4 Minute Read

In the Spirit of Labor Day and Every Day

We live in a world of work and no holiday perhaps so truly personifies HR more than Labor Day. Labor Day means many things to many people: barbecues in the backyard, a long, leisurely weekend, perhaps the closing of summer and pools or lakes. But more important than all that (YES, more important than barbecue) is what Labor Day signifies.

Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.

Work used to be even more imbalanced than it feels in some areas today. Many of the protections we have in our offices, cubicles and for telecommuters, couches, exist because someone fought for them. That’s what Labor Day means. With that in mind, here a few ideas for how you can celebrate Labor Day with your colleagues!


Everyone should have the day off

I know with retail and hospitality workers, this is not always possible. But even if you don’t give employees the (actual) day off, do give them the time somewhere else.


If you have to work, have a party!

While it’s not the same as Joe’s Backyard Bash, a party at work or some sort of celebration can ease the pain of working on Labor Day. Allow employees to be casual and enjoy some much-needed downtime. If the party budget is tight, throw a potluck and get everyone in on the action.


Appreciation Nation

Whether you work on Labor Day or not, DO take the opportunity to show appreciation to one another. Use the company intranet or good old fashioned paper flyers to spread the word about a general (professional) love session. Warn managers that while praise is welcomed, to save the Oreo messages for performance reviews.


Field Trip Anyone?

When was the last time you met up with coworkers outside of work? Fun spots include parks (it’s still warm out!), arcades, museums or even a trip to the movie theater. For just a few bucks per employee or colleague, you could create a memorable bonding experience.


Not Quite the Oscars…

But you can give out awards. Talk to a manager in every department and give out awards to those who have worked hard to earn recognition. Throw in some funny and interesting awards to make sure no one feels left out! Try these free employee recognition templates!


Try the “Flexible Boss” Pose

Unless you run a cash-strapped emergency room, there is room to be flexible in the hours and days around Labor Day to allow your colleagues and employees to enjoy the day even more. Letting folks go a little early on Friday or late start on Tuesday may make coming back from the long weekend a little easier. Work with managers and other executives and team leads to get as much done beforehand so you can let your people go and enjoy Labor Day with no worries!


What’s YOUR favorite day to celebrate Labor Day in the workplace?