Employers across the pond have been celebrating their staff on the first Friday of every March for the last 25 years.
Thanks to social media, Employee Appreciation Day is now an international event, with companies all over the world chiming in to show their gratitude to the people who work for them.
This year Employee Appreciation Day falls on Friday 5 March, but of course you don't have to wait for a particular day of the year to show your workforce how much they mean to you. With three lockdowns in the last 12 months, the hard workers of the UK surely deserve to be appreciated every day.
Before the pandemic, employers could treat their staff to perks like free take-away pizza, beer, quizzes, at-desk massages and sports competitions to boost morale and build relationships - but is it so easy now that staff are at home?
Although it may take more resources or ingenuity to organise treats and socials for homeworkers, it is possible and - if anything, more important than ever. People can quickly start to feel isolated when they're working from home, so making an extra special effort to put on events and surprises is a great way of involving everyone and keeping that company spirit alive.
Happy employees = higher business productivity
According to a study by Warwick University, higher levels of happiness made people around 12% more productive.
Of course, it takes more than free beers on a Friday to make a person happy in their role. Open communication, good management and a pleasant working environment all matter too. Here are our ideas for ways to appreciate your employees on any day of the year:
1. Provide work from home equipment
This should be a priority, not a perk - but it's surprising how many companies aren't looking after their staff at the most basic level. A great way to let staff know they're valued is to give them the right tools to do their jobs comfortably.
2. Offer free wellbeing resources
Empower staff to take care of their wellbeing with free infographics and advice sheets they can use to make small tweaks that make a huge difference to how they feel at work. Browse our helpful resources and share them with your staff.
3. Send hampers
Nothing says 'thank you' like cheese, crackers and wine. Include a thank-you note in each one to really make your staff feel valued.
4. An early finish
Employee Appreciation Day doesn't fall on a Friday for nothing. Let staff go home an hour or two early to enjoy an extended weekend.
5. Free hot drinks
Send out codes and gift cards for local coffee shops so staff can order in a delicious hot beverage to give the day a little pizzazz.
6. Video quiz
Arrange a virtual social with a themed quiz after work. It's a great chance to see your colleagues outside of the work environment and let your hair down a bit with some healthy competition.
7. A thank you email
Keep things simple with a thank you email. Often we forget to show one another gratitude, so taking the time to think about what your staff have done that stands out can be very motivating.
8. Shout-outs to recognise good work
Ask staff to nominate colleagues who've gone above and beyond for them. Offer a a fun prize for all nominees.
9. Fun photo competition
Ask staff to send in photos and display all entries on your company website/social media/SharePoint.