Author Profile Picture

Sinead Healy

Fanclub Recognition

Co-founder & MD

Read more about Sinead Healy

10 quirky employee appreciation ideas

Bring some fun to staff this National Employee Appreciation day with these quirky ideas
Employee appreciation

Workers who feel appreciated are more driven, productive and more loyal in the long-run too but when it comes to showing staff that they are important to the company it can be tough to know what is too much or too little.

Often employees themselves will suggest ideas for suitable appreciation efforts such as gifting them something from a particular brand they like or hobby they’re passionate about. It’s also great to celebrate an entire team for a collective achievement over a sustained period. The more relatable, personable and authentic the appreciation, the greater the impact. So, here are 10 quirky ways to show appreciation to your workforce, from small gestures to grander plans: 

1. Deliver some tasty treats

Food is a really simple and relatively inexpensive way to show some thanks to a team or entire office for work well done or going the extra mile. While in the past you might have organised a food truck, hot-dog stand or ice cream van to stop by outside the office, virtual working has changed things.

If your people are mostly remote working, why not treat everyone to what they fancy via an online delivery service. There are many to choose from and tt is bound to surprise and delight employees and show that you’ve really thought about doing something a bit different, and a bit special. 

Social media has given birth to plenty of weird and wacky ‘national days’ but why not organise a specific celebration?

2. Rescue puppies

If bring your dog to work day is too much hassle or the workplace really isn’t all that animal-friendly, you could get in contact with a local animal sanctuary or rehoming centre to invite some of their residents in for a visit. This is a great morale-boosting exercise and way to alleviate some of the pressures of the week by spending some time with animals – proven to help reduce stress and anxiety. Just make sure to do a puppy-count when they’re leaving! 

3. Fundraise matching

Whilst some companies may think to work for their brand is the core passion in an employees’ life, it’s likely they also have other passions that they care deeply about. For workers who are openly supporting charitable causes, this presents a prime opportunity for managers to show that they appreciate both the employee and their cause by offering support or making a financial pledge to match funds raised.

4. Social media days

Christmas jumper day, bring your dog to work day, national pizza day…the list goes on. Social media has given birth to plenty of weird and wacky ‘national days’ but why not organise a specific celebration? 

These are all great inspiration to plan a surprise in the office, have a little fun and show a little appreciation at the same time. Something like national pizza day speaks for itself. Others like #RandomActsofKindnessDay could be developed into an annual workplace event where employees are encouraged to do one random act of kindness. That could be cleaning a colleagues desk, or giving some time towards a charity or local cause. 

5. Clocking off early…on a Monday?

Most line managers will have noticed production start to dwindle somewhat as the sun sets on the working week and early Friday finishes can be quite commonplace. But why not surprise your workforce by announcing an impromptu early end to a cold and dreary Monday, or perhaps a sunnier than usual Wednesday? 

6. Go on holiday already!

Most employees will work frantically right up until they go on holiday to make sure their to-do list is clear, projects up to date and handovers complete. But it would be a great and easy way to show some appreciation to a worker who has contributed a lot to let them leave early (once they’re satisfied every loose end has been tied up) and to go and have a great time.

7. DJ for the day

A fun and easy way to have some fun in the office is to nominate an employee to be the DJ for the day. No equipment needed, just control of the radio or Spotify playlist! Just remember that employees who favour heavy metal music shouldn’t be excluded from the initiative…

8. Company TEDtalk

Engaged employees love learning and what greater way to inspire them further than by organising your company’s very own TEDx event? Invite an expert in the industry you’re in or a true motivational speaker. Or invite a customer or client to explain what they’re working on and how the company has helped them do it, driving home the purpose behind what the organisation does every day. 

9. Company sports day

Egg and spoon at the ready, jumpers for goalposts, three-legged race anyone? Company sports days are a fantastic way to have some fun and do a bit of team building in the process. Events on offer can be as low-key as hula-hooping contests or a speed-chess competition or a little more expansive by hiring out a running track or sporting venue. The choice is yours! Just make sure there are ways for everyone to participate. 

10. Team day out

If a team has really gone above and beyond for a sustained period, met or exceeded all their targets and moved as one to reach their goals, then surprise them all with a team day out − on the house. 

Now we’re not talking the same activities that school excursions used to be  although some employees may enjoy visiting an old mine or textile museum. There should be plenty of opportunities to provide a team day out that is related to the business and its offering, from educational visits to a space telescope or art gallery through to group tickets for a sporting event. Or even the largest table at the local steak house (with vegetarian options). 

Whatever you decide to do, making the effort to show employees they are valued will always go a long way in boosting the company culture and wellbeing of all the staff – including you.

Interested in this topic? Read Employee benefits: The secret to keeping employees passionate about work.

Author Profile Picture
Sinead Healy

Co-founder & MD

Read more from Sinead Healy

Get the latest from HRZone.

Subscribe to expert insights on how to create a better workplace for both your business and its people.


Thank you.

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to HRZone's newsletter