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10 Creative Ways to Celebrate Your Employees’ Birthdays Remotely

Celebrating your team members’ birthdays in 2021 looks a little different than in years past, but it is still an important way to cultivate team culture, boost morale and improve your business’s bottom line. Celebrating employee birthdays shows that you care and can serve as a great motivator for employees to do their best at work.

A 2019 study from talent advisory company Kincentric found that rewards and recognition were the strongest drivers of workplace engagement aside from pay and benefits. Recognition is also tied to lower turnover and higher performance at work. Celebrating your employees’ birthdays is a simple yet effective way to reward your team members, improve engagement and boost workplace productivity.

But at this point, many employees are continuing to work remotely or work hybrid schedules. This means the way you used to celebrate birthdays in the office might no longer be possible. Here are 10 ways to celebrate your employees’ birthdays remotely that’ll help them feel recognized and appreciated at work while improving outcomes for your business.

1. Wine tasting and virtual happy hour

Choose from one of many wine tasting companies, or reach out to a local vineyard and have tasting-sized wines sent to your employees’ homes. Get together online, drink wine and celebrate your employee for a fun, new take on virtual happy hour.

2. Airbnb getaway for the weekend

Some people don’t love being the center of attention on their birthday. Recognizing this and organizing a birthday for your worker that suits them shows you’re paying attention and truly care about your team. A weekend getaway in nature can be the perfect gift for someone who loves spending time outside or whose idea of a good time doesn’t include large celebrations with coworkers.

3. At-home relaxation kit

Sending a basket of at-home relaxation supplies can be the perfect way to celebrate that one employee who never seems to take a break from work. This gift shows your employee that you recognize their efforts and encourages them to take some much-needed time off to relax.

Consider including a candle, a facial roller, a calming playlist or a virtual meditation or yoga video to help your employee unwind and reset. If you want to save time and brainpower, consider ordering a premade spa gift basket to your employee’s home.

4. Play a game of online trivia

Get the team together for a friendly game of online trivia to celebrate your employees who have a strong competitive spirit. Online trivia is a strong team-building activity that spices up an average virtual happy hour. Plus your employee who loves competing will appreciate a birthday celebration that reflects their idea of a fun time.

5. Organize a paint and sip class

A virtual paint and sip class is a good remote birthday celebration for those who love exploring their creative side. Send a canvas, some paint and a beverage to your employees’ homes and let your creative juices flow. You can hire an online instructor who will lead your team through a series of simple steps that will leave everyone with a fun piece of art they can treasure forever.

6. Get together for virtual pictionary

For those who are both creative and competitive, virtual pictionary is the perfect birthday party activity. All you need for this activity is a timer, a random word generator and Zoom’s white board feature. This activity is a great way for team members to connect and take a break from their day to day work routine.

7. Send a singing telegram

Hire a singing telegram and deliver a birthday tune wherever your employee works from home. Singing telegrams can be funny, affordable and a touching way to show your employee that you’re thinking about them on their special day.

8. Collaborate on a playlist

Have each member of your team choose one or two songs and create a personalized playlist for the birthday boy or girl. You can have colleagues include a brief message about why they chose each song for a memorable gift that will make your employee feel appreciated and thought of on their birthday. This playlist will set the tone for the rest of the day and can be played in combination with any of the other birthday celebration ideas on this list.

9. Prepare a picnic

A picnic is a fun way to get outside and celebrate a special occasion. Send your team member a picnic blanket, a bottle of wine and some cheese and crackers on their birthday and encourage them to step out of their office and soak up the sun.

10. Write a birthday card

The simplest birthday tradition may be the most effective way to boost employee recognition at your company. Write a thoughtful birthday card, with specific reasons why you appreciate and value your employee to make your employee feel recognized on their birthday.

A 2016 Gallup poll found that the most memorable recognition comes from a high level leader or CEO, so make sure to have managers and company leaders write a thoughtful note. Sending your employee a personalized birthday card might be the most impactful and affordable way to improve employee engagement and make your employees feel recognized on their special day.

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