Thank you for visiting our blog.
Thank you for taking the time to think about improving your workplace.
We appreciate you.
And thank you for noticing how just hearing those words can change how you think.
They say the three most powerful words in the English language are “I love you”, but you can do so much more with only two: “Thank you.”
And right now, with a global pandemic, there is so much more to be done. New research shows that between 25% and 35% of North American workers often experience symptoms of depression since COVID-19. The onus is on us, employers and colleagues, to deflect the emotional impact of the virus.
And as you’ve just seen, one way to change how we think and feel is through positive gratitude. Adopting a culture of appreciation in your workplace is a surefire way to improve morale, lower attrition rates, and keep everyone positive and productive.
How to say thanks during a pandemic
Employee engagement is nothing new. And with all the new distractions this year has put in front of us — all the stress, pivoting, and panic — it’s important not to forget the traditions that matter.
If you’ve moved from working together in-person to working remotely, you might be forgetting how many tiny signs of gratitude are given face to face.
Things like smiles, laughter, checking in on someone as you pass them in the hall, handing someone a thank you card. These were subtle things that affected us deeply. Now, it’s important to replace those and stay actively engaged with our colleagues and employees to maintain that connection, and ensure everyone feels appreciated.
It’s as simple as picking up the phone when you don’t need something. Providing a positive piece of feedback that isn’t meant to soften the blow of a negative one. Turning your personal events into virtual events!
Did you used to have a monthly employee appreciation lunch? Why not get delivery for your team, and host a luncheon online! Did you have some kind of fundraiser or charity drive at the office? You can still have one in your digital workspace!
Just like your business changed to keep alive during the pandemic, so too can your mentality about workplace gratitude.
How to say thanks on a holiday
Holidays are a fantastic time to show appreciation to the members of your staff!
Not only do they often come with time off to spend with family and a sense of ease in the workplace, it’s also a socially acceptable (and sometimes expected) time to give gifts!
The simplest gift is a card. Mailing cards to your employees at home puts a personal touch on your show of gratitude.
Always keep in mind that you set the scale for what constitutes a good gift. If you gave away 100$ gift cards last year, giving them a dollar store gumball this year will seem weak, and make them question if they’ve done something to lose your appreciation.
Try to maintain a consistent budget, and stay true to your company culture. If you run a vegan restaurant, don’t hand out free turkeys for Thanksgiving. But tofu turkeys? Now there’s an idea…
Pro tip: give practical gifts. Things that people can actually use, like food and family-related items are always appreciated.
Think about what practical needs this year may have introduced, such as mental wellness or work-from-home concerns. Health and childcare resources could be a good way to address those. Your gift is only as thankful as it is thoughtful.
Why science says you should say thank you
You know that warm fuzzy feeling when someone shows genuine appreciation for your efforts?
Well it’s not just a feeling — there’s actual science behind how it works, and what effects gratitude has on you.
For your body, mind, and relationships, you can expect:
- A stronger immune system
- Lower blood pressure
- Better sleep
- Willingness to exercise more
- Higher levels of positive emotions such as joy and happiness
- And, more helpful, generous and compassionate behavior
And specifically in the workplace, research shows you can expect:
- Improved employee wellbeing, productivity and job satisfaction
- Improved ROI due to:
- higher employee retention,
- improved employee performance and happiness, and
- better employee, team and customer relationships
One researcher by the name of Robert A. Emmons called gratitude “the ultimate performance-enhancing substance”. Sincere thanks is steroids for the office.
How to make gratitude part of your culture
Research also shows that gratitude is contagious.
When you make the effort to begin acts of genuine appreciation, your team will follow.
When enough people are on board, and enough of your day-to-day is allocated to positive feedback and acknowledging the hard work of others, you have fostered a company culture of gratitude.
Remember that how we show gratitude is a learned behaviour. You have to make the information available to everyone, whether by training your management team, or by leading by example.
Here are some tips for you to share with your staff on effective workplace gratitude:
- Appreciation should be part of the company culture
- Leaders should model acts of gratitude for their employees, and be held accountable for showing appreciation properly
- They don’t have to be big gestures, but they should be consistent and fair.
- It’s not authentic if it’s not specific
- Employees of the same level also need ways to show gratitude to their coworkers
- Gratitude is not a one-and-done thing
As our workforce changes to fit the new normal, our way of saying thank you to those who help us survive and thrive needs to change with the times too.
But saying thank you isn’t an overwhelming duty. It’s one we should encourage but also enjoy, because when you give sincere thanks, you remind yourself that there’s still so much to be thankful for.
So thanks for reading. Thank you very much, indeed.