8 Employee Appreciation Day Ideas for Remote Employees

More and more businesses are searching for great Employee Appreciation Day ideas for remote employees.

That’s because the percentage of the labor force who primarily work from home tripled between 2019 and 2021. According to research from Zippia, 26% of U.S. employees now work remotely and 16% of U.S. companies are fully remote.

While remote work can improve work-life balance, it also poses a unique challenge when it comes to the art of employee appreciation.

Luckily, virtual employee appreciation is not difficult at all – it just requires a bit more effort, coordination, and creativity from management and HR. Many traditional methods of employee appreciation, such as annual Employee Appreciation Day celebrations, can easily be adapted for the digital workplace.

An employee recognition board, for example, can become a virtual recognition wall. A virtual awards program can be set up to replace an in-person employee awards ceremony. A virtual group tour can take the place of an employee field trip. Custom employee care packages can help replace office treats like free coffee and snacks.

When is Employee Appreciation Day 2023?

Employee Appreciation Day is observed nationally on the first Friday of March each year. Employee Appreciation Day 2023 will be held on Friday, March 3rd.

Fully remote companies, and corporations with a large remote workforce, may also choose to celebrate Remote Employee Appreciation Day on Friday, September 22, 2023.

Regardless of which day of the year that you choose to celebrate…you’ll need some fun and engaging Employee Appreciation Day ideas for remote employees. Some popular (and outside-the-box ways) to demonstrate appreciation and regard for remote teams include:

Remote Employee Appreciation Day Idea #1 – Extra Time Off & Wellness Gift

One of the easiest and most effective ways to show your appreciation is by giving your remote team some extra R & R. This includes an extra half day (or more) of personal time.

Don’t forget to send them a wellness care package, spa or massage gift certificate, virtual ergonomic consultation, or other wellness-themed gift like a wearable sleep tracker or a subscription to a mindfulness and meditation app like Calm or Headspace.

Remote Employee Appreciation Day Idea #2 – Virtual Mocktail Class

Online wine tastings and virtual happy hours with trivia are a popular way to help remote employees relax, socialize, and connect with their colleagues via Zoom or other video conferencing software. However, they can be an awkward social event for employees who don’t drink. For a healthier alternative, organize a virtual mocktail mixology class for your remote team.

Attendees of a virtual mocktail mixology class learn how to create delicious cocktail alternatives that incorporate superfoods and naturally relaxing herbs like hops, lavender, lemon balm, and chamomile.

This experiential gift pairs well with craft mixers and custom barware.

Remote Employee Appreciation Day Idea #3 – The Gift of Travel

Employee Appreciation Day Ideas - travel promotional items swag

When planning your next Remote Employee Appreciation Day, consider giving your staff the opportunity and financial incentive to travel for pleasure.

Many remote employees appreciate their location flexibility, which makes it easier to spend more quality time with their family and friends – and visit new places. According to a recent survey, 23% percent of American remote workers said they had taken extended trips (of 10+ days) as a result of working remotely.

When it comes to the gift of travel, make sure your employees have the flexibility to go wherever they want, whenever they’d like. Consider giving them a travel stipend. Or purchase a gift card that can be used for a future vacation or workcation like an Airbnb gift card, which never expires.

To round out a great travel-themed gift, make sure to send your remote staff some customized luggage or other travel gear.

Remote Employee Appreciation Day Idea #4 – Virtual Escape Room & Meal Delivery

A virtual escape room party is a popular, interactive online event that’s perfect for hybrid and remote workplaces. Much like an in-person escape room, participants work together to discover clues and solve a series of puzzles and challenges.

Virtual escape rooms are a fun, creative way to connect with colleagues in a casual environment. They’re an ideal virtual Employee Appreciation Day idea for team building and engagement.

While your employees are busy solving puzzles and collectively brainstorming ways to “escape,” make sure they are well fed. Use a corporate meal delivery service like DoorDash for Work to send lunch or arrange for a food gift basket or gift box to arrive before the event.

Remote Employee Appreciation Day Idea #5 – Volunteer PTO & Charitable Donation

Looking for a unique Employee Appreciation Day idea that works well for both in-person and remote staff? Surprise your staff with additional volunteer PTO so they can give back to the non-profit organization of their choice, either online or in their local communities.

Millennials and Gen Z expect the businesses they work for to be committed to corporate social responsibility. A robust corporate social responsibility program should always include plenty of opportunities for employer-sponsored volunteering.

We suggest packaging this non-traditional gift with a handwritten card or note expressing your gratitude and thanks for their hard work and dedication. Be sure to also make a charitable donation in their name or match their employee volunteer service hours with monetary donations.

Remote Employee Appreciation Day Idea #6 – Metaverse (or Mixed Reality) Party

Employee Appreciation Day Ideas for Remote Employees VR

During a typical Virtual Reality or VR office party, employees wear virtual reality headsets and use handheld controllers to navigate a shared virtual environment. Employees can interact with each other and participate in virtual team building activities and games like virtual laser tag.

However, because VR can cause motion sickness and headaches for many people, a virtual party should always be accessible without a VR headset and controller.

Consider planning a metaverse party instead that doesn’t require the use of a VR headset – yet still makes it possible for employees to interact in an immersive 3D virtual space. Large corporations with both in-office and remote workers can also experiment with hosting a mixed reality party for Employee Appreciation Day.  

The best employee gift for a metaverse party? Digital fashion aka NFT wearables, of course.

Remote Employee Appreciation Day Idea #7 – Personalized Experiential Gift

Experiential gifts are an excellent employee appreciation gift option. Popular experiential gifts include:

  • Sports or Concert Tickets
  • Museum, Public Aquarium, or Planetarium Membership
  • Restaurant Gift Cards/Gift Certificates
  • Home Golf Simulator
  • Vineyard Tour
  • Digital Detox Retreat
  • Indoor Axe Throwing
  • Live Virtual City Tour
  • Online Art or Music Lessons

When it comes to experiential gifts, it’s important to consider the individual interests of each employee. Avoid gifting an experience that an employee might not be able to use (e.g. don’t give a hot-air balloon ride or skydiving lessons to someone who is afraid of heights).

Always choose experiences that employees can enjoy in or near their local communities (or online).

Remote Employee Appreciation Day Idea #8 – The Gift of Choice

Most remote workers highly value their autonomy.

Before your next Remote Employee Appreciation Day celebration, send out a company-wide survey to find out what type of celebration your employees really want.

Allow them to choose their own gifts and gift cards from an online company store.

Employee Appreciation is Worth the Investment

Regular employee appreciation and recognition can improve productivity, work engagement, and retention, among in-person and remote workers alike.

For additional employee appreciation gift ideas, check out our guide to Unique Employee Appreciation Day Gifts.

Get Employee Appreciation Day ideas for remote employees at your company or an online company store consultation, by contacting Metron Branding today: