Most employees could use more recognition for their efforts, especially after a year of navigating remote work. And showing gratitude pays off for their companies, too. In a recent survey, 53% of employees said that feeling more appreciated at work would make them more likely to stay with their organization. 

Employee Appreciation Day 2021 is coming up on March 5. Let’s take a look at some great ways to celebrate—even while working remotely!

Hold a self-care workshop or yoga session.

Encourage your team to indulge in self-care by hosting a workshop on this topic. Here are a few ideas:

  • A yoga session.
  • A guided meditation.
  • A more general workshop with various self-care tips.
  • A nutrition seminar.

Find a professional to host your workshop, and make sure there will be time for questions at the end. Sure, you could find a video on one of these topics, but arranging a live session tailored to your employees’ needs will mean a lot more. 

Consider giving employees a free day for self-care to use at their discretion, too. They’ll appreciate having the extra time to relax and put the tips they learned into practice! Ask them to take “self-care selfies” to share with the team later.

Have a catered lunch 

Eating with one another fosters a sense of togetherness, even if it’s over Zoom! Have food delivered to each person’s house individually and chat together over lunch. Do a fun icebreaker to kick it off, like debating whether pizza or tacos are better or sharing photos from their home life. Since group mingling can be a bit trickier over video chat, an icebreaker can help get the conversation going. 

Tell them why you value them.

During your lunch or a morning meeting, take a few moments to share why you value each person. Name one thing that each employee did to help your team pull through the past year and emerge stronger. Get specific—share stories! You might encourage employees to tell one another what they value and appreciate about each other, too.

Help them spruce up their home office.

Send a gift certificate to each employee that they can use for a much-needed home office purchase. Whether it’s a new desk chair, some new accents for the space, or plants, an office upgrade will be a memorable gift. 

Celebrate “milestones” of remote work

Add some humor by remembering how you finally learned to use your camera during Zoom sessions or onboarded your first remote employee. Ask employees to share stories of their favorite milestones, too. Give them prompts, like “What was the biggest technology gaffe you had to overcome?” or “What helped you find more work-life balance? And how are you still working on that?” 

Create a working-from-home collage

Ask everyone to send you a picture of themselves working from their home office. Then, create a “group photo” collage to share with them. This thoughtful gesture will bring a lot of smiles and create a sense of togetherness! 

Have a virtual game hour

There are plenty of fun games you can play on a video call. Here are a few great ones that are sure to deliver a lot of laughs:

  • A trivia challenge.
  • Pictionary.
  • A murder mystery game (including Mafia!).
  • Scattergories. (Each person has a list of different categories and tries to write down a unique answer for each of them that starts with a certain letter.)
  • “Do you really know your team?” (Ask employees to each share fun facts about themselves in advance. Then have people try to match the answers to the correct person.) 

Plan a game hour for the end of the day on Employee Appreciation Day, so you’ll wrap up the day on a fun note. Make it a happy hour as well, if you like! You might have so much fun that you’ll decide to make it a regular routine. A game hour on the last Friday of every month could really build team spirit.

Finding ways to have fun and laugh together will make you feel closer as a team. As you remember how you’ve gotten through a challenging year together, you and all your employees will have more appreciation for each other than ever before.