Did you know that two-fifths of all families in the U.S. have children under the age of 18? And that 89% of fathers work full-time? Or that 82% feel they should work full-time for personal reasons, like having a family?
With stats like that, Father’s Day takes on a whole new meaning at the office. And if you’re an HR professional or boss trying to figure out how to honor the holiday, you must plan your initiatives thoughtfully.
While it’s no secret that working mothers struggle more with unfair work policies and balancing home responsibilities with the demands of a career, nowadays, most fathers also juggle working from home and managing childcare responsibilities. And with the future of remote work shifting, this may remain the case for some time. Parenting is an important part of many of your employees’ lives, and it’s important to acknowledge — but then there are the members of your team who prefer not to celebrate Father’s Day at work for whatever reason.
So, how can you both celebrate working parents, including working dads, and acknowledge the nuances of this holiday? Here are a few ideas to celebrate this Father’s Day with an eye to a more inclusive workplace for all.
How to Celebrate Father’s Day at Work
1. GIVE THEM A FATHER’S DAY TOKEN OF GRATITUDE
It’s not easy being a full-time employee and a full-time parent! Support your family-oriented fathers at work by giving them a small token of gratitude. Try a great dad-sized mug to use every day for morning coffee. Or put together a gift basket with snacks for dads —maybe a barbeque or hot sauce-themed gift basket? A gift card to the best local coffee shop would be a nice gesture as well.
2. GIFT AN EXPERIENCE FOR FATHER’S DAY
Your employees care about their work, and they have lives, too. What matters to dads at work? Their kids! Provide them with complimentary tickets to the zoo or a new pop-up kid-friendly museum experience. Working from home? Consider giving dads food credits to get dinner together as a family after work. In addition to this special occasion, consider offering them some at-home kids activities and work-from-home support resources to set them up for success.
3. SET UP A FUN FATHER’S DAY (IN-PERSON OR VIRTUAL) EVENT
Have a family-oriented workplace? Have a few dads on the team? Make it a company affair to celebrate parenthood with them! Set up activities like bingo or quizzes with prizes to get the dads feeling appreciated and recognized while getting the whole team together.
4. OFFER A STRONG MATERNAL/PATERNAL LEAVE POLICY — And Remind People to Use it!
Welcoming a newborn into the family is a beautiful and challenging experience for moms AND dads. Consider adding some new comprehensive maternal/paternal leave benefits for both parties to use to care for their newest family member, and announce it on Father’s Day. If you already have such policies in place, Father’s Day is the perfect opportunity for the HR team to send out some educational materials around these offerings.
5. MAKE FATHER’S DAY A COMPANY HOLIDAY!
If your team works on Father’s Day Sunday and the time and capacity are available, consider offering your team a full or half-day off. This perk gives fathers on your team a chance for some focused quality time with their families, and they will be sure to appreciate you for it.
Note: If you do offer this policy, make sure you do the same on Mother’s Day.
6. PLAN A “BRING YOUR KIDS TO WORK” PARTY
It doesn’t have to take up the entire day, but closing the office early for an end-of-day social hour with kids and parents is a great way to encourage employees to bond with other working parents — which is great for team morale! You’ll want to offer this same event on Mother’s Day, too, or plan a “Parent’s Day” on a different date to include both working dads and moms. (You can still announce it this Father’s Day!)
And remember, not everyone wants to be — or can be — a parent. For anyone without kids, invite them to enjoy the party and also offer them the chance to leave the office early. Not everyone wants to celebrate parenting!
7. BE FLEXIBLE IN YOUR CELEBRATION
You likely have some, if not many, employees who may have lost their fathers, are unable to become fathers, or who don’t wish to observe the holiday for another reason. Be sensitive and flexible. Allow them to opt out of any communications, events, or celebrations. When planning Father’s Day activities, ask yourself whether anyone will feel excluded. Be aware of the fact that not everyone will want to participate in the observance of this holiday and incorporate that mentality into your Father’s Day celebrations at work.
Bonus: Build Resources for Parents into Your Onboarding
No matter how you choose to celebrate Father’s Day at work, recognize their efforts! They are true superheroes!
When hiring working dads or employees in general, provide them with a comprehensive onboarding experience to set them up for success. Working from home, starting a new job, and juggling parenting responsibilities can be overwhelming! Consider implementing an onboarding best practice checklist to help make their transition into the role more seamless and manageable.