Expanding Thanksgiving into the Workplace
As I was scrolling through my social media pages this morning, I realized what a social phenomenon “Friendsgiving” has become. While I am certain that groups of friends have been gathering in the spirit of Thanksgiving much longer than hashtags like #Friendsgiving have been around, social media has perpetuated, and even encouraged, additional Thanksgiving celebrations. With the expansion of Thanksgiving being embraced by so many, now is the time to take it a step further and build office morale by pulling off a successful “Worksgiving”.
In your quest to expand Thanksgiving into the workplace, consider what constitutes a successful Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving. Chances are that massive amounts of food, laughter, pants with an elastic waistband and good company come to mind. Possibly even a nap or two between football games. Edit that list to include only work appropriate activities and implement them with your coworkers this week.
Here are a few ideas in case you need a nudge in the right direction:
In the spirit of giving thanks, make sure that you take the time this week to express more than the typical “thanks for your hard work”. Really think about why you are thankful for each coworker, and verbalize your gratitude. I have seen many great ideas like “Giving Thanks” boards that are used to proudly display the contributions that each team member has made; however, there really isn’t a substitute for a good, old fashioned, in person, “thank you”.
Sharing a Meal
It’s no secret that Thanksgiving and food go hand in hand; however, you don’t have to make a turkey with all of the fixings to host Worksgiving. Put the baster down and have a Thanksgiving appetizer potluck, or ditch the traditional turkey dinner in favor of turkey sandwiches from a local deli. Better yet, start a tradition and make this year your first annual cook-off!
Starting a Tradition
Traditions have a way of bringing seasoned employees and newcomers together. Employees who have been with the company for years will look forward to the annual office Thanksgiving tradition, and new employees will feel included in something beyond their daily workload. Annual cook-offs, office wide competitions and volunteering are all traditions that will build comradery among team members.
Help facilitate a service project or volunteer opportunity for the entire office to participate in. I find that competitions always get people excited (even when the winner is only awarded bragging rights), so lead your team in a competition to see who can collect the most canned goods for your local food bank, or gather the most coats to donate to the homeless in your community.
Worksgiving won’t involve slipping into a mashed potato induced food coma, but don’t let that dissuade you from hosting or participating in this extension of the traditional Thanksgiving celebration!