Wondering how to celebrate Leap Day with employees? Make the “extra” 24 hours in February count by focusing on employee appreciation and workplace fun!
Every four years, Leap Day extends the 28-day month of February by one day to keep our calendar system in line with the solar year, a practice that dates back about 2,000 years to the era of Julius Caesar.
Because Leap Day happens only every four years, it poses a unique challenge in the workplace. Does Leap Day even count as a workday, or is it a free pass to take off? (One Oakland, Calif. company decided to simply shut down for the day “as it is not a real day.”) Are salaried employees technically paid for their work on Leap Day? Do companies need to account for paying hourly workers for an extra day of work? How will it affect payroll’s schedule?
These may seem like mostly insignificant or even theoretical issues — we’re talking, after all, about one day every four years — but several workplace experts have tackled them.
MoneyTips editor-in-chief Jeff Hoyt examines the finer points of Leap Day in the workplace in his recent blog, “Are You Working for Free on Leap Day?”
Others have done the math.
Employees salaried annually at $50,000, for example, work for 73 cents less per day during Leap Years in order to fund their salary on Feb. 29, according to Workplace Insights, a blog for the North Carolina nonprofit employers organization Capital Associated Industries (CAI). For payroll and pay schedule issues, CAI’s Andy Bradshaw says it’s “imperative for HR professionals to take the time to examine whether their employees’ pay will be affected by the upcoming Leap Day.”
However your company decides to handle Leap Day compensation, there’s always one way to reward employees that’s free, sustainable and always appreciated: your gratitude.
Read on to find out how to celebrate Leap Day with employees — and why it’s important that your celebration center around employee recognition.
A Bonus Day to Celebrate Employees
During non-Leap Years, you have 365 days to engage employees. This year you have 366 days!
So, maybe it’s time to rethink our attitude to Leap Days.
“There’s really not much hoopla associated with Leap Day at all — except for maybe a few lame jokes about how it won’t happen for another four years,” write Forbes contributors David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom.
Don’t let it slip by like just another day, Sturt and Nordstrom recommend:
“Here’s a thought. What if instead of just letting it pass, you used those 24 hours to do the really important things you meant to do all year long, but could never find the time for? What if you used your extra 24 hours to invest in your team’s happiness, motivation and success at work by appreciating their great work?”
A common complaint from managers is not having the time to recognize employees. And yet, as Sturt and Nordstrom point out, it’s time well spent. Lack of appreciation is one of the top reasons employees leave their jobs.
For the disengaged employees who do stay, the costs are high: lower productivity, poor customer service and an all-around lack of motivation.
Encourage supervisors to think of Leap Day as a bonus day this year — extra time to do the things they may not feel they have time for otherwise, like throw a small Thank You party for employees or a “just because” celebration of something that’s meaningful to employees.
The celebration doesn’t even need to have a reason outside making sure employees feel valued and celebrated at work. The most important thing is that managers are creating the time and space to get their staff connected socially and are reinforcing a culture of gratitude.
You’ll also be kicking off the week of Employee Appreciation Day with a celebratory, appreciative tone!
Entrepreneur’s Lambeth Hochwald has a list of ways to celebrate Leap Day with employees, customers and colleagues.
She gives as one example an advertising agency that holds a “Leap Lunch” for clients.
“Entrepreneurs find themselves most often engaging with clients or vendors when there’s a specific need or deadline to be tended to,” the advertising agency president tells her. “Our Leap Lunch is focused on letting all those people who are key to our success know that we appreciate our collaboration without a context of a need.”
We hope you take advantage of the extra day to enjoy and celebrate your workplace!
Want practical tips to build your Thank You culture every day this year? Download gThankYou’s FREE Day-to-Day Celebration Calendar for tips on how to plan daily recognition and organize regular celebrations throughout the year. This one-of-a-kind eBook will help you to build an everyday culture of appreciation with month-by-month guides, case studies, research highlights, how-to recognition advice and celebration ideas for specific holidays and anytime.
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