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Creative Thanksgiving Office Ideas to Foster Gratitude & Team Spirit

Let’s talk turkey. If your company doesn’t typically celebrate Thanksgiving, maybe it’s time to start. After all, Thanksgiving is all about expressing gratitude and appreciation—and these are qualities every workplace can use more of these days.

Besides, as with all workplace holiday festivities, such celebrations go a long way toward engaging employees and nurturing team bonding.

Best of all, with our simple Thanksgiving office ideas, it’s also major fun.

The Business Case for Celebrating Thanksgiving at Work

Beyond enjoyable, there are several excellent business reasons for creating a happy Thanksgiving at work.

For starters, hosting festive group gatherings is a proven way of boosting morale at work and building a sense of community.

In addition to all that invaluable team bonding, Thanksgiving presents a stellar opportunity for employers to express appreciation—and research shows that even a little recognition makes employees feel valued.

Finally, when you encourage employees to experience gratitude, it benefits their physical and psychological well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, expressing gratitude improves sleep, decreases anxiety, and boosts immunity—which, as the National Institutes of Health has established, leads to better job performance and organizational outcomes. It's a win/win.


Meaningful Thanksgiving Office Ideas

There is no shortage of creative Thanksgiving ideas for the workplace; the only limits are your imagination and budget. These ideas will get you started.


Organize a Thanksgiving Potluck

Considering that the most successful workplace holiday festivities are food-centric, it’s a safe bet that most employees will rally around any celebratory feast.

But why limit your Thanksgiving potluck ideas for work to traditional fare? Invite employees to bring one of their specialties, regardless of season—or, if you’re fortunate enough to manage a multi-cultural workforce, a dish representing their native culture.

Or encourage your more adventurous employees to make an authentic Native American recipe. After all, November is Native American Heritage Month, which also deserves attention.

The more you mix it up, the livelier—and more buzz-worthy—your potluck will be.

Put Up Thanksgiving Office Décor

When it comes to Thanksgiving office décor, it doesn’t need to be fancy to be effective. For example, print out some Thanksgiving coloring pages and invite employees to turn their kids loose, then display their masterpieces at work.

Or, ask each department to create its own Thanksgiving office décor inspirations. Turn it into a company-wide contest, and you just might start a new corporate tradition.

Plan Thanksgiving-themed Office Activities

No happy Thanksgiving work celebration is complete without a few engagement-boosting activities. Whether inviting employees to create team-specific Thanksgiving work memes or hosting a recipe swap, these are all about boosting morale at work.

Consider hosting a food drive for your local food pantry. Or building a Gratitude Wall, where employees can post notes and photos of the people and things they’re most thankful for, at work and beyond.


Celebrating Thanksgiving Remotely?

If you manage a remote or hybrid workforce, you can still translate Thanksgiving ideas for the workplace into virtual celebrations—and you should, because building a sense of community is even more important when your workforce is scattered.  

So, build an online gratitude wall, and encourage employees to post there. Hold a virtual potluck, complete with recipe sharing. Maybe spring for an online cooking class—another way to show appreciation and encourage team bonding.


Have a Happy Thanksgiving at Work

At a time when employers are hungry for ways to enhance engagement and team spirit, maximizing workplace holiday festivities is as foolproof as it gets.

If your organization is new to this, it’s okay to start small. By all means, keep it authentic—say, adapting these Thanksgiving office ideas to suit your workforce.

When you celebrate the holidays at work, it’s understood that you’re really celebrating your employees. And Thanksgiving—with its emphasis on inclusivity and gratitude—makes it as easy as (pumpkin) pie.

For more ideas on virtual Thanksgiving celebrations, click here. Or learn how Namely uses HR technology to maximize employee engagement.

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