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15 Thoughtful Virtual Employee Appreciation Ideas

15 Thoughtful Virtual Employee Appreciation Ideas

Looking for a thoughtful, creative way to show team members how how appreciated they are? In this post, we’re sharing 15 of our favorite employee appreciation ideas!

Showing your gratitude can go a long way. By making team members feel appreciated, you can foster a stronger sense of team culture and help employees feel recognized for their hard work. This can lead to higher retention and engagement, positive word of mouth, and more.

Don’t let the challenges of distance and working from home hold you back from thoughtful team recognition ideas. There are plenty of unique gifts and gestures in this post for in-person, remote, and hybrid teams!

In this guide, you’ll find:

  • 15 thoughtful virtual employee appreciation ideas
  • Employee Appreciation Day virtual ideas
  • Staff appreciation ideas to keep teams motivated
  • Peer to peer recognition examples
  • Benefits of showing employee appreciation
  • Creative employee recognition ideas

Virtual Employee Appreciation

Benefits of Employee Appreciation

There are many benefits to creating a culture of appreciation in the workplace. It is great to continuously showing your employees appreciation for all that they bring to the team. Check out a few of the top benefits:

  • Improved employee morale and motivation: Showing employees appreciation is a natural morale booster. Sharing with staff that you are grateful for all that they do for the company can improve employee job satisfaction. When employees feel valued and cared about, teams can experience an increased sense of morale at work.
  • Increased employee engagement and productivity: Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to be engaged in the workplace. Plus, creating a positive and encouraging environment allows team members to feel more at ease in a healthy, progressive workplace. As a result, teams can strengthen their productivity as employees feel welcomed.
  • Stronger team cohesion and collaboration: With a culture of team appreciation, teams often form stronger bonds. The positive tone lends to stronger team cohesion and collaboration. Employee appreciation can encourage team members to be more open to sharing ideas and working with one another.
  • Positive impact on employee retention and employer branding: Thoughtful employee appreciation also helps with staff retainment. Regularly reminding staff of their value leads to a more positive team culture. As a result, create an environment where topics are able to be openly discussed and employee feedback is welcomed. 

15 Virtual Employee Appreciation Ideas

    1. Deliver Care Packages to Team Members

Care packages are a fun way to liven up the virtual workplace! With personalized care packages, demonstrate how well employees are known and valued as team members.

Do so by choosing pre-made themed boxes, or hand select items for each package. When opening a customized care package of their favorite treats, team members are sure to feel seen and valued.

For more fun, enjoy a team “unboxing” once packages have arrived. Schedule a team video call to open the packages and see each other’s reactions. Take our word for it–your team morale will be rejuvenated with this fun activity!


Meal Delivery

    1. Deliver a Meal in Celebration

For some, the best way to the heart is a good meal. Utilize this as a thoughtful virtual employee appreciation option! Plus, who doesn’t love a free lunch?

With the convenience of delivery, surprise employees with a meal on their doorstep from the company. Celebrate team members’ birthdays or work anniversaries with this activity. Or, deliver a meal simply because they are amazing!   

Make use of DoorDash, Uber Eats, or a local delivery option from a favorite restaurant. This quick and simple act will delight co-workers and recognize special moments. Not sure what they like to eat? Offer a gift card to a meal delivery service. Plus, you can join an online call for a virtual team lunch to eat and chat together! 


  1. Send Digital Gift Cards to Employees

    Let’s be honest, everyone gets excited for a free gift card. Sending digital gift cards to employees is a great virtual appreciation idea for companies with budgets to do so.

    For this idea, let staff members choose where to spend the gift card. As a result, all employees will receive virtual gifts they will be happy with.

    Customized cards will bring the biggest benefit to teams of any size! For small teams, ask employees directly what shop or restaurant they might appreciate a gift card. For large teams, tap into resources like Tremendous or Giftcards.com to easily send digital gift cards that employees can pick themselves.


    Work From Home Stipend

      1. Provide a Work-From-Home Office Stipend

    With a work-from-home office stipend, remote workers can set themselves up for success! This virtual appreciation idea allows team members to buy all the tools they need to be better organized and efficient.

    For teams with a budget, determine how often you will provide a stipend and a streamlined funding option. For example, offer $100 every month and add the amount to paychecks. 

    As a tip, do not limit what items can be purchased. This allows for employee customization. Items may include trinkets to bring comfort in a home office or technology like a white noise machine to help with focus.

    Whatever they choose, employees will appreciate this perk of the job!


      1. Offer Team Members a Unique Experience

    Foster employee appreciation by offering a unique experience for employees. Experiences can include a virtual call with a guest speaker, tickets to a virtual event, or even planning a virtual team field trip! 

    For this activity, tap into themes all team members will love. For example, try a MasterClass together to learn about food, sports, science, arts, and more from renowned celebrities and leaders.

    Or, cover the cost for your employees to attend a conference to learn about a topic they’re passionate about. A unique experience like this can keep teams inspired and motivated, creating stronger bonds that benefit the entire company.


    Team Building Activities

      1. Plan A Virtual Team Building Event

    Virtual team building events are a fun way to incorporate employee appreciation and spend time together. Companies can tap into free or paid virtual team building activities for every interest!

    To get you started, tap into these unique virtual team building activities and ideas. Or, look into these bespoke virtual team building events. Each option is a great way to virtually connect over engaging topics and build team morale through virtual team-building games.

    With proper planning, virtual team building events are a phenomenal way to bring remote workers together!


      1. Supply Team Members with a Wellness Budget

    A wellness budget encourages team members to take time for self care! When employees have regular access to self care, they may feel better prepared to accomplish tasks, engage in collaboration, and keep a positive attitude.

    Additionally, team members who take care of their bodies and minds might miss fewer days of work and show increased productivity. Finally, a wellness budget allows team members the flexibility to have work life balance.

    Some may purchase a gym membership, some may buy a monthly meal-kit subscription, and others may use it to pay for talk therapy, a massage, or doctor’s appointments. Regardless of what employees choose, their wellness will lead to a better company for everyone!


    Social Media Shout Out

      1. Shout Out Team Members on Social Media

    Social media is an active part of the workforce today. This is true for both company pages and personal accounts. Plus, social media networks like LinkedIn are a large factor in professional networking and communication. 

    Show employees appreciation by shouting them out on the platforms your company uses. Highlight employees on your company page for their incredible work or latest professional accomplishment. For this appreciation idea, be sure to gain consent from the employee you wish to highlight before posting. 

    Or, write an individual LinkedIn recommendation directly on an employee’s page. Recommendations are a popular way to show just how amazing team members are and the value they bring to the workplace. 


      1. Share Words of Recognition on the Company-Wide Chat

    A public shout-out is an easy way to make team members feel valued! Utilize communication systems you already have in place, such as a Slack Channel, to do so. Simply send a quick message of appreciation that the whole company can see.

    Plus, this free virtual employee appreciation idea is highly customizable. Messages can highlight work accomplishments, like amazing customer experience or completing a project. Or, use this idea to recognize personal achievements. For example, a team member getting engaged or buying a home.

    In addition, this virtual employee appreciation idea allows words of recognition to come from both leadership and peers. When leaders and peers shout out fellow employees to the whole company, team members develop positive feelings towards one another. Tap into this free appreciation idea to strengthen team morale and engagement!


    Gift Family Activities

      1. Gift Family Activities For Time to Recharge

    Virtual employee appreciation ideas can extend beyond the workplace. Team members may enjoy tokens of appreciation that they can enjoy with their family or children. 

    For example, consider providing virtual team members with tickets to a local sports game or arts venue. Or, provide event entrance to community events like fairs, markets, and celebrations. For easy entrance, send employees e-tickets to activities.

    In addition, consider coupling this with free time off for activities that may happen during the work week. That way, employees can enjoy events with their family and recharge.


      1. Gift Employees Free Days

    Another progressive way to thank virtual employees for their work ethic and productivity is to offer free days within the work calendar. Free days are days off that team members can use to rest that do not tap into their personal PTO. 

    Or, allow employees to use free days as an “offline” day to work on projects without distractions of meetings, emails, or chats. Enjoy quiet, focused time to catch up or get ahead on projects. 

    This is a great employee perk for seasonally affected jobs with slow and busy periods. With extra time off or unplugged working days, employees will be able to rest, recharge, and refocus. 


    Pet Parent Gifts

      1. Provide A Surprise for the Pet Parents

    For teams of pet parents, show appreciation with some love for the fur-babies. Companies big and small can gift team members pet supply boxes delivered right to team members’ front doors. 

    Box items can include a range of pet treats and toys. Plus, consider adding a gift card to Petco, PetSmart,or Chewy as a bonus item. Not only will your employees love the gifts, but their pets will too! 

    As a great year-round or holiday idea for virtual employee appreciation, this is sure to be a hit with your team! Not sure where to start? Don’t stress, check out pre-selected options on Chewy or Amazon


      1. Host Virtual Parties to Bring Everyone Together

    Another free virtual appreciation idea is to host virtual parties. Parties can include birthday celebrations, work anniversaries and accomplishments, virtual awards ceremony, or just for fun!

    Customize parties with themes, fun dress codes, happy hours, award shows, food, games, and more. By actively carving out time for employees to enjoy casual opportunities together, team bonding and communication will grow. 

    If hosting virtual parties outside the regular work day, be sure to give employees the adequate time off later in the week. Plus, be sure to make virtual parties optional. This is an important step in making sure employees feel appreciated and not asked to be engaging in longer work days. 


    Peer to Peer Employee Recognition

      1. Encourage Peer to Peer Recognition

    Allow team members the opportunity to recognize one another at any time! Empower employees to shout out fellow team members without the prompting of management. This not only allows for more team communication, but also supports team encouragement and engagement. 

    There are many ways to implement this amongst your team. For example, have a team member create a specific peer chat group where appreciation messages can be shared. Another option, offer employees a budget for coworker appreciation rewards such as coffee or treats. Plus, allow employees to be reimbursed for these purchases. 

    In addition, consider a company-wide raffle for a monthly prize. Team members can nominate one another for a ticket and a chance to win. Let your team’s imagination run wild with this virtual employee appreciation idea!


      1. Send a Celebrity Video Message

    Does your team have a favorite celebrity? Or, maybe employees are known to be huge fans of specific actors, musicians, or athletes. If so, tap into the Cameo.

    On the website or app, Cameo allows you to purchase personalized videos from celebrities. With thousands of available stars to pick from, you can create an individualized employee appreciation gift of a lifetime!

    Simply select a celebrity, share the message you would like them to say, and receive the video to share with your employees. There is nothing like hearing a heartfelt thank you from their favorite star to recognize all their hard work!


    Create A Culture Of Appreciation

    Tips for Successful Virtual Employee Appreciation

    Planning a successful virtual employee appreciation activity requires proper planning and execution. For activities involving pre-purchases, work with company leadership and finance departments to secure funds needed.

    For appreciation events that involve time virtually spent together, communicate timelines well in advance to all staff involved. It is vital to communicate the plan clearly to team members. This will prevent any negative feelings towards the activity and distraction. 

    Just as important as communication and planning, you will need to incorporate a follow up with staff. This is to ensure that all staff members receive any delivered items. Plus, it allow employees to share feedback on their experiences. One idea: send out a virtual survey post-activity to hear how well the appreciation was received, and how employees prefer to be recognized!

    Above all, remember that employee appreciation isn’t about a transactional purchase – it’s about sharing sincere gratitude for the people who make up your team.


    Creating a Culture of Appreciation

    Get started creating a culture of appreciation in your workplace today with the 15 ideas listed above. The implementation of recognition programs, peer-to-peer appreciation, and ongoing feedback shows game-changing results for companies.

    A culture of appreciation can bring a plethora of benefits like increased team morale, engagement, positive attitudes, and increased productivity. Sustain these benefits by tapping into team appreciation regularly.

    Rather than incorporating one-off activities, implement appreciation as a weekly or monthly action item. Furthermore, keep in mind that these activities should not be done to simply check a box. Create genuine moments of appreciation for your team regularly over time to create a culture of appreciation. 

    A strong culture will grow as you invest in interoffice relationships. Tap into this Harvard Business Review article, Making Relationship Work, for an inside look at how to do this. Referencing the John and Julie Gottman appreciation model, the article looks at how daily gratitude can be highly beneficial for teams. Plus, find specific examples of how to implement this among your remote work team!


    Unexpected Virtual Tours

    Show Your Employees Some Love With Unexpected Virtual Tours

    Virtual employee appreciation ideas are a fun and engaging way to celebrate your team and thank them for their hard work! With team building perks like growing communication skills, getting to know one another better, building morale, showing value, and more, employee appreciation ideas are a must-do for all remote teams!

    To explore more virtual team building and group activities, check out Unexpected Virtual Tours’ unique team building activities! Offering radically creative virtual team building events for remote work teams, Unexpected Virtual Tours will take your team to new places, expand your knowledge, and instill fun along the way. Plus, our experiences come with optional Treat Box add-ons that are the perfect way to treat team members. Check out our full selection of resources for remote teams today!


    Virtual Employee Appreciation Ideas FAQs

            1. What are virtual employee appreciation ideas?

    Virtual employee appreciation ideas are ways to thank team members for all that they contribute to your team. Appreciation ideas can be implemented amongst remote workers and hybrid teams alike. With a variety of activity types and themes, employee appreciation ideas are a creative way to boost team morale and company values. 


    Employee Appreciation Ideas

            1. What are some virtual team building activities that can be done remotely?

    Virtual team building activities that can be done remotely include delivering employee appreciations gifts like meals or fun treat boxes to employees’ front doors. In addition, teams can enjoy virtual events together including unique experiences and games. Thanks to today’s technology, there are no limits to virtual team building activities. Whatever your team enjoys doing together, enjoy doing it together virtually!


            1. How can I implement virtual rewards and recognition?

    Implement virtual rewards and recognition by sending employees surprise thank you’s. This can include meals, gift cards, event tickets, pet goodie boxes, and more. With proper planning, budget, and communication, implementing virtual rewards and recognition can be a breeze no matter how you wish to thank your staff.


            1. What are some virtual social events that can be organized for employees?

    Organize virtual social events like birthday and anniversary parties, happy hours, and award ceremonies. In addition, celebrate team wins like product launches or when you collectively reach a goal with a social event. Keep in mind, virtual social events can celebrate work and non-work related recognitions alike.


    Virtual Employee Appreciation

            1. How often should I show appreciation to my virtual employees?

    Appreciation should be shown to virtual employees often. Depending on your budget and team size, the frequency of events and goodies can fluctuate. To set a culture of appreciation amongst your company, we suggest including appreciation activities as frequently as monthly or quarterly for staff. Small gestures of gratitude can happen weekly, or even daily!


            1. What are some common mistakes to avoid when implementing virtual employee appreciation ideas?

    Avoid making mistakes such as not communicating expectations to employees. This can include not blocking time on staff calendars, which can cause disruption in their work week. In addition, be sure to have an up-to-date address on all employees if you plan to deliver items to their home. Finally, double check orders for custom items to ensure that each employee is receiving what is best for them.


    For more team building ideas, browse our Unexpected Virtual Tours team building guides and speciality guides like virtual diversity and inclusion activities.