Appreciating Your Employees on a Budget

Office team shares a gift full of treats

In a world where work-from-home keeps teams as disconnected as ever, the power of gratitude cannot be overstated. Showing genuine appreciation to your employees not only strengthens bonds but ensures loyalty and motivation, ensuring productivity and healthy mental health in the workplace. 

But with budgets shrinking, how can a leader convey gratitude, appreciation and support without breaking the bank?

A 'thank you' doesn't have to cost the world. The gesture alone holds so much power. But if you're trying to make a great impression, and want to stay within budget, here are some of our favourite low-cost gift ideas to shower your employees with appreciation.

Welcome to the art of cost-effective appreciation.

12 Budget-Friendly Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas 

Handwritten Thank You Note

We all get the occasional thank you email or text, but when was the last time you received a handwritten thank you note in the mail? They're the kind of gestures that don't get deleted or easily forgotten. Instead, they'll linger in the memories and daily lives of your recipient when they place the thank you on their desks or home office.

Thank you cards add that personal touch that we all crave a little more these days with the rise of work-from-home and Zoom meetings. Never underestimate the power of these small, but mighty cards.

Whether it's a "thank you for going the extra mile"- kind of thank you, or a "we love having you as a client,” thank you cards will never lose their heartfelt appeal and lasting impact.

And if you're out of ideas regarding your messages, here’s some help on how to write a thank you message for business.

Hand holding a thank you note

Anonymous Wall of Thank You Notes

To cultivate a culture of appreciation, an anonymous thank you wall can set a whole new and positive tone for the office. It encourages employees to take time out daily to appreciate their team members. And who doesn't love receiving a special thank you every now and then?

If your team is mostly work-from-home, this can easily be done virtually using a virtual collaboration tool of your choice.

Desk Plant

For those teams who still spend time in the office, gifting a desk plant is a brilliant gesture to show appreciation towards a team member. These green companions bring a daily dose of nature to a workspace, at minimal cost. Improved air quality, stress reduction, and a boost of creativity are just some of the benefits of having plants around. Not to mention the reduction in workplace fatigue, and its mood-boosting capabilities.

Best of all, your team members are reminded of the recognition and thoughtfulness every time they water or admire the plant. We love working with Foli to ensure these plants can be lovingly delivered across Canada.

Customized gifts or budget-friendly gift boxes

We might be biased, but gourmet gift boxes are our favourite way to give thanks. Not only is this a fantastic gesture that screams a hearty "Thanks for being awesome!", but it's also a subtle nod to supporting local businesses. Thoughtful gifts amplify the sentiment of appreciation, and the unboxing becomes an experience, a journey that resonates deeply.

Plus, it doesn't make your wallet weep.  If you're gifting in bulk, why not take that extra step and customize your gift box? Whether it's using a branded ribbon or box, a customized gift stands out as a memorable token of genuine acknowledgment and care.

Our low-cost, locally sourced gift boxes start as low as $52 per box, and opting for these delightful gifts ensures a blend of heartwarming recognition and delectable taste. Our Vancouver Special and The Sunnyside gifts are both lovely options.

Vancouver Special gift from Saul Good Gift Co.

We also love building uniquely affordable custom programs with individual chocolate bars. We design customized chocolate and snack packages, with personalization for each recipient. Prices start at $20 per unit, with a minimum order of 250 units. We deliver these custom gifts within Canada.

Customized chocolate gift program from Saul Good Gift Co.

So, next time you're pondering over the perfect gesture, remember: local goodies are always a hit. Cheers to smart, scrumptious appreciation!

Longer Lunch or Half-Day

Show your employees that you appreciate all of their hard work by giving them a few hours off. Whether it's a longer lunch of a half-day, giving them additional time to complete personal errands or just relaxing. This thoughtful gift shows you trust and appreciate their efforts in the office.

Granting longer lunch breaks or half-day privileges is an intuitive yet invaluable way to appreciate team members. This gesture transcends beyond mere hours—it's a nod to personal time, rejuvenation, and trust.

By offering an extended lunch, you give employees a chance to truly unwind, enjoy a leisurely meal, or complete personal errands without rush. Half-days can be a refreshing breather, allowing team members to indulge in personal pursuits or simply rest. Perks like these reinforce the idea that their well-being and life outside of work are acknowledged and valued. What's more, it instills a deep sense of gratitude and workplace satisfaction that often contributes towards greater commitment on the the job.

Employees enjoying treats from a Saul Good Gift

Snack Baskets

Gifting a snack basket to a team member is a delightful and tangible way to express appreciation. More than just an assortment of treats, it's an invitation to indulge, take breaks, and savour moments of pleasure during the work day. A carefully curated basket, brimming with a mix of savoury and sweet items, can cater to varied palates and mood swings. From crunchy nuts for the health-conscious to decadent chocolates for those sweet cravings, every bite becomes a reminder of the company's care and thoughtfulness.

In the midst of deadlines and meetings, a snack basket stands as a gesture of joy. It subtly communicates, "We value you, and here's a little something to make your day better." In the realm of employee appreciation, such edible tokens often leave a lasting, flavourful impression.

Snack baskets are also a low-cost way to feed a big team. Instead of buying each member a gift, you can show gratitude with just one gift. For small to medium-sized teams, our most popular snack baskets are the Department Party and Torontonian.

Take them out for lunch or coffee

A lingering lunch with a hardworking employee is a great way to deepen the professional bond, say thanks and just enjoy a few laughs. Choosing a cafe, or restaurant that caters to their nutritional preferences will also show that you appreciate them and have taken notice of little things that others might overlook.

Hands holding coffees

Offer a flexible work schedule

Offering a flexible work schedule to a team member is a deeply impactful and cost-effective gesture of appreciation. More than just a change in work hours, it signifies trust, understanding, and a recognition of their unique needs. By allowing employees the autonomy to adjust their work times, you're not only endorsing a work-life balance but also acknowledging that productivity isn't tied to a strict 9-to-5 routine.

This adaptability can boost morale, increase job satisfaction, and reduce stress. In a rapidly evolving professional landscape, flexibility stands as a testament to a company's forward-thinking approach and genuine care for its employees' well-being.

Women enjoying a hike

The gift of experiences

Unlike tangible items, experiences offer personal growth and a chance to imprint deeper memories. Whether it's a ticket to a sought-after workshop, a relaxing day at the spa, an adventurous outdoor activity, or a cultural event, the experience itself becomes a journey of discovery and joy.

It signals to your team member that you value their personal enrichment and leisure as much as their professional contributions. If chosen thoughtfully, it also shows that you take note of their interests and desires. What's more, a membership to the museum or a club, is one that keeps on giving all year round and keeps your memory alive for the long-term.

Gifting experiences also encourages employees to step out of their routine, reinvigorate their minds, and return with fresh perspectives. In the realm of employee appreciation, such gifts are not just fleeting moments, they're lasting and cherished memories in the making.

Donation to their favourite charity

Making a donation to an employee's favourite charity is a deeply meaningful and impactful way to express appreciation. Instead of a direct, tangible gift to the individual, you're honouring their values and passions, emphasizing that you recognize and respect what resonates with their heart.

Whether it's $5 or $50, this gesture conveys that you not only care for your employees' contributions at work but also their broader aspirations for the world. By supporting causes they hold dear, you strengthen the bond of trust and kinship, proving that appreciation can transcend workplace boundaries to support greater goals.


Night at the movies

More than just entertainment, gifting a movie night is an invitation to momentarily escape and immerse in stories. In today's fast-paced world, such a gesture offers an opportunity for relaxation and leisure, allowing employees to take a breather from work-related stresses.

Whether they're fans of gripping dramas, laugh-out-loud comedies, or thrilling action-packed sequences, a movie night caters to their cinematic preferences. Paired with an order of buttery popcorn, it's a sensory treat and a welcomed escape. As an expression of gratitude, it sends a clear message: "Thank you for your hard work. Now, enjoy a night of magic and stories on us."

Support their interests, work and businesses

Supporting an employee's interests or side gigs is a profound gesture of appreciation and respect. It goes beyond the confines of the existing professional relationship, signalling that you value them beyond their contributions in the workplace.

By championing their side ventures, attending their workshops, or even promoting their businesses, you're making an investment in their personal success and growth. It's a recipe for boosting their morale, confidence, and sense of worth. Not to mention how it cultivates a culture of mutual respect, trust, and genuine care.

Strike Up a Conversation

Hey, here's a thought: why not just give someone a ring and have a good ol' chat? In this era of endless emails and quick texts, actually taking a moment to talk with an employee or client feels refreshing and, well, real. A genuine conversation, be it face-to-face or over the phone, can work wonders. It's a warm nudge that says, "Hey, you're more than just an email ID to me!"

For our team, it helps boost spirits and camaraderie. So, next time you're thinking of connecting, remember: a chat can be a game-changer. It's all about keeping it personal in this big business world!

Remember, it's the little things

Showing appreciation doesn't always mean breaking the bank. Remembering the small details, like an employee's favourite coffee blend or a casual "well done" for a job executed perfectly, can sometimes mean the world. Whether you're on a tight budget or just looking for a genuine gesture, the emphasis should always be on sincerity.

If you're seeking some affordable yet heartfelt ways to express gratitude, we've got a delightful range of options for you. Want to dive deeper? Don't hesitate to connect with our lovely team. We're here to brainstorm, share, and guide. Let's make gratitude the heartbeat of your workplace!

Budget-friendly employee appreciation gifts