again, this is a great option for including families and having some kid-friendly games available.

Bringing It Together: Show Your Appreciation No Matter the Method

Regardless how you choose to celebrate, why you’re celebrating should be the most important part of the day.

Make sure that all your employees feel recognized by identifying the employee’s circumstances and what is most important to them. People respond to incentives or prizes differently, so while you probably can’t cater toward every member of your team, you should take their personalities into account. Some prefer money while others would be more appreciative of recognition or activities. There are ways to combine all of these or focus on what makes each individual person happy.

As far as 2021’s Employee Appreciation Day is concerned, virtual or remote ideas are probably the most feasible for safety reasons (unless you elect to celebrate in the late summer). While we all yearn for brighter days to come, we must focus on the present and what is best for our employees and their families: their health and wellness.


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