Gratitude Activities in the Workplace

Encourage people to intentionally thank others around them.
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"Gratitude helps people feel better, and when people feel better about themselves and their environment, they try harder, they take more pride in what they do, they care more," says April Kelly, senior director of the LinkedIn Service Center and author of the book "Gratitude at Work: How to Say Thank You, Give Kudos and Get the Best From Those You Lead." With this in mind, it's certainly understandable that leaders want to cultivate thankfulness in the workplace. Incorporate gratitude-inducing activities into employee's workdays to give your work environment a boost.

Lists and Journals

    Help people attain the goals they set by keeping a daily list of things they are grateful for. People who engage in this activity are more likely to meet personal goals than people who do not, according to a summary of gratitude research by psychology professors from the University of California-Davis and the University of Miami. This type of activity can also increase alertness, garner enthusiasm and help people to give greater attention to important tasks. It can also increase feelings of interconnectedness -- a definite positive if you want to promote positive and fruitful teamwork.

Thank You Notes

    Encourage people to communicate gratitude. For example, begin an initiative in which employees write at least one thank you note a week to a person of their choice, either inside or outside the company. The focus should not be on receiving thank you notes, but on writing them. If people are somewhat reluctant to participate, make a game out of giving each person a point for each thank you letter mailed by the administrative assistant, who can keep a running tally. Give a prize -- perhaps a box of nice stationery -- to the person who sends out the most notes during the time you've specified.


    During a work retreat or training, ask people to reflect on times when others have expressed gratitude for their work. Ask people to make a list of three things that they have felt appreciated for lately. For example, a person might remember the flowers they got for working on a Saturday, being told "thank you" for opening a door and receiving an e-mail congratulating them for retaining a difficult client. The idea is for people to remember how they felt and to begin to strive to recreate that feeling in others by expressing gratitude in their everyday lives. As a team, brainstorm ways this could work in the business environment.

Recognizing Good Things

    Play a quick game during your next staff meeting. Create a list of about 25 random items -- for example, your list might include "trains, cats, classical music and hair." Divide people into teams and give each team a list to complete. The first team to write "the most awesome thing" about each one of the items on the list wins. You'll find there will be plenty of humorous answers, and a good time is likely to be had by all. This activity helps to create an attitude of gratitude.

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