A few little things you can do to show the office some love.

You work very hard to show your family and your friends just how much they mean to you. You strive to do the little things that let them know you appreciate the little things they do for you.

But what about the people with whom you spend eight plus hours a day?

The first Friday in March is Employee Appreciation Day. While this holiday is set aside specifically for bosses to give proper recognition to their employees, why stop there?

Here are 10 easy (and affordable) Employee Appreciation Day ideas and ways to show your coworkers that you really do appreciate them.

Say thank you.

This is an easy one. Saying “thank you,” whether you do it in person or with a thank you card or note, goes a long way. Even the most easy-going of people begin to feel frustrated when they believe their work goes unnoticed or unappreciated.

Take a mental inventory of the people you work with on a daily basis and try to come up with one special thing that person does for you or the team as a whole. It could be big, like tackling a big project, or tiny, like consistently putting paper into the copier. Then, give them a personal thank you for the effort. Even better, this Employee Appreciation Day idea doesn’t have to be limited to one day only - say thank you all year ‘round!

Bring in breakfast.

Many people rush to the office, trying to beat traffic and get to their desk on time. That means, they may skip a few steps on the way. You don’t have to line up a whole buffet with an omelet bar. Grab some bagels and cream cheese, croissants or Danish rolls. It’s always a popular treat and your coworkers will love you for it. Who doesn’t love free breakfast? Just be sure to let them know that you did it because you appreciate their hard work.

Bring in (good) coffee.

While we’re at it, how many people in your office drop $3 or more every day to get their little jolt of morning java? Sure, there’s a coffee maker in the break room, but chances are the boss isn’t ponying up for the good stuff.

Many of the most popular coffee chains and small, local roasters have coffee-to-go boxes that you can purchase to bring in to work. It’s easy, it’s not too expensive and it’s guaranteed to make your office happy, productive and...maybe a little jittery.

Offer to help.

You don’t have to spend any money at all to show your appreciation. Simply offer your assistance. Is there something you excel at that others could find useful? Perhaps you’re great at graphics or slick at putting together a Powerpoint. Think of those you’d like to thank and then try to think of something you could do to give them a hand.

Can’t think of anything specific? No need. You can just ask them how you can help and they may surprise you.

Give kudos in a meeting.

What’s better than receiving praise for a job well done? Hearing someone else give you praise for a job well done in front of coworkers and bosses. If you have coworkers who’ve gone above and beyond for you or your team, let the whole office know.

This is the Employee Appreciation Day idea that keeps on giving in the office world. When that person’s review comes up, your kudos may end up pushing that review in a positive direction.

Take them out for lunch.

This can be tough if you have a large group to thank, but even so, it’s worth it. If you’re planning on thanking a small group, try to plan a day when you can all go together. It promotes office bonding and is a chance for you to thank them all together.

If you’re looking at a larger group, you may want to stretch Employee Appreciation Day into a week or even a month. It can certainly help the budget and gives you a chance to interact on a more personal level with each one.

Clean up common areas.

Like it or not, people don’t really abide by the rules of etiquette in the office break room. You know how there are always has dishes in the sink? How about the microwave? Nasty. When is the last time you did your part? Take a few minutes out of your day to do a good cleaning of the area. Make the coffee. They’re little things, but your coworkers will appreciate the effort.

Even if you have a cleaning person that comes in to do these things, shouldn’t you be grateful to that person, too? They’ll love you for it.

Ask a personal follow-up question.

You have conversations with your coworkers all the time. Much of the talk is about work and different projects. But, sometimes things get personal. One coworker tells you about his daughter’s softball game. Another mentions that she’s shopping for a different car.

Take a moment to think of those conversations and ask a personal follow-up question. Did your daughter’s team win? Did you finally settle on a car? What kind?

A question of this kind is just one of the ways to show that you actually listen to your co-workers and pay attention to the details that they tell you about their lives outside of work. They’ll appreciate that.

Creative candy.

Of course, you could bring in a bag of Hershey’s Miniature’s (who doesn’t love those?) But, if you do, why not print off the Hershey’s Miniature Personality Indicator? Your coworkers will have fun debating which choice is best and if that really fits their personalities.

Or, take the time to turn some delicious candy into art. There is no shortage of ideas out there for fun and creative candy projects. It’s fun, relatively cheap, and they’ll instantly know that you took some of your own time to make something nice for them.

Small gift cards.

If all your ideas for Employee Appreciation Day seem to be expensive, just scale back! You don’t have to drop $100 on a gift card to say, “Hey, thanks for all you do.” It can be just $5 or $10. The acknowledgement is worth more than the money itself.

Go the extra mile and make it personal. Does Debbie listen to music at her desk all day? Give her a gift card to iTunes. Dominic comes in with a Starbucks latte every morning? Easy.

By choosing a gift card that is specific to the individual, it becomes much more personal (plus, you know they’ll use it). What’s not to love about that?

Since Friday, March 3rd is Employee Appreciation Day, this is the perfect time to show your employees or coworkers just how much you appreciate them. Once you see those delighted reactions, you may decide to do it on a regular basis. You can never be too grateful for good co-workers.

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