Why should you thank your colleagues at work? The fact is that most people feel happier at work if they are either giving or receiving thanks. Hearing “thank you” for a job well done makes people feel more fulfilled and motivated to repeat good performance.

Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health and peak performance in sports and business.

Consistently expressing gratitude can be difficult to sustain. Many of us are trained to notice what needs to be fixed rather than being grateful for what is working. However, when we practice giving thanks for what we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all the opportunities that are available to us.

When people are thanked for their work, they are more likely to increase their feelings of trust, and have a higher sense of well-being. It is helpful to create many different opportunities for showing gratitude to encourage participation from all levels of employees.

Here are a few suggestions for practicing gratitude at work:

How to Practice Gratitude at Work

  Keep a gratitude journal.  List things for which you are thankful on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Keep the journal where you can see it as a daily reminder to think in a grateful way.

  Create a gratitude wall at work.  This kind of project will work best if it encourages the “thank you” to target colleagues instead of things. For example, we may be thankful for coffee, but the gratitude should go to the person who makes the coffee every morning.

  Include a kudos section in your company newsletter. Let people know who is going “above and beyond” and who is grateful for their extra efforts. It will encourage others to model that behavior. 

  For tech savvy organizations, create a gratitude platform that employees can easily access to recognize each other’s contributions and publicly highlight their achievements.

  Create a contest to express thanks to an employee each month and make sure that nominations and winners represent various areas of the organization.

Gratitude balances us, helps to build relationships and gives us hope for the future.

What’s on your gratitude list?