Editor’s note: Updates with new ideas and product links.
While Labor Day has unofficially become a marker for the end of the summer and the start of fall, it was established as a federal holiday in 1894 in order to recognize and celebrate the contributions of American workers. Annually observed on the first Monday of each September, Labor Day often signifies a three-day weekend for workers and brings with it an opportunity to rest and relax.
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If you’d like to celebrate Labor Day at your workplace, here are a few ways you can get into the spirit and show your appreciation this Labor Day:
1. Write appreciation notes for your team.
Take time out of your schedule to write your employee’s heartfelt thank you notes. It’s a great way to uniquely thank them for their service and let them know their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
2. Let your employees out early on Friday.
The feeling of excitement before a three-day weekend is palpable. Sweeten the pot by announcing that your employees can leave a couple of hours early in celebration of Labor Day. Giving your blessing to get a head start on the holiday will definitely make your employees feel appreciated.
3. Have the bosses cook for the employees.
Turn the hierarchy upside down the day before Labor Day weekend by having management cook for the employees. A barbecue is a great way to let everyone relax, and flipping burgers or hot dogs over a grill is low-key and delicious.
4. Treat them to a meal.
Whether you’re ordering food for the office or footing the bill for a team trip down the street, offering free meals is a celebratory gesture that will save your employees on cash and fill their tummies with happiness.
5. Host a potluck.
Invite everyone to bring a dish and set aside a chunk of time during the day when the entire team is welcome to eat, relax, and socialize.
6. Give mini bonuses.
If your budget allows it, you can give mini bonuses to top employees or, share the love between everyone, the entire staff. Bonuses don’t have to be expensive – you can give mini gift cards to Starbucks or offer an extra paid vacation day.
7. Get silly with spirit awards.
If you’d like to give back to your team, come up with fun awards, such as Hardest Worker, Most Company Spirit, Best Team Player, etc. Ask employees to cast their votes and announce the winners on the Friday preceding the weekend. You can thank the winners with a mini bonus, a printed certificate, or a small trophy!
8. Host a picnic.
If you’ve got the green space near your office, use it to your advantage. Have a company outing and spend the afternoon relaxing on the grass and picnic-ing. Make sure to pack food and beverages the whole company will enjoy, as well as games and activities.
9. Throw a themed party.
If you want to kick the Labor Day weekend off with a bang, throw a festive “end-of-summer” party and ask employees to wear festive shirts the Friday before Labor Day. You can offer summer favorites like S’mores, hot dogs, burgers and ice cream.
10. Bring in treats.
Celebrating Labor Day doesn’t have to be a time-consuming affair. Something as simple as bringing in a box of donuts or cupcakes can make the day more special. Set the baked goods in the common area and leave a note wishing everyone well and thanking them for all their hard work.