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  • Madeline Haney

Employee Appreciation Day Ideas - Events, Games, & Gifts

Updated: Feb 20

This year employee appreciation day falls on Friday, March 3. Don't let this day pass without some much needed recognition, because if you didn't hear employee burnout is on the rise. Future Forum's latest data (February 2023) shows burnout is still on the rise globally, with 42% of the workforce reporting it. This staggering statistic is a wake up call to employers to prioritize employee well being & mental health.

In this blog post we are going to outline employee appreciation ideas for in-person, remote, and hybrid workers. Read on to learn more for event, games, and gift inspiration.

Group of employees linking arms

Activities for Employee Appreciation Day

Whatever your organization's work structure, there are a variety of fun activities that can engage and entertain your team. If you have the time and resources, take multiple ideas and make a whole week or month of appreciation.

smiling people divided into teams with a banner reading team building event

In Person

For companies where the staff has returned to the office, employee appreciation games should get everyone out of the cubicle and away from their screens.

Game Time

Board games, video games, and virtual reality games all offer opportunities for your team to relax and unwind with some friendly competition or play in collaboration. Offer a variety of games and let employees pick what suits their interests, no need to micromanage fun times. Pair with pizza, a beloved hand-held favorite.

PromoSpark employees with gold medals after winning office olympics

Office Olympics

More intentional than open gaming, planning an office olympics includes an event itinerary, awards ceremony, and prizes. PromoSpark held our own office olympics, during our spirit month. Events included: pencil javelin, oversized pong, and balloon races.

Food Truck Lunch

Catering lunch is always a good idea to improve morale, take it up a notch by hosting a food truck or multiple food trucks. Not only do the food trucks add an exciting element, it is less preparation for your party planning committee and dishes can be made to the individual's preferences.



If you have everyone working from home, possibly all over the country, it can be difficult to find virtual activities that are engaging and include more than just watching a screen. Here are some ideas to make remote recognition fun.

A woman looking at her laptop smiling and making a heart with her hands

Host an Instructor

Bring in a fun and engaging instructor, or multiple instructors, to teach an interactive virtual class for a few hours. Survey your team to find a subject that interests them such as healthy cooking, yoga, meditation, art, and so much more. Be sure to provide the supplies ahead of time so employees just need to show up and be present.

Virtual Escape Room

As a pandemic pivot, many escape room companies developed virtual escape room experiences which provide the same puzzle solving, team building experience. Escape all together or break into small groups and see who gets the fastest time.

Take a Half Day

When in doubt, let the employees decide what they want to do for themselves by offering a free, paid half-day. Encourage your team to use the off time for something enjoyable for themselves, maybe going for a hike or reading a new book.



Planning events with some employees in the office and some at home also poses some difficulty. A great hybrid event engages both the in person and online attendees.

a group of people in office conference room video conferencing with someone on screen

"Red Carpet" Movie Screening

While we are often looking for less screen time, a big screen office favorite flick is an easily adaptable event. For in-person attendees have a photo booth with props and a fully loaded cinema inspired snack bar. At home attendees should receive a swag box of snacks and goodies.

Awards Ceremony

Host an employee awards ceremony (perhaps at a Chili's?) complete with speeches, trophies, and snacks. Want to take the event to the next level and surprise the audience? Consider getting a celebrity Cameo. Actors of beloved workplace sitcom characters can create videos announcing winners of awards.

Happy Hour

A simple classic, host a happy hour to recognize the hard work of your team. Elevate the event with a guided pairing of food and drink samples, which can be done easily in-person and remote. Understanding your office culture will dictate if the event is wine & cheese, beer & pretzels, or soda & candy. Mocktails are trending for 2023, so be sure to offer a non-alcoholic alternative.


Employee Appreciation Day Gift Ideas

a woman opening a gift box in front of her coworkers

As reflected in the rising interest in decluttering & minimalism, people don't need more junk. When choosing an employee appreciation gift, take the time to consider what will actually enhance their lives.

The best swag will be kept and cherished for years to come; one way to ensure they like their gift is to let them pick for themselves with an online employee redemption store.

Office Games

Anyone up for a game of Cornhole or Table Tennis? These games offer your crew an activity to bond over and a way to take a break during a stressful day. Use Employee Appreciation Day as a grand unveiling and host an office wide tournament.


Tumblers, mugs, water bottles, Koozies, and many more variations of drinkware are always popular gifts because they are universally acceptable. Everybody drinks something! Know the culture of your team and offer multiple options to fit every individual's needs.


Sweet? Savory? Maybe both? Food gifts are easy to share, delicious, and don't add to office clutter. Branded boxes of food treats can be drop shipped across the country to work from home employees.

Cozy at Home

With many of us still spending most of their time at home, help make your employees' homes comfortable & cozy. A nice blanket is universal, widely appreciated, and customizable. Cheese boards, engraved wine glasses, and a popcorn popper offer the same customized, cozy night-in.

Next Steps

Has inspiration struck for your employee appreciation day event? From event supplies to unique employee appreciation gifts, we have the connections and experience to make this your best appreciation day yet!

Let's work together to show your team some love!

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Want to learn more about Employee Gifts?

For more inspiration with our guides to work from home gifts, unique corporate gifts, and employee gifts for every budget.

Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram for additional content.

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