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4 Fun Employee Appreciation & Team Building Ideas for the Workplace

published: June 11, 2019  |  updated: March 28, 2023
Promotional products at work

On top of all the other work that needs to get done, the notion of maintaining a positive workplace can sometimes fall to the wayside. Luckily, Crestline has a number of ideas for how you can boost your corporate culture and office morale through staff retention efforts, team building exercises, employee appreciation ideas, and health and wellness programs. Keep reading to learn about how to implement all these things in your own workplace or skip to the section you want to read most:

1. Employee Appreciation

Employee Appreciation Day is an unofficial national holiday observed on the first Friday of March every year. While this fun day offers a perfect opportunity to appreciate and recognize your staff, it is important to thank them for the hard work they put in all year round. A customized gift that can be taken home and enjoyed is a great way to say thank you to your co-workers and staff. You can either hand them out at the office or let your employees choose their favorite merch from a custom company online store. Here are five thoughtful promotional product gift ideas, based on our top-sellers, that are sure to be a hit!


From water bottles to tumblers, to ceramic mugs, custom imprinted drinkware is always a popular gift idea as it is something everyone can use. Whether it’s to encourage your staff to take a break with a nice cup of tea, or to make sure they drink enough water during the workday, drinkware is a great way to show your staff that you care. The best-selling Yukon Nova Tumbler is a gift they can use every day to keep their beverage hot or cold. Add your custom printed logo, message, or both!

Insulated stainless steel tumbler

Tech Accessories

Tech accessories remain on the top of our list of best-sellers because of their popularity and usefulness. Portable power banks, wireless chargers, and phone holders are great gift ideas that employees can use at the office and at home. Our best-selling PopSockets® work as both a phone grip and stand. Small but mighty, PopSockets® come in a variety of colors and styles. This handy little item is a great way to show appreciation to your staff and volunteers and leave a lasting impression.


Padfolios, Journals, & Notebooks

Your employees will enjoy receiving a padfolio, journal, or notebook to keep track of documents, to-dos and important events. We have several product options that come with lined paper, pens, and stylus pen combinations. One of our top sellers, the Durahyde Exec Brief-Padfolio, has a spot for paperwork, IDs and business cards, and comes with a refillable lined writing pad. It’s a great choice for teachers or any professional.

Padfolios with company logo


We offer custom imprinted kits and corporate gift sets that include multiple practical items that your staff will love to use. The Fantastic Five 2.0 comes with 5 great items to promote your brand and thank your employees for their contributions. The kit includes a lunch cooler, a 16 oz tumbler with straw, a notebook and pen combo, a stylus pen, and an Spotlight Lantern. Add your logo or a thank-you message for a gift they can enjoy every day!

Fantastic five 2.0 set for new employees

Bags & Totes

We carry bags and totes for everyone’s style. Whether it is a backpack, messenger bag, or reusable shopping tote, we have a bag that is just right for any employee. Bags and totes make great employee appreciation gifts as they are practical and can be used for travel, work, or just for fun. Our popular Budget Boat Tote checks every box- it’s affordable, practical, and has a large imprint area for your logo or message. Made of sturdy cotton canvas, this tote comes in a lot of great colors to complement your logo- it’s a keeper!

Canvas boat tote for employees


Sometimes, it is nice to hold a more formal celebration for your staff. A larger scale ceremony where you give recognition to individual or group accomplishments can mean a lot to your employees and other corporate partners. Make it an extra special occasion by handing out awards with your logo. For an even more customizable option, try printing a certificate and putting it in a custom frame.

Red wooden plaque award

2. Team Building

Team building is a beneficial part of developing your corporate culture. Having a staff that can work well together boosts productivity, morale, motivation and increases employee satisfaction. Try one of our team building activities or games with your team. For more ideas, check out our article on How to Boost Office Morale with Custom Sticky Notes.

Fun at work with sticky notes
  • Host Your Own Olympics

    Divide your employees up into teams and have them compete against each other in a variety of different events. Your activities will get employees active and allow them to enjoy themselves while the competitive edge will keep things interesting. Allow your employees to dress in comfortable activewear and provide them with customized T-shirts to wear during events. You can choose to have this be one full-day event or stagger it throughout the week by doing a few activities per day.

    Green women's t-shirt with company team building logo
  • Company Barbecue or Picnic Lunch Cook-Off

    Spice up the traditional idea of a company barbecue or picnic by turning it into a challenging cook-off! Let each employee bring a dish and have everyone vote on which one is their favorite. Potluck-style lunches have a close family feel and allowing everyone to bring a dish provides more variety than your typical picnic. Gift everyone who participates a customized lunch bag or cooler that they can use for lunches in the future.

    Green and black lunch cooler bag with hospital logo
  • Oversized Wooden Lawn Dice

    These large wooden lawn dice will add some fun to a corporate gathering and can be a great ice-breaking activity. Dice are made of solid pine and feature wood-burned dots to represent numbers. They come in a custom imprinted zippered bag equipped with how-to-play instructions.

    Lawn dice game with imprinted bag
  • A Beach Excursion

    If your region has a beach or a lake nearby, take a trip there and provide employees with activities to participate in like paddleboarding, kayaking, or beach volleyball. Your employees will thank you for providing them with a relaxing day in the sun and will remember the experience for the rest of the year. When you get to your beach destination, give each employee a beach towel with your company’s logo on it.

    Women with green and blue beach towels at ocean
  • Attend a Local Sporting Event

    Does your region have a sports team that everyone is crazy about? Coming from New England, we know that most of our employees would jump at the chance to go to a Red Sox game. Attend a local game as a group and bond over peanuts and cracker jacks! Wear caps sporting your brand’s logo to the game so your team really stands out.

    Man wearing custom red baseball cap
  • Bean Bag Toss Game

    Company picnics and staff retreats are a perfect way to get your associates mingling while also feeling appreciated. Add some fun into their day while promoting your brand with a fully customizable bean bag toss game. You can even throw in some classic promotional giveaways to use as prizes. Add a set to your company’s break rooms, outdoor areas and staff lounges to increase morale.

    Custom imprinted bean bag toss game
  • A Local Scavenger Hunt

    Being part of a company means understanding its roots. Not everyone who is employed at your company is from the area or knows the history of your city. Create a scavenger hunt around your area that requires your employees to really think about the history and hidden gems that your location has to offer. Not only is this a great opportunity for your employees to work together, but it is also a fun way to learn more about other businesses in the area. Send your scavengers out into the town with customized drawstring backpacks so they can share your logo along the way.

    Green drawstring bag with reflective stripes
  • Learn Together

    Treat your employees to an educational opportunity. Sign up the group for a class that everyone can take—it does not have to be work-related, it could be for cooking, painting, or even learning how to code. Expanding your employee’s skills outside of what they need to complete their daily tasks can be an enriching experience for everyone. Give employees a customized notebook and pen to take with them.

    Black and natural eco-friendly notebook with pen
  • Poker Playing Cards

    Get your company name imprinted on a custom deck of cards. They are the perfect souvenir to take home from a family reunion, corporate event or to give out to new and potential customers and clients. With over fifty game options, a deck of cards will appeal to many audiences.

    Custom poker playing cards
  • Visit a Nearby Attraction

    Get out of the office and visit a theme park, National Park, trampoline gym, laser tag facility, escape room, or any other fun attractions that you have within driving distance. Employees will let loose and have the opportunity to connect with co-workers who they may not normally connect with on a regular basis. Give everyone a pair of promotional sunglasses to wear to your chosen attraction.

    Black sunglasses with retro flair
  • Help out a Charitable Cause

    Bring your employees closer by volunteering for a cause that is close to your community. Maybe someone internally has a cause that is close to their heart that everyone can commit time to, or perhaps there is a charity or event in your area that could use some help. This activity will get people out of the office and into the community. After spending the day making a difference, they will return to work feeling proud and rejuvenated. Make sure to check out our article to learn more about helping charitable causes.

  • Party Pong Set

    A playful summer giveaway to show appreciation to your team, or to give out as a thank-you gift for a new customer or client, this pong set is equipped with custom printed cups and pong balls. With multiple fun colors to choose from, you can display your brand with a set that is sure to be a hit.

    Custom pong set with cup and ball
  • Take a Hike

    Enjoy nature by taking all your employees out on a hike. A challenging hike is a good way to push employees physically and mentally. During their time away from the office, employees will be able to enjoy nature while still feeling accomplished. Have a picnic at the summit to allow adequate time for employees to relax and enjoy the scenery. Provide each employee with a logoed water bottle before you hit the trail.

    Customized purple water bottle
  • Celebrate Success

    Celebrate everything that your team has accomplished so far this year. Recognize employees that have made large strides for the company. Employee recognition is one of the most fun ways to motivate employees and keep them working hard throughout the duration of the year. During your celebration, provide a catered lunch and group activities. Reward their hard work with a nice custom printed corporate gift to really show your appreciation.

    8 piece gift set
  • Wooden Ring Toss Game

    A wooden ring toss game is a fun activity for every picnic and summer conference. It is made from durable solid pine and comes with its own customized carrying case for easy transport. Increase your brand visibility while promoting a sense of fun with this ring toss set!

    Co-workers playing outdoor game
  • Host an Employee Talent Show

    Your employees have talents outside the office that many of their co-workers may not be aware of. Summer is a great time to host an employee talent show where your staff members can express a talent that they have outside the workplace. This will help to connect employees who never knew they had shared interests. Getting up on stage and performing something you’re good at can be scary but liberating! Pop some popcorn for a yummy food or candy treat everyone can enjoy while people are performing.

    Collapsible popcorn box with logo
  • Half-Day Fridays or Early Release Friday

    Give your employees the gift of time by participating in early-release or half-day Fridays. Not every company can function if their whole staff were to take off early every Friday, but if you can, take advantage of it. This is one perk that employees will wholeheartedly thank you for.

3. Employee Satisfaction and Retention

The word “work” isn’t usually synonymous with fun, but it can be! Adding a little bit of fun into the workday can motivate your employees to be more productive and can boost workplace morale. Building a positive work environment is better for everyone involved and can be a huge factor in retaining your most valuable asset- a hardworking and trustworthy staff. Here are some fun ways to motivate employees:

  • Special Days

    Break up the office routine by throwing a pizza or ice cream party. It is a nice opportunity for employees to spend time together doing something fun and it is a great way to thank your staff for meeting their goals.

    Color changing bowl with ice cream
  • Staff Shout-Outs

    Recognize staff and celebrate successes with shout-outs. Ask employees to generate new ideas and then place them on a sticky note and attach it to a bulletin board. Did an employee go above and beyond what is expected of them? Leave them a “Way to Go!” sticky note, sticker or balloon at their work area.

    Thumbs-up sticky note pad
  • Small Tokens of Appreciation

    Promotional products are a fun and affordable way to show your appreciation and bring a smile to your employees’ faces. Who could resist a grinning MopTopper™ pen or a cute, themed stress reliever? Other ideas include phone holders and tech pockets, as both are wildly popular with people of all ages.

    Smiley face pen with screen cleaning hair topper
  • Work Apparel

    Work apparel is a great way to recognize your team and make them feel like a part of a cohesive group. Choose bright-colored t-shirts with your company logo on the front and add a fun or motivational message on the back. Designate days where everyone comes to work wearing their custom tees. Read further about how corporate apparel can create a positive work culture.

    Gray t-shirt with company logo
  • Contests and Prize Wheel

    Design contests that encourage a sense of fun and friendly competition, such as craziest hat, best Halloween costume, and cutest baby picture. Use a prize wheel on Fridays to choose employees at random to receive an appreciation gift such as a gift card, wine and cheese basket or movie tickets.

    Custom spinning prize wheel game
  • Bring your Dog to Work Day

    Pets bring positivity to our lives at home and allowing employees to bring their furry best friend to work is a thoughtful and caring gesture. To celebrate this special event, hand out treats to your four-legged visitors.

    Red and gray dog travel set with cooler bag, bowls, and bag dispenser

4. Stress Reduction

Stress Awareness Month is recognized in April, however, it is important to build in workplace activities and morale boosters for your employees throughout the year. Promotional products are a great vehicle for showing your staff that you care about their happiness and well-being. Here are some easy and affordable ways to promote mental and physical wellness at work and reduce stress among your employees.

Stress reliever, coloring book, fidget spinner, lavendar scented teddy bear
  • Encourage Breaks

    Encourage your employees to take a short stretch break once every hour and build in several longer breaks throughout the day, when employees can have a meal, snack or a cup of tea or coffee. Mental and physical breaks are important and can increase productivity. Giving each employee a custom ceramic mug filled with mints or other sweet treats is another way to show you care about each and every one of them.

    Matte black and shiny blue coffee mug
  • Aromatherapy

    Aromatic essences can have a relaxing effect and can even improve one’s mood. Aromatherapy products can be used anywhere- at home, in your car, and even at the office. An Aromatherapy Bear is a perfect choice for those in particularly stressful jobs such as nurses, social workers, and other direct service professions. The bear comes in soothing scents such as lavender, vanilla, and jasmine, and its t-shirt can be imprinted with your logo. Scented candles also make a thoughtful gift for employees and can be used at home to unwind after a long day.

    Purple lavendar scented teddy bear
  • Breaks For Fun

    Games and other fun activities are a great way to brighten the mood at the office and build morale. Give out fun gadgets such as fidget toys and stress balls and build in occasional team-building games and prize giveaways. Hold a monthly raffle and choose one winner to win a gift certificate to a spa, the movies, or a dinner out. On special occasions here at the Crestline office, one employee name is selected to spin the prize wheel to receive a surprise gift.

    Blue color changing stress reliever
  • Music

    Music is a great way to stay calm at work, even when things get crazy busy. Earbuds are a great employee giveaway and something anyone can use. Whether it is a colorful pair, a silly pair or a tech kit, we have something for everyone.

    Earbuds with carrying case
  • Art

    Creating art can be a very relaxing and enriching activity. Giving employees a branded coloring book with colored pencils or crayons is a wonderful way to show your appreciation for the time and effort that your staff puts in.

    Coloring book
  • Fitness

    Boost your staff’s mental and physical health by developing new exercise and wellness programs on a regular basis. Encourage employees to use the company fitness facility or organize group walks and runs after work. Give out custom imprinted water bottles, reflective safety gear, and pedometers as incentives and to make exercising more fun.

    Wellness set of backpack, pedometer, and water bottle

To learn more about how to use promotional items throughout the workplace, don’t forget to read our article about how to “Boost Workplace Culture with Company Swag.”