The Importance of Showing Appreciation at Work

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Need to Hire?  Post Jobs for Free

Focusing on the good—the things for which you are grateful—is scientifically proven to help fill your glass. What’s more, sharing your gratitude with others helps fill their proverbial glasses and even perpetuates the cycle of gratefulness. Don’t limit your gratitude to your private life. By feeling and expressing your appreciation at work you will help make your workplace a positive environment.

What are you thankful for?

When asked what you are thankful for, what comes to mind?

Typical answers include things like family, friends, and good health. Of course, who wouldn’t be thankful for those things?

But surely those are not the only things that inspire feelings of gratitude in your life. After all, if you are like the average person, your work takes up around 35 percent of your waking hours.

So what are you thankful for in the workplace?

Here are some possibilities:

  • A colleague who came through when you needed help
  • A coworker who gave you a hand on a small task
  • A mentor who helps you grow in your career

Those are just a few examples. Make a habit of reflecting on your work week and considering what your fellow workers have done that deserve a show of appreciation.

How to Express Gratitude in the Workplace

Once you start paying attention, you will likely notice several acts that merit a “thank you.”  And while simply saying “thank you” to the deserving person is polite and probably appreciated, there are more impactful ways to express gratitude at work.

  1. Deliver a straightforward, specific complement face to face.

Sure, any show of appreciation is better than none, but a specific comment is typically more meaningful than a general one. Think about it. What would you rather hear from a colleague?

Option 1: “Joe, great work today.”

Option 2: “Jenny, excellent work on that report. The data you compiled was exactly what we needed.”

  1. Say a public—but not over the top—thank you.

If you want to go a step further with your gratitude, express your thanks in a public setting, like in a team meeting. Public shows of appreciation accomplish two things:

  • First, the person you are thanking receives acknowledgment for their good deed.
  • Second, you will be making others aware of how that person did something positive for the team.
  1. Email the person’s boss—and CC them.

When a colleague really impresses you or goes above and beyond the call of duty, send an email. Your message should be short and to the point. Explain what your coworker did that and how it made a difference for you or your team. Then express your gratitude.

CCing the subject of your appreciation is a common courtesy that lets them know their boss has received direct praise about them as well as what they did to earn that recognition. Information like this comes in handy to both employees and supervisors around review time when promotions and pay raises are on the line.

  1. Give a gift card.

A gift card is a quick and easy way to say “thanks.” Even a $5 or $10 gift card to a coffee shop, ice cream parlor, or big box store can really brighten someone’s day and show your appreciation of them.

  1. Send a thank you note.

A handwritten thank you note might seem a little outdated, but it is a unique and unexpected way to demonstrate your appreciation of a colleague’s helpfulness and hard work. A thank you note gives you space to describe precisely what it is that you are thankful for.

Additionally, a thank you note gives your coworker a memento of your appreciation. They can keep it at their desk as a motivational tool when things get tough. Furthermore, they can show it to their manager as evidence of their accomplishments when review time rolls around.

  1. Treat the person to coffee, lunch, or a drink after work.

If you prefer a more personal approach to expressing gratitude, offer to treat your colleague to coffee during a break in the workday. Alternatively, you could take them to lunch or offer to buy them a drink after work. Not only will you be showing your appreciation, but this also provides you an opportunity to get to know your coworker better and foster a positive working relationship.

The Benefits of Saying “Thank You”

One of the best things about expressing gratitude is the domino effect. First, the recipient of your sincere gratitude gets the immediate warm fuzzy feeling of being appreciated. That person might then go on to make someone else’s day.

There are also long-term benefits of showing appreciation for your coworkers. People will enjoy working with you more—both in general and the next time you need a favor—because they know you will appreciate their efforts and give credit where credit is due for a job well done.

Written by Jessica L. Mendes.

Written by

Jessica L. Mendes is a writer and professional reader providing author support, content creation, and curriculum design services. She writes for a range of industries, including education, employment, law, technology, medicine, sales, and corporate interior design. Connect with Jessica via LinkedIn or

More Articles by Jessica L. Mendes