30 Best Employee Appreciation Day Activities

Alisha Zoe

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30 Best Employee Appreciation Day Activities

Employee Appreciation Day Activities

Employees are the heartbeat of every company – the talents, innovation and passion of your staff ultimately fuels business success. But hardworking, dedicated teams often don’t receive the recognition or meaningful appreciation they deserve.

Turning your workplace into an uplifting environment where people feel genuinely valued should be a priority. There’s no better time to transform company culture through thoughtful expressions of gratitude than Employee Appreciation Day.

Taking the full organization or individual departments on a journey of fun activities, rewarding experiences, team building and shared memories excites workforces while deepening interconnectivity and moral. 

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Best Employee Appreciation Day Activities

Making employees feel valued and appreciated is key to building a happy and productive workplace culture. Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect opportunity to recognize your staff and boost morale. Here are 5 of the best activities to show your team you care:

Catered Luncheon 

Provide a free catered lunch from a favorite local restaurant so your team can enjoy a relaxing break together. Consider having lunch delivered or setting up a buffet in the office. It’s a simple yet delicious way to say thanks!

To make it even more special, decorate the office with balloons, streamers and signs thanking everyone for their hard work. Having some upbeat music playing in the background sets a festive tone.

Dessert Bar 

Set up a sweet treat bar filled with cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and other goodies. Have it open all day so employees can enjoy a snack whenever they need an energy boost.

To add to the fun, include a hot chocolate and coffee station so staff can pair warm beverages with their sugary picks. You could even hand out some cute mugs or treats they can bring home and enjoy later as an extra appreciation memento.

Gift Card Prizes 

Hold a fun raffle and give out gift cards to popular shops and restaurants. Employees will be excited about the chance to win a prize while also getting a useful gift if their name is picked. A great gift card option is Visa cards that can be used anywhere.  

To build anticipation, promote the raffle via email and office posters ahead of time. Have leadership pick winning names from a bowl in front of the full staff so everyone can cheer on the recipients.

Karaoke Party 

Get people laughing and cheering with a karaoke machine. See which coworkers have hidden singing talents! Having music and a festive atmosphere helps liven up the office. A quality machine is the Singing Machine Karaoke System.

Make your party even more memorable by having silly costumes and funky hats on hand for performers to dress up in. You could even give out funny awards for categories like “Best Dance Moves” or “Most Spirited Group Number.”

Photo Booth

Rent a photo booth for the office or provide some fun props like hats, masks and signs so employees can take memorable pictures with coworkers. It’s a great memento from the day’s events. Check out the Magic Mirror Photo Booth for top-quality prints.

To get people excited about the photo booth, have a digital display looping cute candid shots of teams. Provide printouts for employees to take home and post creative Snapchat-style photo template signs they can hold up and customize.

If you want to go above and beyond in celebrating Employee Appreciation Day, arranging an office pizza party, taking the team bowling or organizing other fun group activities can continue the excitement and bring your staff closer together.

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Engaging Employee Appreciation Day Virtual Activities  

With many teams now working remotely at least part of the time, coming up with virtual employee appreciation ideas is key. These 5 activities can help remote staff feel valued on Employee Appreciation Day:

Masterclass Subscription 

Gift each employee a subscription to Masterclass or another online learning platform so they can enjoy professional development content or explore hobbies like cooking, photography and more. Education makes for meaningful gifts.  

To make it more fun, create a leaderboard tracking who takes the most classes and highlight top viewers by sending “Star Student” badges.

Netflix Watch Party

Have a movie night with coworkers by setting up a Netflix Watch Party. Add in delivery of snacks care packages for an extra fun touch. Everyone can chat about the show while streaming it together from separate locations.

Choose a popular movie tied to the company in some way, whether it focuses on a shared industry, location, inside joke or other relevance.

Virtual Escape Room

Send employees a link to access an online escape room challenge customized with company-related puzzles. Seeing who can crack the code first fosters teamwork even remotely. Try BOXED In Virtual Escape Rooms for exciting games. 

To build excitement beforehand, send mysterious puzzle pieces and cryptic notes building up to the final escape room reveal. Give the winning team members small prizes.

Online Trivia 

Host a virtual trivia session over video conference. Have different rounds focused on pop culture, current events, sports, company history and other topics. It’s an engaging experience and way to connect, especially for remote staff or teams that travel frequently. 

To encourage friendly competition, have employees form virtual teams and award funny prizes like digital trophies, silly Zoom background images or icon emojis to the top scoring players.

E-Gift Cards 

Simply emailing each employee a digital gift card on Appreciation Day lets them buy something nice for themselves, whether it’s getting coffee, downloading a book, accessorizing a wardrobe or stocking up on office supplies. It’s both personal and practical. Popular options are Amazon, Target or Visa digital cards.

Having contests with prizes, sending care packages of branded swag, and making charitable donations in honor of employees are other impactful virtual appreciation gestures to consider.

People Also Read: 15 Meaningful Employee Appreciation Day Card Ideas

Fun Activities for Employee Appreciation Day

Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day doesn’t have to be complicated. These 5 fun and simple activities will guarantee smiles across your entire team:

Silly Awards Ceremony 

Give out silly superlative awards to coworkers such as “Best Office Jokester”, “Peppiest Early Bird” and “Messiest Desk.” Employees will get a kick out of the funny honors.

Make the awards over-the-top with outrageous titles presented in fun award show-style with upbeat music and red carpet photo ops. Allow staff to submit nominations and votes online to get everyone involved.

Ice Cream Cart 

What’s better on a hot day that an ice cream cart rolling through the office? Treating your team to all their frozen favorites is a tasty way to celebrate. Toppings and cones encourage coworkers to connect over creating sundaes.  

Rent a real cart and uniforms to create a fun ice cream shop atmosphere. Play lively music and have leaders scoop the treats while bonding with staff one-on-one. Set out colorful glass jars filled with candy toppings so employees can personalize their desserts.

Office Games Tournament

Organize a arcade game style tournament with stations for classical options like cornhole, giant Jenga and mini golf throughout the workplace. Employees can get friendly competitive and bond during the challenges. 

Award silly prizes like gold trophy snacks or custom t-shirts to the winning teams. Have leaders participate alongside staff to facilitate relationship building through the activities.

Talent Show

Have employees sign up to showcase their secret talents from singing to yoga poses to cup stacking to math tricks. Present awards for categories like “Most Unique Act” at the end!

Let staff vote online for fan favorite to increase engagement. Record the full show so performers can re-watch and participants can relive the amusing event.

Nature Walk or Outdoor Activity

For offices located near parks or trails, taking the whole team on a group nature walk is a refreshing change of pace. Or have lawn games set up outside like ladder ball, croquet and vinyl spikeball. Getting people moving together fuels positivity.

Surprise snack breaks, impromptu dance parties, choosing a theme and dressing up (like 80’s day or silly hat day) are additional simple ways to interject fun into Employee Appreciation Day.

People Also Read: 30 Best Employee Appreciation Day Ideas From Gifts To Party Celebration Ideas

Team Building Activities for Employee Appreciation Day 

The team that plays together stays together. These 5 active team building activities make Employee Appreciation Day about strengthening connections between coworkers:

Cook-Off Competition 

Split employees into small teams and have each group create a dish or meal to be judged against the others in a “Chopped”-style cook-off. Not only will they bond in their team, but they get to enjoy everyone’s culinary creations. 

Require teams to include one unusual “mystery” ingredient. Stream it live so those not cooking can watch and cheer. Award colorful aprons or personalized utensil sets to the winners.

Office Olympics  

Turn your workplace into an Olympics venue with stations for relay races, typing speed tests, spinning in an office chair without getting dizzy and other silly games. Teams can compete for medals made of chocolate or gold spray painted snacks.

Have award ceremonies on stage playing theme music with Leadership acting as judges. Print certificates naming wacky superlatives like “Fastest Texter” or “Dizzy Spinner Supreme” for extra comedy.

Escape Room 

Escape rooms continue to rise in popularity for their puzzles that require collaborating and thinking creatively together to “break out” of an office-transformed space. The cryptic clues and adrenaline rush pull teams closer. 

Require groups to incorporate everyone’s diverse strengths, whether details, technology, complex patterns or interpersonal skills to foster inclusivity. The shared victory feelings solidify bonds.

Amazing Race

Select destinations around your office building or outside and make clues guiding each team from spot to spot for an “Amazing Race” inspired adventure. They’ll problem solve and strategize together. Sweeten the excitement by placing fun rewards at each location like snacks or prize envelopes.  

Set up lively music and balloons at the final finish line so teams celebrate in style after hustling together to crack the challenging clues.

Art Contest  

Provide basic art supplies and poster boards for teams to craft pieces representing your company vision, brand or achievements over the past year. Enable creativity in groups and have leadership judge the artistic results.

The key is choosing activities requiring staff to communicate, divide responsibilities based on strengths, compromise and think collectively. Shared positive experiences build strong bonds.

Creative Employee Appreciation Day Team Activities

Looking for something original to do on Employee Appreciation Day? These 5 creative activities will make your staff feel special in an unconventional way:

Department “Yearbooks” 

Have employees contribute photos and awards for most likely to brighten someone’s day, hardest worker behind the scenes, best mentor, etc and compile it all into a yearbook for each department highlighting their accomplishments.  

Make it more personal by having staff write special shoutouts to coworkers they appreciate. Bind the books for members to proudly display on their desks.

Coffee Cart 

Send around a decorated coffee cart to serve team members creative drinks made just how they like it to personalize appreciation while providing an energy boost to power through tasks. Have leadership serve staff for extra impact.  

Allow employees to request specialized designs in the foam topping their beverages. Set out an assortment of flavored syrups, spices, toppings and whipped creams for further customization.

Craft Workshop 

Arrange unique craft workshops like glass etching, pottery painting or even floral arranging so employees can let their creative sides shine while producing tangible mementos reminding them of feeling valued. 

Provide soothing instrumental music and refreshments while they work. Have leaders participate in the activities alongside staff to spark deeper connections. Display employees’ finished pieces together in a special art exhibit.

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Bring in professional masseuses to provide relaxing shoulder, hand and foot massages in a destressed zone decorated with calming decor, essential oils and peaceful music. Treating teams to restorative pampering shows you care.

Have employees schedule appointments so everyone is guaranteed time in the serene massage space. Send out reminder calendar invites they can accept and add to their workflow. Follow up with photos from the rejuvenating experience.

Storytelling Session 

Have willing leaders, loyal long-term employees, supportive retirees and other impactful figures share how they started at your company, favorite memories, challenges overcome and proudest accomplishments in recorded videos or live sessions. The inspiration empowers everyone.

Hosting pop-up dance parties, creating uplifting murals staff can add inspirational quotes or artwork to, and handing out treats with personal notes of appreciation are other outside-the-box ways to creatively recognize employees on their special day.

Unique Employee Appreciation Day Activity Ideas

Want to make sure your Employee Appreciation Day really stands out from the average company celebration? Incorporate some of these unique activity ideas:

Pet Party 

Research shows interacting with animals provides mood-boosting oxytocin, so invite staff to bring dogs, cats, small pets in cages, etc for a cuddle fest sure to melt stress away. Have pet-friendly snacks too.  

Send out pet profiles so everyone can learn each others’ pets names and personalities before the party. Have a designated photo station with fun backdrops and props. Award prizes for categories like “Best Trick”, “Cutest Outfit” and “Most Unusual Pet.”


Transform your office parking lot into a mini fair or carnival midway with game booths like ring toss, prize wheels, balloon darts and a photo station along with classic snacks like funnel cake and popcorn. It becomes a party!

Have leaders enthusiastically working the activity booths to further morale-lifting interpersonal connections. End the evening with glow stick prizes and uplifing music for a dance party.

Guided Meditation

To promote deeper connections between every employee, have a spiritual leader guide the full staff through feelings-focused mantras, visualizations of being part of a whole, and a walking meditation appreciating the workspace. It’s incredibly centering.

It’s incredibly centering. Follow up with handouts of the impactful passages, mantras and mental imagery used so individuals can continue reflective practices on their own.

Bonfire Bash 

Firepits provide warm gathering spots that inspire bonding, so building a bonfire at lunch for people to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over while playing acoustic music facilitates rich conversations recognizing team talents. 

Have long-tenured or typically quiet staff share wisdom. Provide appreciation journals for people to secretly write shoutouts about coworkers that leadership later reads aloud.

Vision Board Party 

Provide poster boards, arts supplies, motivational magazines and printers for teams to craft inspirational, dream-filled collages encapsulating hopes tied to the company’s future and their role in it. The aspirational process unites groups.

From trampoline parks to indoor skydiving to axe throwing ranges, taking staff to experience exhilarating new activities they’ve never tried before is an unforgettable way to shake up Employee Appreciation Day.

Showing staff you care about their happiness and success through creative celebrations, thoughtful gestures and meaningful experiences will help any workforce feel genuinely valued while strengthening employee satisfaction that transforms into better business results.

People Also Read: 15 Creative Employee Appreciation Day Social Media Post Ideas

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Final Verdict

Creating dedicated moments solely focused expressing genuine care and admiration for employees provides immeasurable returns in terms of culture. People feel seen. Morale climbs. Teams bond tighter. Individuals gain confidence to dream bigger. Everyone aligns behind common aspirations for company success.

The memories made celebrating each other, whether enjoying playful friendly competition, learning together virtually, collaborating on ambitious projects or simply relaxing over comfort foods, become treasured touchpoints re-energizing workforces long term.

While every activity here aims to uplift employee spirits through different means, the list only scratches the surface of appreciation ideas. Ultimately any opportunity facilitating human connections, laughter, progress or inspiration tied back to staff contributions keeps positive energy flowing.

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Alisha Zoe

I am a professional writer passionate about the workplace. My articles offer insights on business, team building, and corporate culture. I help you create unforgettable work events and celebrations.

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