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How can you express gratitude virtually this Thanksgiving?

Like most everything about 2020, Thanksgiving is looking a little different this year. But we can still express gratitude and appreciation for each other while we’re apart.

Here at PI, we’re embracing an old tradition that takes on new meaning in a remote work environment: We’re bringing back pen pals! And we wanted to share the idea in case you’re looking for a new way to celebrate the holiday safely with your virtual team. 

Maintaining remote company culture is an ongoing challenge. But our People Ops team has once again risen to the call with a creative idea designed to promote a sense of community—even when we can’t see each other or share homemade food. 

“We got the idea for pen pals from our Thanksgiving tradition of having a potluck. We’d always leave note cards on tables in our lunchroom if people wanted to write a thank you to a fellow PIoneer,” said Caraline Winch, PI Recruiter. 

Being intentional about expressing thanks 

Our culture hinges on trust, self-awareness, and especially during COVID, empathy. So it’s only natural that we do the same with Thanksgiving festivities. 

Employees who choose to participate are randomly assigned a pen pal. 

“Handwritten notes make it feel that much more meaningful and intentional,” said Kristen Robertson, PI Partner Activation Manager. “That’s what companies have to do during hard times like these: Find ways to be intentional with how you connect with your people regardless of how little or small it may be. It makes a big impact.” 

Senders go out of their way to create a genuine expression of support, appreciation, and gratitude for their peers. 

That’s important whether you’re in office or out, now and moving forward. But let’s face it—we can all use a little extra thanks this year. 


Andy is a content writer and editor at PI. He's an unashamed map geek, hoops enthusiast, and Goldfish cracker aficionado.

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