5 Ways to Express Gratitude to Your Coworkers

Before I started interning at Proforma I was heavily involved with the Department of Residence Life and Housing at my university. While I learned many things from the various positions I held within this department, one of the most valuable things I learned was the importance of recognition. Residence Life and Housing loved recognition. They held annual award dinners for all the RAs, any task that went outside of someone’s day to day responsibilities would be met with a prompt thank you note and students and professional staff were constantly writing “… of the Month” awards for other students and staff members. While this may seem like recognition overkill it was effective in making students and staff feel motivated and appreciated in their respective positions.

Residence Life and Housing lived by what was called the, “Fish Philosophy.” The Fish Philosophy was created by fish mongers at the infamous Pike’s Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington. To put it simply, the Fish Philosophy states that even though you may not enjoy every part of your job you can still choose to approach your work with happiness and positivity rather than apathy and negativity. Many organizations apply this philosophy to their workplace through the use of recognizing their coworkers for a job well done.

If you would like to try and apply the Fish Philosophy to your own work, here are five simple ways you can recognize your co-workers just in time for the Thanksgiving season.

Handwritten Notes

In the age of emails and Microsoft Word, getting something that is handwritten is now a rare and special treat. Thank you notes are relatively inexpensive, so it is very easy to buy a pack to keep in your desk. When someone does you a favor or goes above and beyond in a task you asked them to complete you will be ready to show them your appreciation at a moment’s notice! Taking a few moments out of your day to actively write down your appreciation of someone else’s work will mean a lot to the recipient. You could even try sneaking the note in their mailbox or putting it on their desk after they have left for the day, so your coworker will have a nice surprise to find.

Email Blast

Some people love to be recognized in front of an entire group. While this may not always be possible to do, physically sending an email blast to an entire department or to a team who has been working on a project is a great way to make an individual feel appreciated. This is another very small thing that could make someone’s day.

Small Knickknacks

Small inexpensive promo products like a phone stand for a desk or a powerbank to take on the go, are a great way to create your own personal brand of gratitude. If you want to be a little more unique in the way you say thanks, doing something like this will be a fun and surprising way to tell a coworker thank you. Wouldn’t you be surprised if you did someone a favor and they thanked you by giving you a small gift?

Acknowledge Them in a Meeting

Again, some people really like to be recognized in front of a group. Taking a moment at either the beginning or the end of a meeting to recognize someone is a slightly more personal way to tell someone thank you, than sending an email blast. Setting aside time in a meeting to recognize the good work a coworker did can really make that person feel special.

Take Them to Lunch

If someone helped you in a really big way and you cannot say thank you enough, treating that person to lunch is a great way to demonstrate how much you appreciate them. However, if you think lunch may be a bit too extravagant simply picking that person up an extra coffee on your way to work to show that you were thinking about them, or even buying that person a small snack is another fantastic way to show gratitude. The choice is all yours.

Recognizing your coworkers for a job well done is an excellent way to promote an attitude of gratitude in your workplace, and it will help your coworkers to feel motivated and appreciated by you. Small gestures like these are really the things that make someone’s day or even their whole week. However, keep in mind that when expressing gratitude it is important to remember that everyone likes to be thanked in different ways, so consider what the person you are thanking would like before choosing how to say thank you.

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