Leap Year is here! What will you do with your extra day?

A few considerations to help employee communicators become better at work and life this leap year.

Tia Over is a partner at Spring Green Communications, advising corporate and higher ed clients on communications strategy. She lives in Portland, Ore., with her family. Follow her on LinkedIn and X.

It’s a leap year, and the bonus day in February got me thinking. We communicators are all so busy every day bouncing from meeting to meeting, writing memos and developing strategies to help our teams do more with less. But what if we pledge to use the day to focus on the things we need to do to become better and healthier leaders, employees and people?

Sure, you could fly through February 29 as you do any other workday. We all know you have plenty on your plate. Instead, consider using it as an opportunity to learn something new that will yield benefits throughout your long work life.

Here are a few things employee communicators should think about to become better at work and life this leap year.

Re-create > recreate

One of our clients, University of Washington Continuum College Vice Provost Rovy Branon, talks about the “’re-create’ versus recreate” decision and asks: “How can you plan to use some of your off time to invest in skills development?” Branon argues that as our longevity increases, our years spent working extend as well, and it’s critical to build a career that can last for decades by seeking meaningful educational opportunities that prepare us for what comes next.

As an employee communicator, this “re-create to recreate” call to action has implications for both you and your team. We need to consider the skills development we need to achieve our own career goals. At the same time, we should create content that raises employee awareness of how some of the time spent on personal development can be more interesting and fun than binge-watching another show.

Online and on-demand courses make it easier than ever to find a way to learn something new. In her downtime, my business partner Melissa is pursuing a sustainability certificate from Harvard from her home office in Austria. And my 70-year-old mom, still working in high tech, is re-learning how to play the piano from YouTube lessons.

Internal communications teams can encourage this re-creating mindset by publishing content that points to tuition reimbursement or flexible work benefits, telling stories of employees undertaking their own ‘back to school’ journey and sharing tips for how they make it work, and maintaining easy-to-find training and development pages on company intranets.

Cultivate connections.

Employee communicators can make a longer year more meaningful by creating content that strengthens connections between colleagues. With more offices adopting hybrid work, everyone must be more intentional about making real connections.

Do what my colleague Nellie did recently and invite colleagues from other project teams to a virtual brainstorming session for a client’s milestone anniversary. Go behind the scenes of your employee resource groups and uncover the professional or personal experiences that led members to join and lead. Get with a few comms colleagues and host a brown bag lunch session on emerging comms trends tailored to your industry. And get out there yourself by attending a networking event or conference.

Pro tip: It’s great to attend a conference with a colleague or friend, but remember to break away every so often and allow yourself to be a little uncomfortable saying, “Hi, my name is…” You’ll be delighted by the great people you haven’t met yet!

Create calming content.

It’s not just a leap year. It’s also an election year, which will be extra stressful for some of us. What can employee communicators do to help teams stay grounded?

Partner with HR on an employee wellness campaign with in-person and virtual components. Ghostwrite an article for an executive that encourages employees to use all of their PTO for the year and outlines how the leadership team is committed to using theirs. Borrow from CBS Sunday Morning’s “Do Nothing for a Minute” and post palette cleansers on your Teams or Slack channels (I also recommend therapeutic and thought-provoking doodles like this one from organizational behavior expert Marissa Shandell).

I know what you’re thinking: This is a lot to expect from one 24-hour day. But remember, you don’t have to complete it on February 29. Instead, think of the bonus day as a chance to get started on your long-term goals for your team and for yourself. Map out your plans so the next time a leap year rolls around (2028 is coming for us all), you can look back at what you’ve created with pride.

And hey—if it all gets to be too much, reach out to your agency team and let them become your force multipliers, helping turn your Leap Year Roadmap into reality.


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