Build your team & boost productivity
with 13 ideas for workplace celebrations
Celebrations can enhance your workplace culture and help team members do even better work. Sharing appreciation for success and good fortune can support the well-being of individuals, foster a sense of community and promote the health of your whole organization.
Creating a celebration can be a wonderful way to acknowledge achievements and encourage people to continue to excel. Positive reinforcement is a powerful motivator and a celebratory event can be a smart way to offer good feedback.
Celebrations provide times when colleagues come together, get to know each other better and develop a shared perspective. Enjoying festive occasions helps workers become friends, and having friends at the office helps you do your best.
Arranging celebrations can provide a moment for reflection, allowing people to develop a collective focus on the right stuff. It’s a way to draw attention to the organization’s goals and values, and to remind participants that they work at a great place.
Consider these 13 ways to celebrate at work:
- Set the meeting tone. Kick off regular meetings with a brief time to acknowledge recent achievements and thank individuals for their contributions. “Thanks” and “attaboys” can be expressed by the leader or anyone else in the room. A gratitude ritual can set a positive tone and support a culture where it’s normal to thank colleagues for what they do.
- Arrange a chance to show off. When your team does well, find an opportunity for members to talk about their activity to upper management or an external audience. If they’re shy, you do the talking, and let them bask in the glow.
- Create an award for overlooked contributions. Sometimes we stop noticing the people who keep things moving by reliably doing terrific work. Create a Keystone Award and occasionally honor colleagues whose routine excellence is vital to the team effort.
- Have a retreat. Acknowledge the group’s importance by taking them out of the office for an event that is more about bonding than problem solving. Dress casually, share a good meal, and structure activities that allow members to chat casually and have some fun.
- Go home early. After a big effort, show appreciation by encouraging everybody to head out before normal closing time.
- Throw a surprise party. Call an important meeting to assure high attendance, then surprise the crew with a festive event to thank them for a recent success.
- Create a media event. Whether it’s a classy video presentation, a picture in the company newsletter, or a photo montage on the bulletin board, honor people for their best work by showing what it looked like.
- Notice milestones. People feel more satisfied if they believe they’re making progress toward something that counts. So don’t wait until the end of a major initiative to celebrate. Express appreciation for key steps along the way. Consider a special lunch party to acknowledge the halfway point of a big project. It will help to build enthusiasm for reaching the finish line.
- Buy T-shirts. Even though the items may seem tacky, people often enjoy receiving shirts, paperweights, stuffed animals and other little gifts decorated with the team logo or slogan. So order T-shirts or mugs for team members who add to a stellar effort.
- Buy lunch. It could be a pizza party in the conference room or an elegant meal at a nearby restaurant. But people always like it when you buy lunch. And during the meal offer a few heartfelt comments about what you appreciate.
- Call on local talent. Does somebody in your group sing, play an instrument or do a bit of stand-up? Can you recruit a small group to perform a funny skit? Turn a meeting or pedestrian lunchtime into a party by coming up with some entertainment.
- Write notes. Share a quiet moment of gratitude by taking a few minutes to sit down and write a note to someone who has done well.
- Take a break. Research suggests that to be at your creative best you should take regular breaks. That might include frequent mini-breaks, like a few minutes of meditation, or longer rests, like a couple of hours away from your desk for a massage. When you’ve completed a tedious or thorny task, celebrate by yourself with a little time off. Even taking a few minutes to chat with a friend can help you to get back to work with new purpose and energy.
Whether it means planning a party for the whole team, or quietly rewarding yourself for taking on a tough task, take time to shine a light on work well done. Celebrations can be a vital part of your flourishing work life and your supportive professional community.
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