When there’s so much going on in our lives it’s easy to forget how grateful we are for what we have. We’re busy building our careers, nurturing relationships, bringing up children and pursuing our hobbies.
That’s what makes Thanksgiving such a great occasion. We all reflect on how thankful we are for everything we have. Even if just for one day (Thursday 22nd November this year).
But our jobs are a big part of our lives too, so there’s no reason not to get into the Thanksgiving spirit in our workplaces as well. On Thanksgiving week this year, try these ideas for celebrating Thanksgiving at work.
1. Spread the message
With so much to be thankful for, why keep it to ourselves? Capture the sentiment of the things you’re most thankful for and share it with colleagues.
There are any number of ways to do this but consider a blessing wall where staff can write what they’re most thankful for on post-it notes and display them on the wall. When complete, you have a wonderful wall of words to lift everyone’s spirits.
Or set up a meeting room with video camera so that staff can record themselves on video saying what they’re thankful for. If that feels a little too ‘Big Brother’ for some, let them use their phone instead. Edit all the videos together to create a heartwarming montage which can be shared in a video alert to all staff.
2. Test your knowledge
So your colleagues love Thanksgiving? And they have a competitive streak? Then a special Thanksgiving-themed staff quiz is just the way to celebrate the occasion and foster a bit of light-hearted rivalry.
Collect a series of trivia questions on the history of Thanksgiving to challenge staff members either on their own or in groups. For example, what year was the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Answer = 1924.
Or, what was the “Rebecca” gifted to President Calvin Coolidge as a Thanksgiving gift in 1926? Answer = a live raccoon.
3. A feast for the senses
As family are the core of Thanksgiving in the home, so teams are the core of Thanksgiving at work. Strengthen your teams and encourage interaction with special team-building activities themed around the occasion.
Food is the obvious choice since it’s such a major part of any Thanksgiving celebration (more food is eaten in America on this day than any other in the year). Make sure to assign a different type of food for each team to prepare, just to ensure you don’t end up with 50 pumpkin pies!
For something a little less calorie-intensive, unfurl those flags, dust off those ornaments and try a cubicle decoration contest. Which team can take the crown by most brilliantly capturing the Thanksgiving spirit on their desks?
4. Praise for staff superstars
Hopefully we’re all surrounded by fantastic, helpful and inspiring co-workers every day. Well, at least some of them, right? Chances are, we don’t thank these amazing people as often as we ought.
Thanking co-workers in a more formal manner makes sure that your office heroes are recognized for their achievements and receive the credit they’re due.
An online praise system linked to your corporate intranet is a simple way to encourage staff to submit praise for colleagues. Collate them all at the end of the week or month and share them with all staff in a beautiful digital newsletter.
5. Giving something back
As well as being thankful for everything we have, it’s worth also thinking of those not as fortunate. An offsite charity day is a great way to help people in need and to selflessly give something back.
Ask your Human Resources team if there are any preferred charities the organization supports. If there aren’t, try looking online for suggestions of worthy causes in your area.
For example, on one charity day, our whole team worked with a local special children’s school on their Olympics sports day. The happiness and joy of the children made us all thankful for the opportunity to truly help enrich the lives of others.
Thanksgiving is a fantastic opportunity to be thankful for everything we all have – both at home and at work. But why stop there? Perhaps the best legacy of Thanksgiving could be making it more than just one day and living the lessons every day.