Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude at Work

November 21, 2017

According to a study from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine, “Americans are less likely to say ‘thanks’ on the job than anywhere else, which hurts productivity and happiness.” During this time of year, it’s especially important to reconsider the way we show and feel gratitude, as well as how we give thanks to others.

Could your job or overall experience at work be made better with more thank you’s and active gratitude? We think so! Here are four ways to practice gratitude in your work life:

1. Thank those who usually don’t receive thanks.
Your manager and other higher-ups on your team or in your company are most likely the ones who are congratulated and thanked the most. However, many people on your team including consultants, interns, or assistants are less likely to receive the kind of gratitude and support they truly need to feel motivated and appreciated. If you haven’t already made a habit out of thanking those who often do “thankless” work, this is a great way to improve the workplace for you and others around you. Make sure everyone on your team or in your workspace knows they’re valued, which will improve overall morale and respect among everyone.

2. Celebrate your skills, and reward yourself for learning new ones.
Stop for a moment. Have you taken time lately to appreciate yourself? Think about all of the ways you’ve probably grown professionally in your current job. What new skills have you learned or taught yourself, and how have you used them in both small and large ways to further your career or make improvements for your company? It’s often easy to forget to reward or congratulate ourselves for a job well done because we think of it as only doing our jobs. As professionals (especially in the creative industry), we must constantly learn new skills and tools--whether that’s understanding or utilizing a new platform, format, or method. If you’ve done this lately, take a moment to appreciate your own professional growth, and maybe take yourself out for a treat!

3. Spend time focusing on what truly makes you feel fulfilled.
Once you think critically about skills and projects you’ve mastered recently, think about which ones are most fulfilling. What kinds of work are you most passionate about and eager to work on? We all have parts of our jobs that are not our favorite--but focusing on those is guaranteed to hold anyone back, no matter how talented or driven you are. Try focusing the majority of your time on growing projects and skills that you’re passionate and excited about, whether that’s in the office or out. If there’s not enough space in your current job for those kinds of things, you might want to consider a side project or passion project.

4. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for.
Taking things for granted is easy to do if you’re under pressure or stress, especially at work. For many of us, whether you work on a team, as a manager of a project, or as a consultant, work takes up a majority of the space in our lives. This can make it easy to forget about the nice parts of our work, our professional accomplishments, or even the things outside of work we’d love to focus more on. We can forget about what we’re already lucky to have, and we look to others’ success as a way to measure ourselves.

But this is preventable with one simple trick. Every day, write down 3 small things you’re grateful for. This can be about work, your personal life, or in the world in general. Doing this will immediately shift your attitude. It will also force you to be more mindful of how you qualify things in your life.

Remember, it’s the little things that count. If you haven’t already made a habit out of some of these practices in your life, now is a perfect time to start.