While we’ve already passed some great holidays, like Motivation & Inspiration Day (Jan. 2nd), or Poetry at Work day (Jan. 10th), there are so many holidays to celebrate that make work and life better.
How do these holidays happen? While there are only 10 official federal holidays (like Martin Luther King Jr. Day), and 44 government-sanctioned national observances (like Mother’s Day), anyone can create a holiday – just submit your holiday idea to Chase’s Calendar of Events, or register your date at the National Day Calendar site.
Yes, it’s that easy. Which explains how a lot of holidays came to be… like “Leave a Zucchini on Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.” Yep, that’s real. Some businesses create their own holiday as a form of marketing, like American Express’s “Small Business Saturday”, but we think holidays should have a more active role in the day-to-day lives of employees. They just make life a little more fun.
Here are our favorite holidays for the first quarter.
January – National Thank You Month
Most of us in January think of what we don’t have and want to get – isn’t that where resolutions come from? But January is also an ideal month to embrace gratitude. Maybe that’s writing thank-you notes for your holiday gifts, or showing gratitude and recognition to your employees, team members and customers. Maybe one of your resolutions should be to make gratitude a habit.
January 16th: Get to Know Your Customer Day
This quarterly holiday is the third Thursday of each quarter in January, April, July and October, so if you missed this first one, you have three more chances. How might you get to know your customer a little better? Maybe it’s taking a moment to chat about life, or their pets, before you get down to business. Maybe it’s inviting your customers to tag you on Instagram with pictures of what they love doing. Make it fun, make it engaging, and give your customers a chance to get to know you too.
January 27th: Better Business Communication Day
Communication is at the heart of employee engagement, so we love this holiday! If you use Engagement Multiplier, this day can be an opportunity to take advantage of the Suggestion Box or On-Demand Survey features. Try asking your employees how they think your organization could improve communication, then choose an action to improve over the next 90 days.
January 30th: Thank Your Mentor Day
Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, it doesn’t have to be a formal arrangement. If you’ve had a question or needed some advice, personally or professionally, who do you go to? That’s a mentor.
January 31st: National Fun at Work Day
Held on the fourth Friday of January, National Fun at Work Day promotes positive energy at the office and helps coworkers bond. Try asking your team for ideas (a good activity for Better Business Communication Day), or think of a fun activity that encourages creativity. Wine and Paint night, D&D during lunch breaks, succulent planting workshops – all are portable and office-friendly.
February – Black History Awareness Month
In the words of Oprah’s Instagram post “I don’t reserve it for one month. I believe that Black history is a part of every day, every life, every year, all the time.” As is so often the case, Oprah is absolutely right. But if your office does want to make Black History a focus for this month, literature is a great way to start. Maybe a read-a-long of Ta-Nehisi-Coates or Zora Neale Hurston?
February 11th: National Clean Out Your Computer Day
Cleaning and organizing your physical space has been linked to feeling less stressed and being more productive – but most people don’t think to clean up their computer. Even just organizing your desktop and computer files can create more mental space, and cleaning that grody keyboard might just brighten your day (Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is also magic for keyboards). But, our in-house techspert Ashleigh says, “Don’t stop there! Update!” She’s our go-to co-worker for computer issues, and as she’ll tell you, these issues often resolve themselves when you update. She also says, “Whenever someone comes to me with a computer issue I ask, “when was the last time you updated your computer?” 99% of it’s been too long and after they update, the issue is resolved.” She goes on to say, “Not only does it update the software and resolve bugs, but it also forces you to free up some storage to even download the update. Lack of storage slows your computer down tremendously and that is often a symptom, if not the issue, that people are having in the first place.”
Ashleigh’s favorite system cleaning app: Disk Doctor (Mac)
February 14th: Valentine’s Day
We like the idea of taking a team-building approach to Valentine’s Day by creating a “Love Board” where everyone can share what they love about their jobs.
February 20th: Love Your Pet Day
These two holidays fall on the same day, but hey, they work so well together. We are dog-lovers at Engagement Multiplier; more than half of our Chicago team has dogs. So when we saw these holidays, we thought “Yep, we can get behind that!” You can go all-in and declare a ‘bring your pet to work’ day, or, for a less shedding option, have employees attach a photo of their furry family members to their emails for a day. And maybe have a team dog-walk during lunch hour.
February 25th: Pancake Day (UK)
Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the feast day before the start of Lent – or just a great excuse for pancakes, depending on your spiritual practices! Either way, pancakes. Just be sure to include allergen-free options in your pancake festivities so everyone can enjoy pancakes.
March – Women’s History Month (US)
For National Women’s History Month we like the idea of asking employees, or customers, or social media followers, to share their stories of triumphant women, or the inspiring women in their lives. You might also share a weekly inspiring quote by a woman, or, promote local networking opportunities for women. Check out our Women’s Wins in the Workplace – A Brief History.
March 6th: Employee Appreciation Day
Here in the office, we have a Weekly Energy spreadsheet (Google sheets make this easy) that each employee fills out. It asks you what you’ve accomplished this week, what you need to share with the team, what you need support on, and what you’ll tackle next week. At the end of the Energy Sheet is an optional Gratitude section where you can bring attention to someone who helped you the previous week. Once everyone has filled out their answers in the spreadsheet, our office manager sends it out to everyone as a PDF on Fridays. It’s an uplifting way to end the week. You can read more about how we do this here.
March 13th: Good Samaritan Day
Being a good Samaritan means doing something good that doesn’t necessarily benefit you in any way, like picking up trash on the street on your way to work, or paying for the coffee of the person standing in line behind you. If you see an opportunity to do something kind for someone else today, do it!
March 29th: National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day
Did you know 550,000 Americans start a business every month? Entrepreneurship is on the rise, and you probably know someone, or a lot of someones, who own their own businesses. Today is a great excuse to throw a little extra support their way. You can buy something from them, or share their latest post on your social media, or just bring them a cup of coffee.
April – Stress Awareness Month
Supporting each other’s mental health is so important to us, and the more awareness there is, the less shame is attached. That’s a cause we can all celebrate. Check out our post on Employee Engagement & Mental Health at Work and consider challenging your employees to make a 30-day self-care goal for the month of April.
April 1st: April Fool’s Day
Safe, work-appropriate April Fool’s jokes are all in good fun. One year, when one of our Chicago office managers was out of town, we sent her a photoshopped picture of a dog sitting in the office (and as much as we love dogs, we have a strict ‘no dogs in the office’ policy!). Our poor manager was totally fooled, and was just about to give a heated lecture when we sent her the un-photoshopped photo with an “April Fools!”
April 3rd: Walk to Work Day
If you need an excuse to take a lunchtime walk or try out public transportation instead of driving, this is it! Invite your co-workers for an eat, talk and walk outing. You might find some creative breakthroughs on the way.
April 7th: World Health Day
Maybe today is the day you’ll get up early for a pre-work exercise class, or make it to an evening yoga class. Bring a salad to work, take a jog at lunch, make some doctors appointments you’ve been putting off. Maybe donate money to the World Health Organization. Sure, every day should be a healthy day, but sometimes we need an excuse to reboot our bodies.
April 16th: National High Five Day
Spread the good vibes on National High Five Day, and whatever you do, don’t leave anyone hangin’! You can participate in the #High5Challenge to support arts and athletics for kids impacted by chronic illness and learn more by visiting the National High Five Project’s website.
April 22nd: Earth Day
Challenge your team to use as few single-use plastics as possible – or try not to use *any* for an entire day. You could even hand out reusable straws to your employees (we love them!).