The Labor Day holiday has come to represent many things beyond the original vision put forth by union leaders in the nineteenth century. For some, it represents one final dash to the beach for an end-of-summer celebration. Maybe it’s a small town parade with marching Cub Scouts and glad-handing politicians. For others it’s the perfect opportunity to replace an aging washing machine thanks to a “Biggest Labor Day Sale EVER!” None of these things are bad, in fact they have become part of the rituals we’ve come to enjoy each September.
But if you’re part of the workforce, or if you support someone who goes to work and comes home five days a week (or more), this day is about celebrating you and the contribution you make to keep this country moving forward. That’s what the holiday is supposed to be about, and it’s an opportunity for managers to not only recognize the contributions of their employees, but to help those workers take a moment to recognize their own value as well as that of their coworkers.
Here are three quality of life hacks to help managers make that happen.
- First, don’t just let your staff bolt for the door on Friday afternoon without first saying something either in person or by email about what this holiday means and what your employees mean to the success of your company. Be specific. Talk about challenges that have been overcome and success stories that have had an impact on the company as a whole this year. Recommit yourself and the company to recognizing the impact that your teams have each day and over the long term.
- Second, if possible, make a point of having this holiday weekend be completely work-free. Everyone feels the tug from their laptop or cellphone to just check in and make sure things are under control. This weekend should be different. Tell your staff to let go, spend time with their friends and families, and put work worries aside for a few days. Just hearing that from a boss will create a sense of relief. But it’s also a tangible way to show you realize that your workers’ dedication goes beyond normal working hours.
- Finally, welcome everyone back to work Tuesday morning with energy and a positive attitude. For many workers, the Tuesday after Labor Day presents a harsh transition to reality. Summer’s over, the kids are back in school, traffic is at its yearly worst, and Winter’s coming. It may be the start to one of the busiest times of year, but it doesn’t have to be miserable. Being sensitive to how your colleagues are adjusting to their post-Summer lives will go a long way to keeping employees happy and productivity up at a time when your business needs it most.
How will you celebrate your employees this Labor Day? Share your ideas in the comments section.