As an executive-level employee, how many times a day does the following thought cross your mind? "Man, this boss thing is pretty freaking awesome! I have the big office, the great car, a team who reports directly to me, and my life couldn't go any better!" If your answer is even one time, then I envy you and would like to have a better understanding of your outlook on life.

You see, I'm not the boss. I'm just a regular, full-time, exempt employee. And like most "regular" employees, I sometimes find myself wondering, "Does anyone even know what my job entails? Does anyone care if it's me that completes the task, or would any faceless being make the same paycheck for the same job?"

As an employee, it is easy to forget why you're at a job, or whether the work you do makes a difference.

In the same sense, I would imagine it's easy for a boss or manager to fall into the mindset of, "My employees know they're appreciated because I don't micromanage. I trust them to do the right thing and that, in itself, is appreciation enough." This is where you would be wrong.

Do you know what employees need? To be acknowledged, to be recognized, to be appreciated, to understand they serve a purpose greater than a chair filler. Lucky for you, there is now one day each year set aside for just that: Employee Appreciation Day.

That's right, on Friday, March 4, you have the chance to show your employees just how much you appreciate them by doing any or all of the following:

1. Show up

This seems simple enough, right? Just show up. Your employees know you're always busy with meetings, presentations and just managing the team and/or the company. They know this because you are the boss — that's your job.

They're not so oblivious to think you sit up in your office and do nothing all day. They know you're busy. So, for you to take 10-15 minutes of your legitimately precious time to go and visit your team, be it in one big group or with some sincere one-on-one time, means way more than you even realize.

You don't have to come with some big prepared speech that generically thanks each employee for being integral cogs in the corporate machine. Just show up, say thank you for all of their hard work, tell them they're the best team in the whole division and let them know you're grateful for them and proud to call them your team.

As long as it seems sincere, your message of appreciation will get across, and you'll start to see that team morale head back in a positive direction.

2. Send an email

Again with the simplicity! All this requires is that you take a few minutes of your time (maybe it's at home, after work even) to sit down and compose either an all-encompassing group email or numerous personalized individual emails to your team. Like the simple task of showing up, this gesture requires only one thing: sincerity.

Take the time to really break down the reasons you're proud of your team. Tell them that you appreciate the small things they do each day, things they may even find so monotonous that they'd be shocked to realize you even knew they did them.

Use this email as a tool to develop some rapport with the people who make you look good every day. Make it known that you know how hard they work and that you are more appreciative than you typically express.

3. Throw a party

Yes, this one will take a little more time and preparation, but the rewards are far greater. In case you've never stopped by an employee luncheon, here's a hint: your employees love food. If you want to get someone to participate in your team-building activity, bring food. If you want to pitch an idea that would typically not fly, bring food. People like food, people respond to food.

So, for this party, all you really need is a table, some plates, utensils, napkins and food. What kind of food, you ask? Well, that's up to you. If you want to hit them first thing in the morning and start their day off right, bring in some breakfast tacos. Scramble up some eggs, cook up some bacon, grab a bag of shredded cheese, throw some tortillas and hot sauce in the mix, and you've got yourself a great start to a memorable day.

If lunch is more your thing, have it catered in. There are too many options for this not to be in your arsenal of appreciation. Plus, it gives you more time to mingle with your employees, and as we mentioned before, face time is the best.

4. Give rewards

You know how I said food always gets results? Well, guess what, so do other forms of reward. Depending on the size of your team and the size of your budget, there are quite a few gifts or rewards you can bring to the party that will earn you the title of "Best Boss Ever."

For instance, Employee Appreciation Day falls on a Friday this year, right? What is one surefire way to make your employees feel happy and appreciated? Time off.

No, I'm not suggesting you give all of your employees the entire day off. That's not feasible for the company's bottom line, and therefore defeats the purpose of this entire day. What I'm suggesting is maybe let your team sneak out of the office a couple of hours early on Friday. It's hard to put into words just exactly what a little time off can do for one's psyche.

Not feeling the time off thing? No worries. A $10-15 Starbucks gift card works just as well. Plus, you have the added bonus of getting your workers amped up on caffeine for their next workday (again, good for the company's bottom line).

Does your team hate coffee? Weird, but OK. You can purchase bulk packs of movie gift cards or Visa gift cards just as easily. Better yet, you could just go the really easy route and hand out a $20 bill to each employee as they leave work early on Friday.

There you have it. I've just handed you the keys to the kingdom. No, wait. You're the boss, you already have those. I've just handed you the keys to an engaged, satisfied and successful staff that will appreciate you appreciating them for all of their hard work, and will in turn work even harder to earn and maintain your appreciation.