20+ Fun Remote Employee Recognition Ideas For A Happy Team

This ultimate guide shares several remote employee recognition ideas and tools.

Gone are the days of high-fives in the office. Now, our workspaces stretch from kitchen tables to cozy corner cafes. But how do we say ‘thank you’ in ways that matter when our teams are scattered far and wide?

Giving out the best parking spot or hosting a food truck day won’t work for people who don’t go into the office. Instead, you have to put thought into creating a well-rounded remote employee recognition strategy. When you’re intentional about employee engagement, people will feel empowered to keep doing their best. To help you craft your appreciation strategy, this guide will explore the following:

From workplace giving to digital shoutouts, we’ll cover everything your company needs to show appreciation in ways that work around geographical barriers.

Learn more about our favorite remote employee recognition idea: eCards.

Why Remote Employee Recognition Matters

Nearly 64% of employees believe that employee appreciation is more important in a remote work environment. Beyond making employees feel valued, what other positive effects does showing appreciation have on your remote workers and your business? Here’s a rundown of the benefits:

  • Greater Engagement: Employees who receive regular rewards are eight times more engaged. Even quick, regular shoutout emails will boost morale!
  • Higher Retention: Around half of employees would leave a company that didn’t praise them for their work. Calling out hard work is vital for retaining remote employees, especially considering that they contribute an average of 50% more overtime than those working in the office.
  • Better performance: For one, engaged employees are absent 41% less than their unengaged peers. What’s more, 77% of employees believe a strong workplace culture empowers them to do their best work. When employees do well, that leads to higher profitability. In fact, companies that commit to creating a strong culture increase profits by 23% according to that same resource.

A positive company culture shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially in a remote environment. You want your work-from-home employees to feel like a vital part of your company.

Philanthropy-Focused Remote Employee Appreciation Ideas

Recognizing employees by contributing to a cause they care about can be deeply rewarding. In fact, 71% of employees think it’s important for their companies to give back through philanthropy, making corporate giving a pivotal engagement tactic.

Use the following programs as a way to reward remote employees and show that you support their values.

Matching Gift Programs

Corporate matching gift programs are a dynamic way to recognize the hard work and achievements of remote employees while amplifying their positive impact on society. When an employee donates to a nonprofit, your company will match the donation at a certain ratio, effectively doubling (or even tripling) the contribution. This not only increases the financial support to the chosen cause but also enhances the employee’s connection to the company.

When your company offers a matching gift program to remote employees, you promise to match their charitable contributions.

By using matching gifts as a remote employee recognition strategy, your company shows that it cares about its employees’ values. Matching gifts ultimately bridge the geographical and emotional distance that can sometimes exist in remote work settings, fostering a culture of shared purpose.

Download our matching gift guide, so you can create a corporate giving program as part of your remote employee recognition strategy.

Virtual Volunteerism

A virtual volunteer program enables remote employees to contribute to different nonprofits without needing to be physically present. Your company will need to leverage digital volunteer platforms to enable them to engage in opportunities like:

  • Virtual tutoring and mentoring
  • Designing nonprofit websites or creating videos
  • Offering legal advice
  • Creating digital marketing collateral for a nonprofit

Explore virtual volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch to find a variety of opportunities that cater to employees’ different interests.

Virtual volunteering highlights the value each employee adds to the company while supporting their personal growth and desire to make a positive impact. Take this remote employee recognition strategy further by offering volunteer time off (VTO) so they can volunteer during work hours.

Employee Volunteer Grants

For a less effortful approach to corporate volunteerism, offer volunteer grants. When your company offers this corporate giving program, you’ll reward remote employees by providing monetary donations to nonprofits where they volunteer their time, effectively turning volunteer hours into financial support.

Show remote employees you appreciate their contributions outside of the workplace by offering volunteer grants.

Employees can volunteer wherever they want, reinforcing the idea that your company supports their values. Of course, you’ll still need to set nonprofit eligibility requirements, hours requirements, and grant amounts.

Charitable Giving Stipends

Give remote employees a set amount to donate to their chosen charity, directly linking recognition with personal values and community impact. You can reward everyone with a stipend every quarter or year, or use it as a performance-based incentive.

This virtual employee appreciation idea empowers employees to support causes they’re passionate about and inspires them to engage in workplace giving.

Smart Remote Employee Recognition Ideas

Let’s look at a mix of traditional and innovative recognition ideas that lend themselves well to a virtual environment.

Virtual Shoutouts

Digital shoutouts bake recognition into people’s daily workflows. Our favorite way to do this is with eCards.

Send your remote employees recognition eCards like these examples.

These digital expressions of appreciation work for several reasons:

  • Versatility: You can customize them and send them to celebrate personal milestones (such as birthdays and anniversaries) and professional accomplishments (like completing a major project, exceeding targets, or demonstrating exceptional teamwork).
  • Peer-to-peer recognition capabilities: Colleagues can easily send eCards to one another, fostering a culture of appreciation and support that transcends physical distances.
  • Convenience and instant deliverability: There’s no need to print out or physically send greeting cards when everything’s done online. You can send eCards directly to recipients’ email addresses or schedule them to be sent later to correspond with important days.

Plus, our preferred platform, eCardWidget, will send managers and company leaders copies of sent eCards. Check out this video from the eCardWidget team to learn just how impactful eCards are for virtual employee appreciation:

Whether you use eCards to encourage actions aligned with company values or share positive customer feedback, these work as a fun, interactive remote employee recognition strategy. Plus, you’ll give employees a memorable keepsake!

eCardWidget is the best remote employee recognition tool.

Higher Pay

When your employees do well, their paychecks should reflect that. A strong compensation package is one of the top ways employees prefer to receive appreciation from their employers. Specifically, Astron Solutions explains that organizations are turning to flat-dollar bonuses to recognize and reward individual and team performance.

A strong compensation package for remote employees includes competitive salaries, comprehensive health benefits, flexible work hours, professional development opportunities, performance incentives, and support for a comfortable home office, along with perks like wellness programs that address the unique challenges of remote work.

Remote Employee Recognition Board

A remote employee recognition board is a virtual platform where you can publicly celebrate remote employees’ achievements, milestones, and exceptional contributions. Think of it as a digital wall of fame, showcasing everything from project completions to personal accolades. It fosters a culture of peer-to-peer appreciation across the organization.

Your eCards are a perfect opportunity to curate shoutouts. For a real-world example, our team uses this strategy to recognize remote and hybrid employees. We host a monthly all-hands meeting in which we share recent eCards on a virtual “Bravo Board.”

A screenshot of our company's virtual Bravo Board, which serves as a hybrid and remote employee recognition strategy

You can read all about our approach in our blog post that shares how we infuse eCards into our workplace culture.

Virtual Awards Ceremony

A virtual awards ceremony is an online event designed to celebrate remote employees’ achievements, mirroring the pomp and circumstance of traditional in-person ceremonies in a digital space. Using video conferencing tools, these ceremonies can include speeches and presentations of employee awards such as:

  • Employee of the Month/Year
  • Master of Work-Life Balance
  • Exceptional Leadership Award
  • Virtual Event Planner Extraordinaire
  • Digital Communication Wizard

Fun awards will make it a special occasion for everyone. This unique event brings everyone together to celebrate collective and individual successes, no matter where they are in the world.

Remote Team Events

Celebrate team achievements by bringing everyone together virtually for a fun experience. For example, you might host a cocktail-making session, a virtual tour of an international city, an online game night, or a digital art class. Focus it on your employees’ interests to make it a remote employee recognition idea everyone can get behind.

Personalized Appreciation Videos

Create custom video messages to acknowledge remote employees’ achievements. These videos can feature messages from managers and colleagues, offering heartfelt thanks for specific accomplishments.

You can even get creative and buy a Cameo from an employee’s favorite celebrity or influencer. On Cameo, browse thousands of stars who use the platform and tell them what to say in a personalized video. Since prices can be high, save this remote employee recognition idea for top performers, like your employee of the month.

Increased Work Environment Flexibility

One of the biggest reasons people pursue remote work is its flexibility. By giving employees greater control over their work hours and locations, you acknowledge their ability to manage their own time and responsibilities.

This approach demonstrates trust and respect for the individual’s work-life balance and personal commitments, empowering them to optimize job satisfaction and productivity. Forbes shares that flexible hours are the top desired fringe benefit for remote workers. Meanwhile, in a remote work study by FlexJobs, respondents believe work flexibility would increase their overall quality of life. Of 800 respondents, here are the key findings:

A summary of flexible work condition statistics, emphasizing why increased flexibility is a smart remote employee recognition idea

  • 80% said flexibility would enhance mental health.
  • 83% said it would decrease their stress levels.
  • 67% said they’d be able to spend more time exercising.
  • 92% believe having flexibility makes (or could make) them happier.

So, flexibility not only acts as a remote employee appreciation strategy but also supports well-being.


Celebrate personal milestones like birthdays, work anniversaries, births, and adoptions with a weekly or monthly newsletter. The frequency will depend on your company’s size and the number of big life events happening. You’ll publicly acknowledge your remote employees while inspiring everyone to strive for success.

You don’t need to have a graphic designer for this remote employee recognition idea either. Get started by using a newsletter template from Canva or Adobe!

Well-Being Programs

Set aside a day for remote employees to participate in online activities focused on mental and physical health, such as meditation sessions, fitness classes, and wellness workshops. For instance, you might offer presentations on self-care and provide ergonomic tips for enhancing work-from-home environments.

You can even launch a dedicated well-being program. Double the Donation’s employee engagement guide suggests using a platform like Givhero to launch personalized health challenges and easily track activities like exercise and meditation time via Apple Health and other integrations. With social engagement features like applause and badges, peers can cheer one another on!

For a health-based approach to remote employee recognition, give employees access to a wellness app.

Encourage healthier lifestyles and show appreciation for remote employees by investing in their well-being.

A Slack/Teams Channel

To emphasize peer-to-peer recognition, create a dedicated Slack or Microsoft Teams channel for remote employee appreciation. This approach enables colleagues and management to quickly publicly celebrate each other’s achievements, milestones, and contributions.

This digital space fosters a culture of recognition and positivity within the remote work environment, enabling spontaneous shoutouts and words of encouragement. For example, Voxpopme has a Slack channel called #boom, where employees can high-five each other by highlighting internal successes.

Thoughtful Virtual Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas

Some employees may enjoy tangible expressions of appreciation. Let’s explore six popular and data-backed employee recognition gifts.

Professional Development Opportunities

According to eCardWidget’s remote employee recognition guide, 74% of surveyed employees feel they aren’t reaching their full potential in the workplace because of a lack of development opportunities. What’s more, 34% of employees who left their roles did so to secure more development opportunities.

Show your remote employees you care about their development by offering access to training, courses, workshops, or conferences that support their career growth. You might even create a budget for each employee, allowing them to pick external skill-development opportunities.

A Home Office Upgrade

You want remote employees to feel comfortable working from home, so why not help them out by upgrading their home office? Provide funds to buy office chairs, monitors, an ergonomic mouse, or a sit-stand desk converter.

Custom Gift Box

You’ve probably sent gift boxes to customers, but what about your remote employees? Send them a care package with snacks, coffee, and company swag.

Think about their interests and what they’d enjoy. For example, you might create a fun movie night bundle with a Fandango gift card and classic movie snacks like popcorn and candy! Send these remote employee recognition boxes as welcome, anniversary, milestone, congratulations, or get-well gifts!

Choose-Your-Own Incentives

Use a recognition platform where remote employees can earn points redeemable for prizes, such as:

  • Experiences like events or cooking classes
  • Donations to charity
  • Travel vouchers that can be used for flights and hotels
  • Tech gadgets like headphones, smartwatches, or fitness trackers
  • Gift cards for popular retailers, restaurants, and online stores

To earn points, employees will need to complete certain actions, acting as a form of positive reinforcement. Choose-your-own-incentive platforms enable employees to select meaningful rewards, ensuring recognition efforts are personalized.

Monthly Subscriptions

Offering monthly subscriptions as a recognition strategy for remote employees provides ongoing access to services or products aligned with their interests or needs. This could include:

  • Streaming platforms
  • Meal kit delivery services, like those from HelloFresh
  • Meditation apps
  • Gym or class memberships

This approach delivers continuous appreciation and personalizes the recognition experience, making employees feel understood on a deeper level.

Gift Cards to Local Companies

Let remote and hybrid employees know you care by sending them gift cards to businesses in their area. Look up popular companies where they are. Then, send a virtual gift card, or call the company to put a gift card on hold for them.

Make this virtual employee appreciation gift extra special by considering each employee’s interests. You might buy gift cards for mini golf, restaurants, ice cream shops, or coffee shops!

Tools to Power Your Remote Employee Recognition

Reduce the administrative work of virtual employee appreciation with specialized software. Our employee engagement software guide lists several popular platforms, but here’s a rundown of key software that’ll simplify your appreciation strategy:

There are several tools that can power your remote employee recognition ideas listed below.

  • CSR software like Millie or POINT is ideal for offering philanthropy-focused remote employee recognition ideas. It enables you to manage employee donations, promote volunteer opportunities, and track the impact of your CSR efforts. We recommend leveraging a platform that integrates with our auto-submission feature to inspire employees to take advantage of your company’s matching gift offering.
  • An eCard platform like eCardWidget will enable you to deliver customized eCards to celebrate remote employees’ successes. Kickstart your design with the premade templates, and use eCardWidget’s library of graphics, animations, fonts, and colors to create standout designs.
  • An employee wellness app like Givhero enables you to launch mental and physical health challenges, like steps challenges. With an app like this, your company can support employees’ well-being. Your company can even donate to employees’ preferred charities through the platform as a gesture of appreciation to any remote workers who participate.
  • A choose-your-own-incentives platform like Bonusly or Nectar enables employees to earn and redeem points based on their actions in the workplace. These remote employee recognition platforms offer curated catalogs of rewards employees can choose from.
  • Virtual volunteering databases like VolunteerMatch consolidate volunteer opportunities. Use this platform to find virtual opportunities for employees or to encourage in-person volunteering wherever they’re located.

Platforms like these are well-suited for remote and hybrid work environments, helping bridge the gap between dispersed team members.

Final Thoughts on Virtual Employee Appreciation

Recognizing remote employees isn’t just about acknowledging hard work; it’s about creating a culture of appreciation that transcends physical distances and fosters a sense of community. Whether through personalized eCards, flexible work environments, or thoughtful gifts, the goal is to make every team member feel valued and connected.

To continue creating a rewarding work environment, explore these resources:

Explore our recommended remote employee recognition platform: eCardWidget.