As you wrap up 2018 and look ahead to 2019, be sure to check out these work-related, unofficial holidays. They can be a fun way to interact with your coworkers on topics other than work, while taking care of some important tasks (like cleaning off your desk or backing up your computer files). They’re also a great way to build a positive, team-centered workplace culture.
Just be sure your management and coworkers are on board with the plan before the festivities begin!
- Show and Tell at Work Day (Tuesday, January 8)
As kids, many of us loved to bring in a treasured object for show and tell at school, and we still love it as adults. This holiday is a fun way to share something about your non-work self with colleagues, while also learning about them.
2. National Clean Off Your Desk Day (Monday, January 14)
Get the new year off to a clean, fresh start by decluttering, organizing, rearranging, and even washing your desk. While you’re at it, why not extend this concept to the rest of your office or workplace? This holiday is celebrated the second Monday in January each year.
3. Have Fun at Work Day (Monday, January 28)
Not having as much fun as you’d like at work? Change that with Have Fun at Work Day. Set aside some time for games like team trivia, desk chair relays, or a Connect Four tournament. Have meetings and deadlines all day? Sneak in some quick fun with minute to win it games. Other options include a group lunch with a themed potluck, setting up a “success bell” to ring each time someone reaches a goal, or encouraging participation in office-wide crazy sock day.
4. Clean Out Your Computer Day (Monday, February 11)
A cluttered computer bogs down memory and slows data retrieval. Take some time to go through your files and delete or uninstall what’s no longer needed (be sure to back up or archive anything you want to save for future reference). This is also great day to deal with all those files you hastily saved to your desktop “just for now” but never moved to the right folder. Started in 2000 by the Institute for Business Technology, this holiday is held on the second Monday in February each year.
5. National Internship Awareness Month (April)
Does your organization hire interns? If not, maybe you should! These hard-working, often unpaid, workers are usually kept very busy and deserve recognition. Take some time in April to express appreciation for these indispensable team members.
6. Walk to Work Day (Friday, April 5)
Observed on the first Friday in April each year, Walk to Work Day is a great way to add some exercise to the work day. Participants can opt to walk to work, or if that’s not feasible, find other ways to boost activity through the day. Ideas include taking public transportation and walking from their stop to the office, taking the stairs instead of an elevator, going for a walk during lunch, or simply taking a lap around the office floor every hour to two.
7. Wear Pajamas to Work Day (Tuesday, April 16)
Here’s another one kids love to participate in at school that adults appreciate too (just keep those PJ’s appropriate for wear in public!). Take the day off from assembling the perfect outfit and stay comfy cozy all day. You can even post comments and pictures on Twitter here or your usual social media.
8. Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (Thursday, April 25)
Observed since 1993, this day is an opportunity for kids to experience what work is all about. It “encourages girls and boys to dream without gender limitations and to think imaginatively about their family, work and community lives.” The 2019 theme is Workforce Development for All. It is celebrated on a Thursday by design so that kids can share their experiences with classmates at school the next day. Learn more at Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation.
9. Leave the Office Early Day (Monday, June 3)
This day is an opportunity to end the work day ahead of schedule to volunteer, get exercise, spend time with family, or simply enjoy a hobby or guilty pleasure. It is observed on June 2, or the nearest work day.
10. Take Your Dog to Work Day (Friday, June 21)
Even pets like a change of scenery once in a while, so consider hosting Take Your Dog to Work Day at your business (taking into consideration that not all workplaces are appropriate settings for pets, and not all employees are comfortable with animals around all day). Pet Sitters International, which founded this unofficial holiday, offers tips for a successful day at Pet Sitters International. Watch for their upcoming 2019 toolkit too.
11. Single Working Women’s Day (Sunday, August 4)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 54.3% of employed women are unmarried. As women continue to join the workforce in growing numbers, this number is likely to increase over time. Created in 2006 by Barbara Payne, this day acknowledges the hard work and challenges single women (regardless of marital or parental status) can face at work from childcare, to equitable pay, to adequate benefits. Learn more at Huffington Post.
12. National Cyber Security Awareness Month (October)
There’s no denying we live in a connected world. With the ability to buy just about anything online, post updates on social media, and store documents “in the cloud,” we’re becoming comfortable sharing more and more sensitive information with strangers. Be smart about data security, and use October to take a closer look at your cyber habits at work and at home. For example, “simply posting on social media that we will be going on vacation soon — or posting while on vacation — gives ‘bad actors’ the green light to go to our homes and invade our privacy, including computers, mail and those important documents we all usually keep in one place.”
13. National Clean Out Your Virtual Desktop Day (Monday, October 21)
According to timeanddate.com, “just like in real life, it is very easy to collect useless and unimportant files on our computers and desktops. And just like when we are surrounded by clutter, we tend to get unproductive, a mess on our computer desktops can negatively affect our motivation and ability to work well.” A periodic decluttering of your computer desktop will make it easier to find files and might even lower your stress level.
14. Computer Security Day (Saturday, November 30)
Since 1988 Computer Security Day has been a reminder to follow good security practices in the digital world. From weak passwords (or passwords left at the factory default), to spam, to online shopping (office supply orders anyone?), our personal and business data is out there and often vulnerable. You wouldn’t leave the key to the office on a hook outside the door, and you shouldn’t be careless with sensitive information either. Check out Stay Safe Online for practical tips.
Of course, sometimes it’s fun just to goof off all day or enjoy a potluck at work too, and you can get even more ideas for fun celebrations here, or create one of your own. Even if you only observe one or two of these unofficial holidays, the time spent stepping back from day-to-day operations can build relationships in your business. And that can make getting the job done more enjoyable for everyone.