It’s hard to feel grateful right now. This is a Thanksgiving like no other – one that many Americans will celebrate isolated from their loved ones and amidst tremendous anxiety about the state of the country. As hard as it may be to feel grateful, it’s more important now than ever. Gratitude is a powerful tool, one that has proven benefits for both business and everyday life.
Here are three simple tricks to create a more grateful and productive workplace:
1. Employee Shout-Outs – Millennials are often credited with leading the shift towards workplaces that provide a real sense of meaning and belonging. However, no matter the age of your employees, everyone likes to be recognized for their work. I’ve found that the best forms of recognition are ones that are both specific and public. I keep a running note on my phone where I jot down specific examples of people on my team doing excellent work. At my startup, Kuli Kuli, we take a few minutes at the end of every meeting to provide “shout-outs” to call out actions others have taken that we appreciate. At a time when many of us feel isolated, these simple words of gratitude go a long way towards inspiring a swell of happiness and energy in both the recipient and the gratitude giver. These feelings elicit a sense of meaning and community that increases both productivity and retention.
2. Self-Appreciation – Between screaming children, faulty internet, and the daily monotony of working from home, it can feel nearly impossible to get anything done. Productivity is a flywheel. If you feel like you’re being productive, you’re more likely to continue accomplishing your goals. Contrarily, if you feel like you can’t possibly get anything done, you’re likely to stare at your computer screen listlessly before getting pulled into something else. Productivity experts suggest setting small goals, and crossing them off to keep the productivity flywheel going. I’ve found that it’s also important to take a few minutes at the end of the day to write down a few key moments from the day that I’m grateful for. These moments can be as simple as “I went on a walk” or impactful like “I closed a big sale.” As I’ve written before, I find that writing these moments down on my calendar reminds me to make gratitude a daily habit. Taking time to remember the happy moments, both big and small, will keep you motivated and moving forward even during the darkest days of quarantine life.
3. Customer Care – Without customers, no one would have a business. During COVID-19, it’s become more difficult to connect with key customers in person. That’s why taking the time to send thoughtful notes, or even small gifts, can go a long way towards keeping those relationships strong. I’ve found that taking time to acknowledge the challenges we’re all facing and share personal struggles can lead to deeper connections. I recently had a long email conversation with one of Kuli Kuli’s major grocery store buyers when we both realized that we’re struggling to concentrate with young kids at home. Much of networking in the COVID-19 era is about commiserating over the crazy situations we all find ourselves in.
Research has shown that the act of expressing gratitude creates a virtuous cycle, leading to improved happiness and productivity for both the giver and the receiver. Try taking some time this holiday weekend to brainstorm ways that you can show gratitude to your employees or team, be that through verbal recognition, days off, or personalized gifts. Then turn your attention to how you can incorporate more gratitude into your own daily life, and reduce your risk of burnout and depression. Finally, take some time to reach out to your customers and tell them how grateful you are for their support. I have no doubt that after trying these three tips your happiness, and your business, will quickly grow.
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