If you like how gratitude makes you feel, you might want to bring those effects with you to work. Some big companies are experimenting with the idea. Recent studies show that employee appreciation programs can increase team spirit, morale, and productivity.
On the other hand, the workplace can be a difficult environment for cultivating gratitude. How can thankfulness coexist with competition and ambition? Do you feel comfortable expressing emotions in front of your colleagues?
Practicing gratitude at work may require taking some risks, but the results are worth it.
Start with these ideas that will help you find more opportunities to count your blessings and say thank you at work.
Cultivating Gratitude on Your Own
You control your attitude and experiences. Regardless of your job position or industry, there are many things you can do to feel more grateful.
Try these strategies:
- Pay attention. Appreciating your coworkers starts with getting to know them. Make time for small talk and follow up to see how things turn out when they have a sick child or they’re buying a new house.
- Remember special occasions. Congratulate others on birthdays and work anniversaries. Wish your colleagues a Merry Christmas or Happy Diwali.
- Communicate in person. Thanking others in person makes a deeper impression than sending an email. Drop by their office or invite them out to lunch.
- Be inclusive. Reach out to employees who tend to be less visible. Acknowledge the cleaning crew and think about how their efforts make your life more pleasant.
- Personalize your approach. Each of us has our own preferences for how we like to be thanked. You may enjoy public praise while your colleague would rather receive a pat on the back in private or be offered an afternoon off.
- Keep a journal. If you’re struggling to come up with something nice to say, try writing down your positive experiences as they happen. You can use a notebook or an app on your phone.
- Bring in treats. Give your office mates donuts or chips and salsa. Sharing food is one way to develop relationships.
Cultivating Gratitude with Your Colleagues
Help your employer encourage a culture of gratitude. Do your part to help yourself and others feel more appreciated.
Use these techniques to encourage gratitude at work:
- Build a website. Go public with your gratitude. Ask your boss about creating a website page or bulletin board to post messages of appreciation.
- Speak up at meetings. Open or close staff meetings by inviting the team to thank anyone who made a special contribution recently. Another helpful item for the agenda might be a few minutes to meditate about gratitude or empathy.
- Throw parties. Get together to celebrate milestones like completing a major project or landing a new client. Recognize the individual and combined efforts that go into each success. Make a toast or hand out awards.
- Exchange gifts. Thoughtful gifts can express gratitude even if your budget is limited. Give each team member a little something. Make it a habit to return from vacations and business trips with a box of salt water taffy from the Jersey shore or chocolates from Belgium.
- Share support. The most authentic and meaningful way to show gratitude may be to help your coworkers out on a consistent basis. Lend a hand when someone is facing a tight deadline. Volunteer to cover their tasks while they take a mental health day.
Focus on the positive aspects of your job and let your coworkers know how they brighten up your working life. Experiencing more gratitude at work will increase your job satisfaction and may even help you to advance in your career.