Employee appreciation and productivity are directly correlated. Employees whose work is acknowledged are likely to be motivated to hold themselves to higher standards. On the contrary, the ones who don’t feel recognized will question the purpose of their efforts and may not feel driven enough to perform.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to show your employees that you appreciate their dedication to their job – and they’re not limited to throwing more money into their paychecks.

Here are 8 inexpensive ways to show appreciation to your employees, and in turn, keep them motivated.

1. Be present and available

Your employees should be comfortable asking things from you, whether it’s a simple clarification about the tasks at hand or a concern about the workload that needs to be brought up. If you can’t be in the office every day, make sure to be accessible via e-mail or phone for work-related concerns.

Create a working environment that fosters good relationship not only among team members but between superiors and subordinates.

2. Praise good work

If your employees associate every feedback with feelings of dread, something needs to change. Praise workers privately and publicly, especially the ones who do exceptional work

If you notice team member making extra efforts lately or going out of his way to ensure your company retains your biggest client, make sure to acknowledge that hard work. A genuine conversation, a thank you note in the e-mail, and/or a special mention in the team meeting could go a long way. Everyone likes having their achievements validated.

3. Celebrate life events

From small occasions, like a birthday, to big milestones, like an employee giving birth, throwing a little celebration never fails to make anyone feel appreciated. It doesn’t have to be grand – a short pizza party held in the pantry is enough to warm their hearts.

4. Spruce up your employee’s workspace

Your employees (including your HR services people) may not tell you this but, they hate your overall office design.

Liven the place up with a few office decorations. Adorn the dull, beige walls with some posters and pictures related to your product or service. Add pops of color that stimulate, like sunny yellow, orange, and turquoise. Modernize your furniture and bring in comfy pieces, like bean bags, for occasional downtime. Add plants too.

You may also let your employees decorate their desks with a few knickknacks that breathe life to their boring workspace: pictures, action figures, quirky organizers, and more.

5. Make them understand their purpose

Employees work not only for a paycheck – they want to be purposeful. That said, they need to understand their contributions and be assured that their efforts are important in reaching the company’s overall goals. Make sure let them see the bigger picture – your company’s vision and mission – and how their everyday tasks contribute to that end.

6. Nothing beats food and genuine conversations

Good food and drinks and meaningful conversations can help your employees recharge. You may treat them coffee from time to time or have pizza delivered.

You can also organize a social event after work or outside of work, including monthly lunch outs, group dinners or happy hours. This will give employees the opportunity to get out of their work environment and unwind around each other.

7. Find ways to cut employees some slack

Anyone who experiences stress and demotivation needs some quick diversions in their daily grind. Next to hosting a quick lunch out, you may allow your employees to loosen up while they’re in the workplace.

  • Dressing down

Do you have a restricted dress code in the office? You may loosen up a bit by encouraging them to dress down once a week, preferably every Friday.

  • Games and icebreakers

Prepare board games, or office-friendly games like shuffleboard, cornhole, ping pong, and beer pong (minus the beer of course) in break rooms or common areas. While they’re likely to be too busy to use them, it’s nice to have them readily available. This lets your team know you trust them to slack off a little and still be productive.

  • Early dismissals

If your company doesn’t have flexible hours, you may grant your employees early dismissals. You may send your employees home an hour or a few minutes earlier on a weekend or right before a holiday. This shows you want them to take full use of their time off.

8. Empower them through career advancement opportunities

The lack of growth opportunity is another major cause of demotivation. Anyone who performs the same work tasks day in and out can get stuck in a rut, making it easy to lose creativity and become dissatisfied.

One of the best ways to keep your employees motivated is by providing training and educational opportunities. Learning new things would help boost their job satisfaction, improve output, and enhance the abilities they can use to move your business forward.

Author Bio: Mina Natividad is a creative writer for HR Dept Australia, a provider of affordable and pragmatic HR services and employment law advice in Australia. Writing about helpful career management solutions for both employees and employers is her cup of tea.