The Local Government Guide to Gratitude

No one deserves a holiday more than local government employees. As the caregivers, stewards, and guardians of your communities, you have navigated an unprecedented two years and managed to come through on the other side stronger than ever. 

With the holiday season approaching, our team at OpenGov would like to acknowledge our gratitude for the local communities we work with across the country. As a token of our appreciation for your selfless dedication to those around you, we want to help you celebrate yourselves—because we know how hard that is for those of you who put everyone else’s needs first.

Gratitude for Local Government

We hope you’ll utilize this Guide to Gratitude to uncover 10 new ways to connect, celebrate, renew, and reflect on your many accomplishments, not only during the holiday season but all year long. You deserve it.


1. Take a meeting outside. With the days getting shorter, it can be hard to finish up work before the sun starts setting. If you’re back in the office, ask to swap a 1:1 check in with a stroll around the block or a walk to get coffee. Ask a coworker whether they want to stretch their legs, turn off their cameras, and take a voice call while walking instead. Or, thanks to cloud technology, tackle that to-do list from a sunny outdoor location.

2. Share a note of appreciation with your colleagues. There’s nothing better than someone taking notice of your effort. Whether it’s a work-related feat or the daily ways your coworkers show up, let your colleagues know you see them and appreciate what they bring to your culture. Include everyone by doing this fish-bowl style: Put names into a hat and draw one person each to send a nice note.  

3. Start a new holiday tradition. Pick a theme that represents this past year working in local government—resilience, for example—and select a novel, podcast, or movie that you feel best exemplifies it. Everyone can share a suggestion, or collectively select one work and participate in a voluntary discussion sometime after the New Year.


4. Hold a “win” meeting. No matter how tired you may be at this point in the year, you’ve accomplished a lot! Whether you transformed your budgeting process, moved your procurement process to an online workflow, or just found a better method for tackling your to-do list, we’re impressed. You and your colleagues deserve a pat on the back. Spend some time with your team sharing both a personal and professional win from 2021, then celebrate your collective accomplishments together.

5. Host a team bonding activity. Need an idea for a team celebration? Try Two Truths And a Lie, holiday edition. It’s a game where everyone submits three of their holiday traditions. Two of them are true and one is a lie. Your colleagues must guess which is the lie. It’s an engaging way to foster inclusivity and celebrate each other’s diverse traditions, and can  easily be adapted to a virtual environment. 

6. Enjoy a solo celebration. The holidays are often busy, with lots of socializing and activities packed in. Plan to take some time for yourself in the weeks to come by engaging in a solo seasonal activity that will bring you joy. Take a class. Volunteer. See a live show, or a movie. Visit a holiday market. Drive through a light-up display. There are plenty of ways to get into the spirit of things without a large crowd. 


7. Pause your to-dos. There is nothing worse than the feeling of looming to-dos that prevent you from enjoying your well-deserved time off. In advance of any vacation time you may be taking around the holiday season, plan out what can wait until your return so you aren’t spending precious minutes stressed about your return to work. Set your Out Of Office message a day or two later than your actual return to give yourself some space to tackle your inbox. Even more boldly, don’t tackle it at all. Some experts suggest it’s better to focus on task prioritization your first day back than cleaning up your email.

8. Give yourself the gift of time. Our friends at ELGL recently highlighted some great holiday advice from former municipal department head, Stephanie Chase: It is okay to take a break! Protect your time and energy in the weeks to come by saying no to events you are not interested in attending and re-evaluate your calendar to ensure your schedule is aligned with the people and activities that will re-energize you. 


9. What’s one thing you overcame this year that you feel proud of? While 2021 hasn’t been a cakewalk, do you have a new strategy or solution for dealing with a specific challenge? Did you learn something new that you didn’t know before? 

10. What’s something you’re really looking forward to in 2022? It might be something work-related, such as investing in technology upgrades with newly available SLFRF funds from ARPA. Or it could be something personal, such as traveling to a new country. Whatever it is, share it with your team, and give yourself a visual cue at your desk to remind yourself that the best is yet to come. 

Let the gratitude fest begin!

We hope this guide serves as a reminder to take care of yourselves, refresh, and renew in the weeks and months to come. Take care of yourselves, so you can continue to take care of your communities. 

Category: OpenGov Updates

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