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Gratitude in the Workplace

Gratitude in the Workplace

We are all familiar with the concept of gratitude and feeling appreciation but are we acknowledging the social dimension of gratitude and how it affects our relationships, including those at work?

Robert Emmons, leading expert on gratitude, describes two key elements of gratitude. 'First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received'. Secondly, he says 'we recognise that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people — or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives'.

The social dimension of gratitude has huge implications on strengthening our relationships as it requires us to acknowledges the positive input and support of other people in our lives.

Why gratitude at work?

As well as creating a more pleasant working environment, research has shown that gratitude in the workplace:

Gratitude interventions

Many people feel awkward when expressing thanks to each other, especially when it is not part of a ‘natural’ exchange. So how can employers and employers introduce gratitude interventions in the workplace without making it feel really awkward?

A key strategy is to integrate gratitude into all HR strategies, rather than have an independent gratitude programme and to have it followed from the top down. This will establish the organisation’s commitment to the practice and ensure that it becomes part of regular working practice.

How to show appreciation

Showing gratitude can be formal, informal, fun and creative. Here are some suggestions to incorporate gratitude into the workplace:

  • Emails from top management detailing employees’ core strengths shared with the whole company

  • Meetings starting with an appreciative introduction of each person and their strengths

  • Contact with beneficiaries to show employees how their job has helped others

  • Daily meetings where employees and supervisors discuss their progress and share their plans ahead

  • Frequent development feedback assessments and surveys

  • Celebrate work success publicly with the organisation

  • Ask employees how they would like to be thanked

  • Reward people based on their individual interests. Cinema tickets for film enthusiasts, a drawing class for a keen artist or restaurant voucher for gastronomes. A well-chosen and thoughtful gift shows a person they are known and valued.

  • Celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries

  • Offer continuing education to show support of people’s career growth

  • Recognise non work-related achievements

  • Take staff out to lunch

  • Buying a thank you coffee for a colleague is a simple way to boost someone’s day

  • Create a relaxing and welcoming break room with comfortable seats. Use your creativity to make it an interesting and restful place to be

  • Say thank you and mean it. If it feels awkward in person then invest in some thank you cards and write down your thanks instead!

A final word of thanks

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance’. - Eckhart Tolle.

Showing appreciation for your colleagues creates a more positive and productive working environment. The simple act of saying thank you has the added benefit of boosting your own wellbeing, so it's a win-win for everybody.

Thanks to Sara Smyth for sharing this article.

Author: Sara Smyth is a yoga teacher, massage therapist and wellbeing writer. Find out more here https://mamaloveyogalondon.com/

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