10 last-minute employee appreciation ideas for #EmployeeAppreciationDay

Employee appreciation day has arrived! And whilst we think it’s important to make sure staff feel appreciate all year round for the work they do every day, it’s still a great idea to get behind a social media day that gives the perfect excuse to do something a little bit ‘extra’ to say thanks.

By: Sinead Healy on

But what can you plan for your workers if you’ve left the planning to last minute? Managers are busy, as are HR departments, so you wouldn’t be the only ones scrambling to get something planned in time.

So, whether you’re about to host your 10th employee appreciation day activities, or want to do something to show a little gratitude for the first time, here are 10 last-minute employee appreciation day ideas to get you started.

Get the pizzas in

Starting off with something simple but that’s bound to be appreciated. Ordering in a mound of pizzas at lunch for workers is a simple way to show a little extra thanks. You could even take it further by getting them delivered for late afternoon and telling everyone to shut down their computers for the rest of the day too.

Just don’t forget the vegetarian options.

Call in a food truck

Something a little less obvious but still appealing to the stomaches of your employees, you could quite easily ring round a few local food vans and see if they’d be happy pitching up right outside the workplace for an hour at lunch. Naturally, this one’s on the company, and it’s bound to generate a few selfies for social media too.

Impromptu cocktail making class

Now we know for some companies, the idea of paying an external source to ply employees with alcohol is the stuff of nightmares (and potential policy conflict). But for businesses that are quite open to a Friday afternoon pint at the desk, see if you can get a mobile cocktail maker to stop by the office for the few hours and teach everyone how to make some cocktails.


Did you know that some professional PlayStation gamers can make millions of pounds a year? Now we’re not saying you have to offer a prize kitty on those terms, but spending a couple of hours from the working day hosting an e-tournament could be a great and cost-effective way to spread some cheer and induce some friendly competition. And if the office doesn’t have a games console, maybe it’s time to make use of that Prime account.

Table tennis

Table tennis, pool, ice-hockey… whatever you think your employees may enjoy the most, if there’s space in the office for some recreational tabletop sports then why not get one for the office? You could even buy two and form a competition to see which team can build theirs the fastest.


If you’re a smaller business or just looking to take celebrate employee appreciation day team by team then there’s always fun to be had down at the local bowling alley. And there’s a good chance they’ll have some lanes free during the working day for a last-minute ‘I’ve been planning this for months’ treat.

Start a yearbook

You can make employee appreciation day the start of a new workplace tradition! Hire a photo booth to be set-up in the office, maybe even buy some silly props and have all your employees take pictures for a new workplace yearbook.

Breakfast pastries

If you’ve given yourself enough time to prep for employee appreciation day that you have time to organise breakfast then you’re already winning. Who wouldn’t appreciate getting to work to find the office smelling of croissants and fresh coffee? A great way to start the day and a simple, cost-effective way to say thanks to staff for their ongoing efforts.

Bring the carwash to the car park

If the majority of your employees hop in the car to get to work then there’s literally a car park full of opportunity to show a little appreciation to staff by hiring a mobile car wash company to stop by and make every motor look good as new by the end of the working day.

It shouldn’t cost too much to do (unless, of course, you have thousands of employees on-site), and it’s an employee-relevant way to show some appreciation. We know you drive here every day and probably picked up a couple of dents or a flat tyre or two over the years, so here’s a little something we can do in return.

Simply say thanks!

As you’ll often hear us saying, nothing is more powerful at work than actually feeling recognised for your work and appreciated by colleagues and managers. So you can harness that powerful emotion and take time out of the day to say thank you to staff.

Read more: The power of employee recognition in 5 stats

You could do this to groups and teams or individually, or create a mini activity where employees are encouraged to say what they appreciate about a colleague (or even their manager!)

It’s free, it doesn’t take much time and everyone will feel more appreciated as a result. After all, that is the idea behind the hashtag!