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22 Thoughtful Virtual Employee Appreciation Ideas For Employees & Remote Staff

By April 6, 2024 May 16th, 2024

Showing your employees how much you appreciate them isn’t just a kind thing to do—it’s crucial for growing a healthy office culture and generating happy, motivated employees.

However, finding ways to show your appreciation for a virtual staff can present new, unique challenges.

According to Glassdoor’s Employee Appreciation Survey, “53% of people said feeling more appreciation from their boss would help them stay longer at their company.” That means showing you care will enhance your company and help you retain your best and brightest employees.

virtual-employee-appreciation

Thankfully, there are still plenty of meaningful ways you can show appreciation for your virtual team.

So read on for the most thoughtful virtual employee appreciation ideas for employees and remote staff!

Thoughtful Virtual Employee Appreciation Ideas For Employees & Remote Staff

1) Give Them A Work-From-Home Office Stipend

Turn their home office into the dream workstation with a home office stipend.

21 Fabulous Home Office Ideas To Cover Every Type Of Setup

Employees who go into the office have their own workstation, somewhere comfortable that puts them in the right mindset for the work day. Unfortunately, most work-from-home employees don’t have that luxury. Some are jammed in the kitchen to get out the way or sitting at the same small desk they’ve used since college.

Show you appreciate your remote employees and allow them to upgrade their home office! A stipend to get a nicer chair, some tasteful organizers, or a brand-new desk will upgrade their home office (which will, in turn, increase their output).

Why they’ll love this: A nicer home office will create a happier employee. This is a great employee appreciation day idea for remote employees!

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Not sure how to budget for this personal expense? You can use an employee reward tool to streamline and improve your company’s toolset.

 

2) Send Them A Recognition Message With Redeemable Points

Your employee will appreciate the ability to choose their own reward with this special recognition treat.

bonusly

While a thoughtful thank you is powerful on its own, it’ll be even more meaningful when paired with redeemable reward points through a company reward software. These programs allow you to send a personalized note along with points that can be used to buy tech, treats, company swag, charitable donations, or special activities! With redeemable points, your employee gets to choose how they want to be rewarded.

Why they’ll love this: A note and the ability to choose their own reward is an excellent recognition idea for virtual teams and the best of both worlds, giving your employee freedom while retaining a personal touch.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Use recognition and reward software like Bonusly to get your redemption reward system started.

 

3) Recognize Them Via A Company-Wide Slack Channel

There’s nothing lacking about Slacking out your thanks to your employees!

Create a #gratitude-wall Slack channel

Slack is a fantastic tool for company organization and communication. Plus, Slack can do more than just organize your teams and give you a place to brainstorm—it’s also a fantastic space for a morale-boosting appreciation message! Whether you drop the shout-out into a team channel or create a special Slack chat for team appreciation, you can bet this personalized message will give your remote employee a much-needed boost.

Why they’ll love this: A public acknowledgment and a nice message will show your remote employee how valued they are.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Create a #GratitudeWall Slack channel for you and anyone on the team to give appreciation for accomplishments both big and small.

 

4) Let Them Select A Digital Gift Card

A gift card for their favorite spot will mean a lot.

Stadium-Gift-Cards

You want to send your employee the best possible gift so they’ll feel appreciated, but sometimes it’s hard to tell what’ll hit just right. Don’t leave your appreciation gift up to chance—let your employee treat themselves and choose their own digital gift card! That way, you’re ensuring your remote employee is walking away with an appreciation gift they’ll be stoked to use.

Why they’ll love this: By putting the power in your employee’s hands, they’ll end up with an appreciation gift they’ll be sure to love. This is also a perfect employee appreciation day virtual idea.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Use corporate awards software like Stadium to increase remote employee engagement and easily send digital gift cards.

Explore Stadium

 

5) Send Them Treats!

Show you’ve got taste by appreciating your employee with a surprise box of treats.

Goody-Zac's Sweet-Shop

While your remote worker doesn’t get to enjoy the plunder of the break room, they can still see how much they’re valued if you send some snacks, dessert, or drinks to their house. You can even find out what their favorite foods are to guarantee they are receiving snacks they’ll want and love.

Why they’ll love this: It’s scientifically proven that snacks make people happy, so cheer up your remote worker with something to munch on during or after work.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Use a gifting service like Goody to send tasty (and healthy) treats right to their door.

 

6) Celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, and other life milestones

Let’s celebrate! This appreciation idea helps team leaders boost employee appreciation by celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries, and other significant life milestones with your employees.

monday.com-work-anniversary

Recognizing birthdays, work anniversaries, and other significant life milestones can enhance the workplace atmosphere.

These gestures go beyond acknowledging employees solely for their work output — they also demonstrate that individuals are valued and appreciated on a personal and professional level. By fostering a sense of belonging, these practices transform the company into a true community rather than just a place of employment.

Why they’ll love this: Employees genuinely appreciate these efforts as they feel seen and celebrated as individuals, reinforcing their connection and loyalty to the organization.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: To implement this idea of virtual appreciation, companies can leverage digital platforms to send e-cards, organize virtual parties, or provide gift cards for special occasions.

 

7) Send Them A WFH Care Package

Special delivery! Send appreciation right to their door with a work-from-home care package.

Goody-Gift-Boxes

Without an office, sometimes it’s hard for remote employees to feel like part of the team. You can show your appreciation and make your virtual worker feel included with a work from home care package sent to their home. Whether it contains tasty treats, useful tech, or some wellness-focused items like candles and soaps, a WFH Care Package will elevate their virtual work experience and make them feel appreciated.

Why they’ll love this: Useful items that appear on their doorstep will feel like a breakroom in a box.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Use a gifting service to simplify sending care packages and ensure your employees are getting the best products and services.

 

8) Mail Them A Handwritten Letter

Let old school enter your modern office with a handwritten appreciation letter.

handwritten-letter

A letter? In the mail? Is this the 1930s? While old-fashion, a handwritten letter mailed to their door can be the most thoughtful way to celebrate and appreciate your remote employee. You can use this note as a space to say the exact appreciation words you think your remote employee needs to hear. An epistolary thank you will add a personal touch that’s often missing from online correspondence and will prove to your employee that you care about their hard work.

Why they’ll love this: A handwritten letter works as a nice surprise and a physical testament to how much you appreciate their efforts.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Find the perfect letter card for your note—whether it has the company’s logo or is chosen with this specific employee in mind.

 

9) Send Them On A Special Experience

Get them out of the office and into a happy headspace by sending your employee on a special experience.

movie-night

While in-office or work-related rewards are valuable, there’s something special about giving your employee an experience they can enjoy outside of work hours. Game lover? Send them to an escape room with friends. Music aficionado? Concert tickets right to their door. Cinephile? A pair of movie tickets, on you. Whether they enjoy this adventure with coworkers or loved ones, a special experience will highlight how much you recognize your employee’s contributions. This impromptu appreciation day can come whenever so don’t be afraid to make it happen!

Why they’ll love this: A one-of-a-kind experience catered to their interests will make any employee, remote or otherwise, feel valued and increase their office engagement.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Test out a rewards program to help your employee check something off their own bucket list.

 

10) Set up a company reward store

Establish an online marketplace where employees can effortlessly access and choose gifts from an extensive catalog.

Stadium-Corporate-Gift-Shop

Create a personalized store where employees can easily redeem a wide range of rewards, including gifts, branded items, unique experiences, exclusive discounts, and even travel opportunities. A company rewards store aims to provide employees with a diverse and exciting selection of options to choose from, ensuring that their hard work and dedication are acknowledged and appreciated in a meaningful way.

Why they’ll love this: Employees all have their own preferences for how they like to be appreciated. A company reward store gives you the flexibility to give them exactly what they want.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Set up a company store or launch your own custom corporate gift shop with Stadium.

 

11) Get Them Something They Can Enjoy With Their Entire Family

Prove that you’re a family-first company by promoting family time with your appreciation gift.

blueboard_experience

A memorable moment with the family could be just what your employee needs to relax, rejuvenate, and return to the office feeling energized. Whether it’s a romantic dinner with their significant other or a trip to an amusement park for them and their kids, gifting a family-first activity will allow your employee to feel appreciated while taking some much-needed personal time.

Why they’ll love this: Your remote employee will get the opportunity to have some real-life fun with their entire family.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Give them a Friday off to plan a fun event for the family!

 

12) Gift Them Company Merch

Swag? Your appreciation idea is in the bag.

company-swag-store-michael-swag

Company merchandise, whether it’s clothing, tech, or useful office tools, will be a meaningful gift that your employee will actually be able to use and enjoy. Plus, with the right logo and look, your team will be proud to display some company pride in their day-to-day life. Bundling a few different items in an appreciation care package is even better!

Why they’ll love this: A useful gift that allows them to rep their work, company merch will make your remote employee feel like part of the team.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Take a tour of your swag closet to see if you have any cool company swag to mail to your employee. You can also send them a swag box straight to their doorstep.

 

13) Plan A Virtual Team Celebration

Get the whole team together for a curated virtual celebration!

While remote work may seem less adept for team-building than an in-person office, there are plenty of great ways to put your team in a celebratory mood virtually. To show your appreciation, plan a digital happy hour or virtual team building event to give your team a chance to relax and bond in a non-work atmosphere. Bonus points if you send everyone a drink kit so they can toast the celebration in style!

Why they’ll love this: A planned virtual event is a great opportunity to verbalize how much you appreciate your team while giving them a chance to hang out in a less formal virtual setting.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: For a truly memorable experience, use The Go Game to host a curated, hosted virtual team building.

 

14) Surprise Time Off!

An unexpected day off work is the best kind of surprise for your remote team.

time-off

A great appreciation gift is an unscheduled, surprise day off (that doesn’t count toward their PTO, of course). You can gift this to a single deserving employee, or give the whole office a day off. Whether they use the time off for a mental health staycation or a little adventure, your employees will appreciate the office more for the chance to be away from it for a little bit. They’ll return refreshed and engaged. Just make sure the surprise isn’t too last minute—they’ll appreciate the time to make some fun plans.

Why they’ll love this: The chance to have a much-deserved break will be even sweeter if it’s a surprise!

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Check your calendar and find a day you can (at least partially) shut down the office.

 

Virtual Recognition Ideas To Recognize Remote Employees

15) Say Thank You With A Digital E-Card

Get the whole team involved with a personalized Thank You e-card.

e-giftcard

Courtesy of GroupGreeting

Who uses the postal service these days? With virtual teams, it can be difficult to create appreciation gifts that your entire team participates in—unless you use a digital e-card! Find the perfect card for your employee or create your own, then have the entire team add a message. By getting everyone to write something, you won’t just be showing you care—you’ll be developing a team-wide culture of appreciation.

Why they’ll love this: A personalized card with a slew of nice messages will show your remote employee they’re valued, no matter where in the world they are.

How to implement this virtual recognition idea: Use a digital e-card service to send well-crafted cards with ease.

 

16) Shout Them Out Via LinkedIn

Social media could be the missing link in your office’s culture of appreciation.

Social media has become a mainstay of our current culture. Why not use it to show your employee they’re appreciated by making a LinkedIn shout-out on their wall? A personalized message for their whole network to see will not only help them with their future career, it’ll make them feel like an important part of your team. Plus, other team members (or past employers) can engage with the post to add more positivity to their day.

Why they’ll love this: A public shout-out will brighten your remote workers’ day.

How to implement this virtual recognition idea: Craft the perfect, thoughtful message, and then press Post! Just make sure you double-check your grammar.

 

17) Provide A New Toy Or Treat Box For Their Pet

Give their pet something to bark (or purr, or whatever sound lizards make) about with an appreciation treat for your employee’s beloved pet.

For the animal-lover in your office, you can appreciate them through a gift for their best friend: their pet! Whether you send a special dog treat, a fun cat toy or a new castle for their goldfish tank, a present for their pet will be a present for your employee. Plus, giving such a specific gift, shows you know what they value and that you actually care about their interests.

Why they’ll love this: They love their pet. Their pet loves treats. You do the math.

How to implement this virtual recognition idea: You can find great pet gifts online like the Eco-Friendly Dog Box!

 

18) Offer Them A Wellness Budget

Prioritize mental and physical health at your office.

wellness

Encouraging wellness will create a happier, healthier, more mindful office environment. Show appreciation for your entire company, no matter the size, by creating and approving a wellness budget for your staff. Your team can choose how to spend this money, whether it’s for a new gym membership, yoga classes, or massage therapy. Promoting wellness will create happier employees—which will only boost the success of your company.

Why they’ll love this: By giving your team the chance to focus on themselves, they’ll feel appreciated and cared for by your company.

How to implement this virtual recognition idea: Create a suggestion list of how your team can spend their stipend and check the budget to see what you can afford.

Tip! SnackNation put together a growing list of ways to imrove employee mental health! These strategies are deisgned to create a workplace that is geared towards providing mental health resources and support. Perfect for remote employees too.

 

19) Send A Virtual Thank You Via Email

Motivate your team and give thanks with an appreciation email.

thank-you

Whether you’re sending a team-wide bulletin or a personalized message, something as simple as a thoughtful email detailing why you appreciate your team can do wonders for your office culture and employees’ self-esteem. If done right, this email won’t cost you anything but can make a big difference for your team.

Why they’ll love this: By calling out the specific reasons they’re valued, your employee will see why you care.

How to implement this virtual recognition idea: Open a browser window and start crafting the perfect thank you email.

 

Thoughtful Virtual Employee Appreciation Ideas For Employees & Remote Staff

20) Send the entire remote team lunch with Hoppier

Gift whole remote teams lunch in minutes!

Hoppier Gift Cards

Hoppier makes it entirely possible for you to gift your remote team lunch without worrying about shipping costs, lost packages, and physical gift cards. You can choose from millions of vendors, including the likes of Starbucks and Amazon Fresh, with a location coverage of more than 60 countries. We love the fact that any leftover budget can be credited back to you for re-use.

Why they’ll love this: It’s easy to set up. All you need to do is create a virtual credit card through the platform and share the link with your remote team. The cards are reloadable, and customer service is available 24/7 for any random glitches.

Even better, you can also combine the functionality of Hoppier with popular video conferencing tools like Zoom, InEvent, and more.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: For a truly memorable experience, instead of having any remaining unspent amounts re-credited, have the team cumulatively donate to a charity or worthy cause of their choice.

 

21. Plan A Virtual Team Celebration

With so many options available online to connect, there’s no excuse to celebrate!

Local-Happy-Hour-Celebration

If you have yet to do a virtual team celebration, you’re literally missing out on one of the most cost-effective ways to appreciate your employees.

Identify a robust online meeting software, send out an agenda ahead of time replete with games and fun activities, and ask employees to dress up for the occasion if they plan to use a theme. Don’t forget to include prizes and share the many wonderful ways your team members have contributed to your business success recently.

Why they’ll love this: A planned virtual team celebration is a great opportunity to nurture team spirit and feelings of camaraderie.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Start with our list of 24 super-fun ideas for virtual team celebrations for great pointers.

 

22. Award the company a “floating holiday” for Employee Appreciation Day

Who doesn’t love an extra, paid day off?

Tropical Vacation

Want to really get in the corner of your prized employees? Reward them with a paid floating holiday for Employee Appreciation Day.

A floating holiday is a leave day that employees can use on any day of their choice. It can be paid or unpaid, depending on the company, although if you’re looking to reward your employees, paid time off is the way to go!

It’s common for employees to pool the floating holiday with their vacation days, effectively extending their time off.

Why they’ll love this: Extra time off is one of the most popular employee perks. Enough said.

How to implement this virtual appreciation idea: Surprise your team members when they least expect it! Make the announcement just as your employees are in the thick of celebrations to add to the cheer.

 

Virtual Employee Appreciation & Recognition Tools

1. Bonusly

Bonusly - Home Feed

Bonusly provides point-based recognition and rewards where employees can give or receive points for their work.  These digital rewards points can then be exchanged for various prizes ranging from gift cards to corporate gifts to charity donations in their name.

This engagement platform also helps create a culture of appreciation at your business by encouraging employees to send personalized messages to their peers. All of these messages and rewards are tracked in their reporting tools which allow managers to show the ROI on this tool.

🚀 Start here: Bonusly

 

2. Nectar

nectar

Nectar is an employee recognition tool that helps companies to reward their employees in a fun and meaningful manner. It provides a way to allocate points to individuals for achieving set goals or completing tasks.

🚀 Start here: Nectar

 

3. Bucketlist

Bucketlist

Bucketlist is an employee recognition platform that helps companies reward their staff in a unique and meaningful way. It enables employers to customize rewards for each individual, allowing them to choose from experiences such as gourmet dinners, tickets to events, or even trips around the world.

🚀 Start here: Bucketlist

 

4. Motivosity

Motivosity-Benefits

Motivosity promotes employee engagement and productivity with its team-focused recognition platform. It offers peer-to-peer recognition, rewards, and leaderboards for employee engagement. It also incorporates team activities with awards and incentives to increase morale and productivity.

🚀 Start here: Motivosity

 

5. Guusto

guusto

Guusto is designed to boost morale at work by helping create meaningful employee connections. It features virtual recognition ideas and reward suggestions tailored to employees’ interests, along with customizable messages for giving both digital and physical rewards.

🚀 Start here: Guusto

 

6. Kudos

Kudos-Employee-Recognition-Software

Kudos is a social recognition platform that encourages employees to share their accomplishments and successes. Employees can give each other virtual high-fives, points, or badges for their work.

🚀 Start here: Kudos

 

7. Mo

Mo is a recognition and rewards software designed for hybrid and remote teams. It helps build relationships with employees by providing appreciation and recognition for their work. This engagement tool makes it easy to recognize outstanding performance and celebrate meaningful milestones.

🚀 Start here: Mo

 

8. WorkTango

WorkTango

WorkTango helps create a positive and productive work environment. Its platform provides an online hub for employee recognition, rewards, and performance reviews. Employees can be rewarded with points or digital badges that can be redeemed for rewards. It also integrates with Slack and other popular communication systems to keep employees informed and engaged.

🚀 Start here: WorkTango


Expert Advice & Useful Tips To Celebrate Virtual Employee Appreciation Day

Tip #1: 🖥 Do Your Research

Since Employee Appreciation Day is always the first Friday in March, you have plenty of time to plan ahead and determine how you would like to celebrate with your distributed team.

Engaging with hybrid and remote employees can be difficult so conducting your research ahead of time will set you up for success well before the big day.

Tip #2: 💫 Determine the Scope of Your Appreciation

Are you looking to plan an event for the entire office? Or are you hoping to plan a more team-centric activity or gift for a particular team or department?

Understanding the scope of your plan will make sure that you have everyone covered when it comes to appreciating your peers. Managers and C-level executives might require a different type of recognition than other employees — so keep this in mind when putting together your employee appreciation day strategy.

Tip #3: 🏖 Consider a Half-day at Work

Kick off the weekend early with a half-day to reward employees with some extra time off where they can complete their work, relax, and spend some extra weekend time with family, friends, or coworkers.

You can even consider an early Happy Hour to start the weekend early if you live in the same city as your remote employees. Just don’t force your employees to show up if they want to spend their afternoon doing their own thing. This is a great idea to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day since it lands on a Friday and is perfectly set up to take the afternoon off.

Tip#4:🤝 Work with management to establish a budget

For practical planning purposes and to ensure you’re staying well within company resources, work with management to establish a budget beforehand.

You can opt for a percentage of payroll or allocate a fixed budget per employee per annum. In terms of percentage, these can vary, but assume 1% of payroll as the base minimum. Look at a range of $50 to $200 on average for a per-employee per annum figure.

Again, these numbers are not cut in stone and can depend on your specific type of business, the industry, general trends, and various other factors.

Tip#5:✅ Make it genuine

However, if you decide to celebrate Virtual Employee Appreciation Day, ensure your efforts are genuine and sincere.

Employees can smell disingenuous attempts at checking off an engagement task from the list, which defeats the purpose of the exercise. Instead, plan ahead by getting buy-in from your employees, carrying out surveys to learn how employees would like to celebrate, and then following through with them.

If your idea is not executed well, it can hurt employees. Plan, and follow through with foresight, so your idea clicks well with your team members.


People Also Ask These Questions About Virtual Employee Appreciation Ideas

Here are helpful answers to some common questions about virtual employee appreciation ideas.

Q: What does virtual appreciation for employees look like?

  • Virtual appreciation for employees can look like many different things and can take many forms. That includes a thoughtful letter, a care package sent to their door, or reward points through an office engagement platform.

Q: How do you appreciate an employee remotely?

  • You can appreciate an employee remotely by planning a virtual event, sending them on a fun trip, or gifting them a box of office swag. It all depends on what you think will mean the most to your team.

Q: What are the benefits of implementing a virtual appreciation program for my staff?

  • The benefits of implementing a virtual appreciation program for your staff include happier employees and a more communicative office culture, which will lead to a more productive, successful company.

Q: How do you show appreciation virtually?

  • You can show appreciation virtually by sending an e-card signed by the whole team, planning a fun virtual team-building activity, or sending a care package to your remote employee’s door.

Q: What are some of the best virtual employee appreciation ideas?

  • There are many great virtual employee appreciation ideas, although some of the best virtual appreciation ideas include care packages, special trips, or a personalized message on their LinkedIn page.

Q: How do I choose a virtual staff appreciation idea for my company?

  • You can choose a virtual staff appreciation idea for your company by analyzing the wants and needs of your employees and choosing the idea that will best build your office culture.

Q: Are there any free virtual employee appreciation ideas?

  • There are plenty of free virtual employee appreciation ideas like planning virtual events for your team, sending a nice message, or creating a gratitude channel on Slack.

Q: How do I know if my virtual employee appreciation ideas were successful?

  • You’ll know if your virtual employee appreciation idea was successful based on how it impacts your office culture—appreciated employees will bring better energy and better work to your company.

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