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5 Tips for a Successful Thanksgiving Potluck at Work


Celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with an office potluck a few days before the big event can be a fun holiday activity to bring workers together in an enjoyable, social setting. These types of workplace events can have positive impact on morale and team spirit, and - especially at Thanksgiving - also provide a small way to reinforce to workers that that the company is thankful for their efforts and contributions.

5 Tips for Planning an Office Thanksgiving Potluck

If you're planning to hold a Thanksgiving potluck in your office, keep these five important tips in mind:

  • Company contribution - At a minimum, the company should provide the main dish(es) for the event. Since it is a Thanksgiving event, serving turkey is a must. You may also want to provide ham, and there should also be a protein option for vegetarian employees. It's also a good idea for the company to provide plates, flatware, napkins, cups, ice and beverages (such as iced tea, lemonade, bottled water, soft drinks).

  • Employee contributions - Let employees know what the company is providing and communicate any specific guidelines on what they should bring. For example, you could leave things to chance and let workers bring whatever they want without requiring advance notice. Or, you could ask people to "sign up" to bring a specific dish or category of dish to try to ensure that there is a good variety of items.

  • Incorporate friendly competition - You could add a little excitement to the event by working in a "people's choice" prize for the best homemade employee-contributed item in each category. For example, you could have participants vote on things like the "best side dish" or "best dessert". Award goodies like cookware or supermarket gift cards to the winners, and feature pictures of the winning dishes on y-our company's social media profiles or in the employee newsletter.

  • Schedule ahead of Thanksgiving vacations - Consider the time frame that workers generally take vacation time in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday when choosing a date for the event. If a large portion of your workplace is scheduled to be off from work the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, for example, hold the event on Monday, or even the week before. This will maximize the possibility that everyone has an opportunity to participate.

  • Express employer gratitude - Remember that Thanksgiving is a time to acknowledge what we are thankful for - and that includes employers. It's a good idea to do something special during the event to show employees that they are appreciated. This could include having the boss make a special statement at the beginning of the event, sharing gifts with each employee that can be used in their holiday celebrations at home (such as frozen turkeys, fruit baskets, etc.), giving them tokens of appreciation (such as gift cards, movie tickets, merchandise, etc.).

Fun Workplace Thanksgiving Event

An office Thanksgiving potluck can be a really fun workplace event, and it provides a great opportunity to bring co-workers together in a positive setting characterized by goodwill and fun. Why not make this an annual event at your company?

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