2020 is a Leap Year which means we all get an extra day in February. Read our expert tips about how to use the bonus hours to your advantage and boost employee engagement too.
We will have a Leap Day on Saturday 29 February 2020
A Leap Year occurs every four years and the extra day is always put onto February, as this is the shortest month. Instead of the usual 365 days in a year, 2020 will give us 366.
Why do we have a Leap Year?
One of the top questions searched on Google over the last few weeks is “Why do we have a Leap Year?”
Here’s the explanation in black and white:
- We align our calendar year with the Earth’s rotation around the Sun, which takes 365, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds to orbit once.
- We can't end each year exactly on 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds, so we round the number of days in a year down to 365
- So that we don’t lose the 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds from our lifetime, we add an extra day to our calendar every four years
- If we didn’t add on a Leap Day we’d lose almost 24 whole days every 100 years!
What will your business do with the extra day?
You might not have thought about what your business could do with the extra day this year as 29 February falls on a Saturday. However, as 2020 is one day longer, you are theoretically gaining an additional working day.
We believe the extra time shouldn’t be wasted on ‘business as usual’ and should be used to boost engagement and productivity. After all, happy employees mean happy customers.
You may be wondering what you could do with the extra hours, or when to use them, given that February is nearly out. Well, wonder not, our experts have 29 ideas that are guaranteed to make an impact, whenever you choose to do them.
29 ways you can increase employee engagement using 2020's Leap Year day
TIME TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Studies continue to show the more learning and development opportunities you give your employees, the more engaged they are. Use the extra day to enable every employee – including Senior Leadership members – to learn something new.
You could send employees on a course, encourage attendance at a business event related to your industry, sign your company up to an online learning resource such as Linkedin Learning, or have a day offsite to nurture a non-work focused skill.
COMPANY BIKE RIDE
Cycling continues to be a popular hobby and is a great commuting method for many. However, not all employees will find time to cycle every week.
Encourage staff to get active by organising a company-wide bike ride. Cycling is great for physical and mental health, giving your employees a little boost of energy.
“Every year we hold the One Hundred Mile Commute challenge where employees take part in cycling from our office in Bath to our Apsley office. We do it to celebrate Cycle To Work Day, raise money for our charity of the year and because we love cycle commuting. It generates a real buzz in the office, whilst contributing to our CSR efforts at the same time!” – David Wallace, Blackhawk Network, commuter via Cyclescheme.
DEDICATE ONE DAY TO ADMIN – AND MAKE IT FUN
Research by Unit4 shows almost 80 working days are spent every year on admin. Help employees feel more productive by enabling them to tick mundane jobs off their lists by dedicating one full day to the administrative tasks there’s never enough time to do. This kind of work can be extremely boring, so make the environment fun for employees with music, snacks and refreshments.
BRING YOUR FAMILY TO WORK DAY
It’s important to get to know your employees and understand more about their lives outside the office. Use the extra day to enable your workforce to bring a family member or someone special into work. Employees will enjoy showing their family around and introducing them to colleagues.
REWARD A PEER OF YOUR CHOICE
Saying “thank you” creates one of the best cultures a business can have. Kick-start this ethos by giving every employee the opportunity to reward a peer of their choice and explain why they have done so.
Make it easy for colleagues to recognise each other all year round with a reward platform, such as Achievers. The power of peer-to-peer recognition should never be underestimated!
CLOSE THE OFFICE FOR A DAY
“Close the office?” we hear you say. Yes - nothing says “thank you” and “well done” more than giving employees an extra day off. Tell employees you’re celebrating the Leap Yearby recognising their hard work and creating your own ‘bank holiday’. A three-day weekend will help your workforce feel relaxed, happy, and reinvigorated for when they return to the office.
GET TO KNOW A PEER
Many workplaces have departments working in silos. Use the extra day to encourage employees to get to know peers they don’t usually come into contact with.
Arrange for departments that don’t cross over to meet in your breakout areas. Entice them in with coffee and cake and get department managers to initiate introductions.
Not only will employees enjoy getting to know someone new, but you’ll open up opportunities for them to learn about other areas of the business too.
INVITE AN INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER INTO THE OFFICE
Listening to someone inspirational is motivating. Invite a speaker into the office that’ll invigorate your employees. The speaker could take any direction, such as building a business from a female-boss perspective like Mary Portas, to an athlete’s motivating mindset like Sir Steve Redgrave, or even a speaker to help employees think outside the box like Bear Grylls. Whoever you choose, they’re sure to come away buzzing, ready to implement what they’ve learnt.
REWARD YOUR EMPLOYEES
A gift instantly makes someone feel happy, so why not wish employees a “Happy Leap Year” with a present from your company.
When it comes to gifts for employees however, you should never second guess what you think they’d like. Get it right with a multi-retail gift card where you give your employees the control to choose where, when and how they spend their gift.
You could even go one step further and make recognition in ‘bulk’ easier by using a reward platform such as Select.
Plus, don’t forget that if your Leap Year gift is under £50 per employee, it’s a trivial benefit, so you won’t need to pay tax!
SWAP ROLES FOR THE DAY
Ever wondered what it’s like to do your colleague’s job? Well, with a “Swap Roles for the Day” initiative your employees can find out. Learning new skills is great for engagement. And, getting to know how another role works will help your employees understand the bigger picture and how they fit within it.
HOLD AN EMPLOYEE BENEFITS FAIR
You might offer a stellar list of employee benefits, but can you be sure your employees know what they are, how to use them and the value of them?
Hold an employee benefits fair in your office where providers chat to your employees and explain how their benefits add value to their lives – inside and outside the office.
CLEANSE YOUR WORKSPACE DAY
Research shows cluttered environments make it harder for us to focus. Use the extra day to encourage employees to give their workspaces a good clean and tidy. Provide extra bins so unwanted desk and drawer items can be thrown away, offer antibacterial products for cleaning screens and keyboards, and urge employees to spend time organising their mailboxes.
Watch your employees come back into work the next day feeling cleansed and motivated to work in their new, ‘less noisy’ space.
BRING YOUR PET TO WORK DAY
Pets don’t get much of a look in when it comes to employee benefits. Make a fuss of your employees’ pets by allowing them to bring them into work. Ok, you might need to barrier departments off, and the pets probably won’t last all day, but the opportunity for an employee to show off their beloved animal is bound to make them feel happy.
If you’d rather outsource the activity to a company who knows what they’re doing, there are some great ‘pet therapy’ businesses such as Paws in Work.
RETRAIN ON YOUR ESSENTIAL COMPANY PLATFORMS
There’s a tech platform for most business processes these days, and while these platforms are vital, there’ll be employees who don’t know how to use them to their best advantage.
Spend a day (re)educating your workforce on how to use your technology efficiently and effectively. It’ll enable employees to ask questions, brush up on their skills, and make them more productive within their day to day roles.
MENTAL HEALTH COACHING SESSIONS
Mental Health coaches are great at giving advice to prevent employees feeling stressed, tired and overwhelmed. Bring a Mental Health Coach into the office to have 1-2-1 or group sessions that help participants learn how to look after themselves, change mindsets, and improve their overall mental wellbeing.
WRITE A BLOG POST
Dedicate a day to allow employees to channel their inner blogger.
Get a professional blogger into the office to chat about how it all works in the morning. Then, spend the rest of the afternoon writing. Writing is good for the soul. Plus, if the blogs are good, you could share them on your website and give your SEO a boost!
HOLD AN HONESTY DAY
It’s normal for employees to feel frustrated about things at work, but not have the courage or words to express them. Hold an Honesty Day that allows employees to articulate exactly how they feel.
Make comments anonymous with an Honesty Post Box (physical or online). Your company might not be happy with the results, but at least you’ll know exactly how your workforce feels and you can take action to put things right.
A GAMES AFTERNOON
The board games industry was booming at the end of 2019. Savvy bars and pubs even started providing board games for customers to keep up with the trend. Celebrate the extra day by throwing a games afternoon for your staff.
Board games often require thinking outside the box, teamwork and strategy – all skills that your employees will be practising, without even realising it.
SCHEDULE A MEETINGS AMNESTY
Research shows the average UK worker spends 26 days a year in a business meeting. Allow employees to take back some of this time by holding a meetings amnesty – no meetings on one particular day this year. It’ll help employees feel more productive, and might even make them think twice before scheduling their next catch up with colleagues!
GRAB A COFFEE WITH A COLLEAGUE
UK workers are known for skipping lunch breaks. Most of us only take half an hour every day. Acknowledge this by giving employees a Coffee Shop Gift Card to take a trip out of the office, find a coffee shop, and enjoy a cuppa with a colleague. Employees will appreciate your encouragement to get them to step away from their desks. Regular breaks are good for productivity too.
FUNDRAISE FOR CHARITY
One of the key attributes for making sure your employees are happy at work is to give their activities ‘meaning’. Meaning could be interpreted in many ways and one is supporting a charity or cause that matters to your employees.
Hold a fundraising day where your workforce come together to raise money for a chosen charity or organisation. It could be as simple as a bake sale, or something a bit more physical like a marathon!
ONE DAY TO WIN THE BEST INCENTIVE EVER
Use the extra day to launch an out-of-this-world incentive. Set fair targets across the business and at the end of your chosen Leap Day, reward the top 10, 20 or 30 employees with a once in a lifetime opportunity. It could be a week away, a memorable experience, or you could give them budget to choose their own prize.
Make the mechanic of your reward simple yet impactful by using Select Codes. The code will enable employees to be presented with the prize straight away, while giving them freedom to choose where, when and how they use it.
DINE OUT FOR LUNCH
Make lunchtime an occasion again by giving every employee a Restaurant Choice Gift Card to eat lunch out of the office on your chosen Leap Day.
A Restaurant Choice Gift Card enables employees to have lunch in a variety of popular restaurants such as ASK, Pizza Express, Nando’s and YO! Sushi. A one-off treat will get employees chatting about their lunch, chatting over lunch and chatting after lunch. They’re sure to walk away from work feeling happy!
COMPANY-WIDE SEMINAR AFTERNOON
It’s important for employees to understand how their role impacts your wider business.
Use the extra day to hold a company-wide seminar one afternoon this year, where CEOs and Managers take it in turns to update employees about future plans, business decisions, and company goals.
HOLD A WELLBEING DAY
Despite “wellbeing” being a word that’s commonly used, many employees still don’t know how to improve their own wellness.
Dedicate one day this year to wellbeing. You could have 1-2-1 personal training sessions, offer annual gym memberships, start a meditation group, launch dance classes and even provide massage or reflexology appointments.
VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME
Businesses are always looking for new ways to engage their workforce, and volunteering has proven to be an effective offering. Starbucks in particular is well-known for ‘paying’ its employees to work in non-profit organisations for half of the working week.
So, why not encourage each department or team to take a day out and volunteer for a charity they feel passionate about. The great benefit to you is that these events would double as a team building day – something that always helps employees to refocus.
WEAR WHAT YOU WANT
Workwear isn’t always comfortable and it can sometimes squash our personality. Have a “wear what you want” day at work. Employees could come in comfy loungewear, jeans and trainers, pyjamas - or even fancy dress if they really want to! It’ll make ‘a normal day in the office’ less normal which will get employees chatting, smiling and laughing.
WORK REMOTELY DAY
Flexible working is the top benefit that employees want from their job.
Encourage employees who don’t usually work remotely to work elsewhere, so they can benefit from the flexibility. Working remotely doesn’t have to mean working from home. Inform employees they could find a flexible working space, a coffee shop or even work from the local gym! Showing employees the possibilities of how flexible working could benefit their lives will encourage them to change habits and feel motivated again.
THROW A LEAP YEAR PARTY
Finally, who doesn’t love a party? Giving employees the opportunity to let their hair down, be wined and dined, and socialise with colleagues is a great way to make people feel excited about the company they work for. Surprise employees by throwing a party to celebrate the Leap Year on your chosen day.
If you’d like more suggestions or support with an employee engagement programme, get in touch with our team by filling out the contact form to your right.