Friday, April 20, 2007

Celebrate Aardvark Day! (& your hard-working staff)

So- today's Aardvark Day! It makes me smile every time I think of it. Why does this small animal rank a holiday of its own? Well- think of it as a day where your assignment is to enjoy yourself. Rest and restoration. Guilt-free. No email-checking allowed.

Here's the deal- a client was brainstorming how to reward his very hardworking, successful team- thinking about what he could do for them, something they'd be excited about. We came up with Spring Fever Day- a day to close the office so everyone can enjoy the day any way they like. Nice huh?

When he told his team, they chose today as THE day, and they decided to rename it Aardvark Day. Not sure why, but heck, it seems much more fun than Spring Fever Day, don't you think?

I love this. The team has been working long hours; billability isn't an issue. Clients were told the office would be closed, no problem, all the feedback was good. Everyone loved getting the day off- do you know that after money, time off ranks second in most surveys of what's valued as a reward?

Aardvark Day reinforced comaraderie and loyalty, and lightened up the office atmosphere in a time of stress- making his firm a more attractive place to work. For the entire month before Aardvark day, staff was jazzed. The team loved telling others they had a day off, making up wild stories about what they'd do with that time. Everyone was getting so burned out that they were losing productivity as well as heart, so the free time is going to pay off next week, when everyone's back at work and sharing their Aardvark Day adventures.

There are lots of ways to show that you care about your employees- catered lunches in the office, nights out, gift certificates, tickets or other gifts.  More on that another day. Right now- I just want to enjoy the rest of Aardvark Day, it's almost over!