Show the office some love.

You work hard to show your family and 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 you spend eight hours a day with?

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 co-workers 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 desks on time. That means they may skip a few steps along 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 co-workers 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 and bring in to work. It’s easy, not too expensive, and guaranteed to make your office happy, productive, and...maybe a little jittery.

Offer to help

You don’t always have to spend money 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 always 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 in front of co-workers and bosses is a great feeling. If you have co-workers 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 to lunch 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 will give you a chance to interact on a more personal level with each one.

Clean up common areas

Like it or not, people don’t always abide by the rules of etiquette in the office break room. You know how there are always 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 too. These are little things, but your co-workers will appreciate the effort.

Even if you have a cleaning person who 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 co-workers all the time, and much of that talk is about work and different projects. But sometimes, things get personal. One co-worker 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 Miniatures (who doesn’t love those?), but if you do, why not customize them? Your co-workers will appreciate the extra effort you put in to create that personal touch.

Or, take the time to turn some delicious candy into art. There is no shortage of ideas out there for creative candy projects. It’s fun, relatively cheap, and your co-workers will 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.” You can say it with just $5 or $10. The acknowledgment 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?

This Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect time to show your employees or co-workers 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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