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It’s the end of the year, and we are pushing to close off our tasks while feeling exhausted and ready for the summer break. It is at this time that the mundane roles of everyday life become challenging, stressful and even overwhelming. And while the phenomenon of “I need a holiday” is inevitable across individuals, teams and organisations there is still a way to end off the year on positive note.

The concept of gratitude is everywhere, from social media to books and T-shirts, we are in flux of gratitude quotes, paraphernalia and requests. And while we are seeing it everywhere, how much are we really experiencing it in our work and personal lives? Gratitude, when felt as a physical sensation, can produce feelings of well-being, social connectedness and thankfulness.

Now you may be thinking that this is just not possible at this point in the year and just the idea of adding more onto your and your employee’s metaphorical plates is just not feasible. However, the end of a busy year is the perfect time to celebrate, show gratitude for the actions of each individual in meeting this year’s goals and creating a culture of recognition and appreciation.

There are many benefits of expressing gratitude at work. Gratitude is “the perception of a positive personal outcome that is due to the actions of another person” (Emmons & Shelton, 2002). With this definition in mind it doesn’t take much to see the positive by products of expressing gratitude in the workplace. Firstly, due to the interpersonal nature of gratitude it will help build team communication and morale. Secondly, gratitude elicits a sense of commitment to “repay” the kindness offered, which translates into increased organisational trust and commitment.

Gratitude is simple, and at the end of the year when the mundane comes a mountain is the perfect time is begin expressing gratitude in your team. Here are 3 proven methods to begin cultivating gratitude at work, encouraging team building and job satisfaction:

  • 3 Good Things

During your year end function or at your final meeting, have everyone write down, three good things that happened at work in 2017. Ask people to share their list with the group. The process of reflecting positively, writing and sharing can be very powerful in shifting peoples perspectives away from the negatives of the year, and current moment, to an appreciative and optimistic attitude. You can also choose to display these notes somewhere in the office, reminding people of what they have to be grateful for.

  • Gratitude Letters

There are two ways of doing this activity. First, you can ask each person to write a letter to someone in the company for whom they are grateful. Ask them to take the time to unpack why they are grateful to that person for their actions. The second way is a more superficial, team building exercise. Give each person a piece of paper, and ask them to each write something they are grateful for for each individual in the room, they must go to each person and write on their paper. They can fold the paper to keep it confidential and it can also be anonymous. Every person should receive and write a message of gratitude for each other individual in the room. This is great activity to elicit feelings of gratitude in a group, and can help to counter the individual conflicts which may have transpired over the year.

  • Acts of Kindness

This may be in the form of secret Santa or adhoc. Allocate each individual in the team a person for whom they must do random acts of kindness. No one must know who their “angel” is and this “angel” can be creative in finding ways to anonymously support, gift and show kindness to their person. This is an effective method to encourage team participation, building a culture of consideration, sharing and support.

All three of the activities mentioned above have had proven benefits on team building and organisational commitment whilst boosting individual well-being. They are simple to execute, cost nothing at all and are sure to create a culture of celebration and appreciation especially when December is in the air. Have fun with it, and thank you for reading😊.

Written by Stephanie Diepering.